In which [love looks like] a back injury and an apology

We’ve kept it quiet, you and me. Only told our families, a few friends. But you haven’t been able to move well most of the winter. The mornings were excruciating, you rolled slow out of bed, remaining on your hands and knees, crawling, until you could finally stand up. All day long, you hardly ever sat down; it’s too hard to stand back up. There was a visit to the ER, that day when you finally admitted that the pain was unbearable, tears in your eyes, and then the X-rays, chiropractors, doctors, a bottle of prescription painkillers. There were heating pads and ice packs, you could hardly feel your hands by the afternoon.

Worst of all, there was pain.

They said a disc nearly ruptured in your spine. Now there is physiotherapy and traction once a week. You’re slowly moving again, it’s all helping. There’s a long list of lifestyle changes looming and, in the evenings, you lay flat on your back in the living room while I pull your leg – literally – until your spine releases that disc of nerves and you breathe easy again for another night.

The worst part, my love, is that I have not been that good about it, have I? It’s already taking everything in me to keep the wheels on the busy little family these days – three tinies, homeschooling, figuring out how to go back to Mercy now that mat leave is ending, researching that last sample chapter for my book proposal. Then your thesis and grad school plus oh-yeah-a-full-time-job, we never see you, so I’m handling everything for our lives that you’ve always done, too, I hate dealing with auto body shops but here I am, signing papers, inspecting the dent repair job.  Everything needs to be cleaned and seriously, I just did laundry yesterday so why in the world are the bins already full again?

I’m so tired that I don’t have much compassion left for you. Now there are doctor appointments. Even when I shift in the the bed, you wince, and I roll my eyes like great, one more thing, just what I needed right now. What bad timing for a back injury, couldn’t you have planned this better?

Love looks like this sometimes: I’m sorry I’ve been a jerk. 

This morning, when you woke up, you eased out of bed and it didn’t take an hour to stand up and move. My hands were gentle on your back last night, I was praying life and healing into you at 3:13 AM, after Evelynn woke up for the second time and I came to bed, compelled to pray for you, beloved. Thirteen years ago that very day, I had said yes to going out with you to a hockey game.

That was a good call. And a good date. And it’s a good life.

I walked out to our kitchen, baby on my hip, mascara smudges under my eyes, but you’d already been here in the night. The balloons were tied to the chairs for the tinies, even a little tiny one tied onto the highchair, a little monkey valentine for each of them signed Love Daddy.

There was a bouquet of daises for me because you know I have no use for roses, we love flowers that look like they came from a grandmother’s backyard garden. So we keep giving each other simple things like forgiveness and prayer and inside jokes.  We say I love you and mean it in a way we couldn’t have imagined all those years ago or even yesterday.

Linked up with Heather of The EO for Just Write.
I write now and then about what love looks like for us. 

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  • Kelsey

    We will be asking in His Name for healing and patience and a bit of relief from the chaos! Thank you for your honesty! Its refreshing and encouraging.

  • Hope

    I love you so much! Thank you for this and thank you for always sharing your heart. You my friend are transperant and I love that!

    • Jemelene

      ¬†It posted under half of my name…(ahem)

  • Brittaney

    You made me cry. Congratulations. Happy Valentines to one of my favorite couples. Okay, you are THE favorite.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Yay! So what do we win?? ūüėČ

  • Cynthia @ The Hippie Housewife

    Oh Sarah. This was beautiful.

  • Dan McM

    Good post, Sarah.¬† And it’s true – love isn’t so much about flowers, chocolate and fancy restaurants as it is about taking care of each other when either one is¬†hurting and you’re both losing precious sleep.

    My wife and I can relate…¬† She was 5 months pregnant with our 3rd when I tore my achilles and had to spend 11 weeks in a cast, most of that on crutches. Instead of me helping her through a difficult time, I had to depend on her (and no, she wasn’t happy about it.)

    I hope and pray that your hubs back is healed in whatever manner possible, surgery or otherwise. (We can relate on that one too… surgery on my neck was two years prior to the achilles.)¬†

    Good post, and Happy Valentine’s Day to you two!

    • Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, Dan. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

  • Katie @simply[his]

    This is a beautiful reminder of what love really is.  
    Blessings and prayers,Katie

  • Meredith Mull

    New reader from Little Missionary All Grown up…and your love for each other is so pure. It is really something to remember when we get bogged down in the everyday…why are we with the person again, and how can we show them. Thanks for a great post!

    • Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, Meredith – nice to “meet” you. Thanks for popping over.

  • Kika

    When my mom was dying I could not go to her because my husband lost sight in one eye due to an injury at work. We live two hours away from the nearest city (so min. 4 hr round trip) but had to go to the city several times a week to see a specialist, hoping his sight would be restored. He was not allowed to do ANY lifting/work during this time so I had to carry the load in all respects. What a hard season we walked through. In the end, his sight returned but my mom died without me getting to say good bye. I felt like I was learning at that time to put him first, to let my husband be my best friend when really my mom always had been to that


    • Sarah Bessey

      That is so sad, Kika. Thank you for sharing it – your heart is lovely.

  • Keli Gwyn

    What an honest, heartwarming post. You did an awesome job sharing both sides of the story. I ache for your hubby, and I feel your pain as well. What a tough situation, but I delight in hearing how the two of you are making your way through it with love, grace, and selfless acts. I got misty-eyed when I reached the part about the balloons and bouquet. What a loving gesture. Hugs and prayers for you both as you keep on keepin’ on.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, Keli РI appreciate it. 

  • Mary1912

    Oh man..have I been there and back and bought the Tshirt.

    • Sarah Bessey

      I thought of you over these months,  I admit.

  • Sallie

    I feel for your husband. I went through a severely herniated disc and a few years later a terrible c-section. I would do the c-section ten times before I would do the herniated disc again. The pain is so unbelievable.  I know exactly what you are saying about the crawling on hands and knees. I literally did not sit down for months. It was either stand or lay down.

    If your husband doesn’t get excellent results from his physical therapist, I encourage you to look into a PT who is certified in the McKenzie Method. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Thanks for the head’s up, Sallie. I appreciate it.

  • Diana Trautwein

    Oh, oh, oh. SO sorry for the back pain, which I know is excruciating. And so sorry for all the extra load you are carrying here, too. And it is hard sometimes, when our partner’s physical pains and problems intersect with all of life’s other complications. (Which, by the way, they seem to do with remarkable frequency when children are small and growing. Life is magical like that :>( ¬†Here’s to prayers in the middle of the night, gentle hands, and sweet surprises. And above all, inside jokes.

    • Sarah Bessey

      I’ll drink to that.¬†

  • Jade @ Tasting Grace

    Oh how hard that must all be on {both} of you. When it comes to family, when one hurts, it really does ripple through the fabric of the entire family. It’s brave of you to post this and to put words to these complicated feelings of intermingled gratitude, frustration, love, and fear. I hope the doctors are able to help find a way to ease the pain.

  • KathleenBasi

    Sarah…I can’t tell you how affirming it is to know, at last, that you really are human, too, and not the picture of angelic perfection. Thank you for sharing this vulnerable moment in your family. I’ll pray for you all.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Oh, gracious, if anyone ever thought I was something akin to angelic perfection….hahaha. Bless you, Kathleen – you know me.

  • Mollie Turbeville

    Sarah, this is one of the sweetest blog posts I’ve ever read! So inspiring and so real. Thank you! All the best to you and your family.

    <3 – Mollie

  • Mymustardseeds

    I know the exhaustion of carrying the weight alone and watching your love suffer.  My husband has had three fusions in his back and each time leading up to them he was in pain and not very available.  Now, my husband is going blind.  He is trying so hard to keep life normal(whatever that is) for me and our 6 kids, but he has a lot of headaches and his eyes are failing.  I miss having a partner, I miss who he was, I ache when he aches.  God is near and he will carry me.  Know that your love is critical to his getting through this challenge.  Praying for you.

    • Sarah Bessey

      And I am praying for you, too, luv.

  • Sandy

    I remember when we were in seminary and Paul fell and broke his leg in two places.¬†I was upset with him about other¬†things going on in our lives.¬†I was so unkind about¬† the leg.¬† I remember watching him struggle to get a cereal bowl to the table so he could eat breakfast.¬† I didn’t even help him.¬† It makes me cringe when I think about it.
    Thanks for being so honest.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, Sandy. I already regret a few incidents like that, too.

  • Canita

    And as usual, yes. ¬†Thanks–funny how the Universe/God always puts in front of me what I need to hear and see. ¬†Lots of healing vibes to your husband.

  • Anne Judd

    Sorry you have been going through this, but thanks for sharing it. 
    I can identify with that feeling of knowing I need to support my spouse, but needing his support so much at the same time. That was our 2011…we miscarried and found out the same day that my husband’s dad had cancer. ¬†He needed to move quickly from grief to active support for his parents and I just couldn’t keep up. ¬†I must say we learned a lot last year, but ohhhh was it tough.

  • A. Batterson

    awwww love. love. love.¬† that’s all. :)

  • Janae Maslowski

    I love that grace found you in the middle of the night, that it filled you to full, allowing you to overflow onto your husband, onto his pain, his ache. I love the surprise that grace often is.

    ps : every time you post about being up time and again with Evelyn, I feel like it is a secret.note that you leave me, speaking directly to my mama.heart, “Well done, Janae, just keep listening and responding. Keep picking him up as you lay down your life. You can trust yourself, Janae.”
    I love you very much, dear heart.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Love you, too, Janae. I’ll be thinking of you tonight inthe midnight watch. xo

  • Jillrosalie

    You roll your eyes?¬†¬† :)¬†¬†¬† I’m sorry to hear Brian has been in so much pain …. hope he’s better soon …

    • Sarah Bessey

      Girl, sometimes I roll my eyes so hard they nearly fall out of my head. And I wonder where Annie gets it….

  • Amanda @ Naturally Chic Mama

    I always appreciate your honesty. My husband had similar back problems when I was pregnant with my first, and was in and out of the hospital with other health issues while I had a baby and another on the way. Even though I knew that he wasn’t doing anything to cause the problems, I couldn’t help but feel slightly irritated at him for leaving me with the full load to carry. I know how you feel. Thank God that His grace is sufficient in all of our weaknesses!

    I will be praying for your husband’s healing, that the Father will strengthen you as you carry this load, and heaps of grace and blessings on your marriage.¬†



    • Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, Amanda – I really appreciate that. And it’s nice to know I’m not alone in it.

  • Jenn

    Ugh I feel for you both. As the wife of a man who suffers from perpetual back pain… since a roof fell on him when he was 25ish and it’s a miracle he walked/crawled/stumbled away from that with his lower back broken in 2 places a mere 15 months after a severe accident caused by a drunk driver gave him serious upper back and neck injuries… I can say that I feel your pain.

    But more than feeling your pain I see your love through the window of your words and it is beautiful. Wishing you and your husband a few quiet moments of togetherness during this busy, busy season of your life.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, Jenn – I so appreciate that.

  • Erica {let why lead}

    Beautiful post! You have a gift for writing! Sounds like SUCH a hard time in your life, but what a great perspective to be trying to maintain. All the best to you!

  • Gina

    Nice. My patience with the Dude’s colds has dwindled to nearly nothing, and I’ve been convicted about that only recently. I can trace it back to the days you’re living right about now, with everyone tiny. Him sick:¬† go to bed for three days.¬† Me sick:¬† life as normal.¬† 8-l

    Anyway, a lovely motivator toward my present goal of loving as I should.¬† Life will always be too hard or too exhausting, but so what?¬† ūüėČ

    [Had no idea you guys were struggling with this.  Definitely praying.  <3 ]

    • Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, Geener. xo

  • Stephanie

    Thanks for these honest “glimpses” into your love story. They are some of my favorite posts to read.¬†