Gillian from South Carolina
A rear view mirror that wasn't adjusted properly. That was it... a mirror. That was what irrevocable decided both my husband's fate and in turn, mine. It was memorial day weekend, I remember every detail of the evening: I wore a silly Americana jumpsuit and ate a horribly burnt bbq hamburger with watermelon balls for dinner.
I saw him in court, he seemed like a normal, even charming person. He said he didn't see him in his rearview mirror because it was broken and didn't adjust it. My husband, Richard, eats through a Gastrostomy Tube and suffered a brain injury that has resulted in him being unable to speak (but can write slightly). The fact that this is because of someone's ill-adjusted mirror is maddening of course. The same week of the accident, exactly 6 days to be precise, I also remember what I was wearing: an old pink blouse with a missing button and my "fat" jeans, this was the day I met the woman who was having an affair with my husband.
There are so many overpowering emotions during this time, that I can say definitively that I would never judge someone poorly for their particular decision given these kind of circumstances. Mine after much thought and prayer was to stay and care for my husband. I absolutely do not forgive him (and even look forward to the day where he has the ability to say he's sorry!) but I will always care for him with as much love as I can give. I feed him, sanitize his equipment, bathe him, empty his colostomy bag and hold his hand as we read our latest novel (don't laugh, we've been loving harry potter lately). I've been granted a better understanding of who I am because of this situation and I must say I'm proud of it. I've been privileged to know many wonderful elderly people through my work as a hospice aid that will always enrich my life and I feel like although it is absolutely a hardship, I'll ever be glad of my decision.
I have my bad days, I cry, who doesn't? But then I get to gaze into the eyes of someone that I help not just to "get through life" but to live it. My husband and I have great times and God-willing we look forward to a day he may one day be able to speak and even use some upper body strength - there's plenty of time, and I have plenty of prayers!
As far as advice to others, all I can say is that it gets so much better! Tubes get more normal, life becomes more relaxed and it is possible! Take every hour by hour then day by day and week by week and you'll find you're in a much better place.
Enclosed is a pic of my husband Chris with my son Mathew, he was so elated when he got out of surgery - you can see him beaming.