When a man loves a woman, he would do anything to protect her. When a man marries, it seals his love for the woman and is ready to spend eternity with her. As a couple, they share responsibilities with household chores, settling down, and getting ready to build a family. For a man, his woman should be treated with love and respect.
She felt like she never needed anything else in the world because she thought she had them all: a loving husband, a lovely daughter, the perfect job, a comfortable home, and she was beautiful and charming. She was happy. She thought that her husband would always be there to protect her and live happily ever after, like in fairy tales.
Unexpectedly, all that had changed. One night, she was still working on her computer until very late. The next morning she woke up feeling dizzy. Sitting on her bed she thought it would just pass until suddenly, she felt like the world was spinning then she blacked out. When she woke up, she found herself on a hospital bed with her husband sitting by her side. It was evident that he was crying. She burst into tears and tried to reach out and touch his face.
Then she realized. She could not move her hand and when she inhaled she could feel the air trapped on her throat. She suddenly felt more frightened than before she blacked out. Trying to move her right leg, she could also feel the numbness she felt on her arm. She was half paralyzed! The doctors told her that she suffered from a brain hemorrhage as a result of overwork and sitting desk-bound for long periods. Hysteria started to fill her head, she couldn’t stop weeping and was completely out of control. Panic started to take over: she can’t work, take care of her family, play with her daughter in the park, or take a stroll hand in hand with her husband.
It was unbearable to think that she may be bedridden for quite some time. Maybe 10 or 20 years? She felt like her life has shattered before her eyes and vanished into thin air.
The hospital recommended physical therapy. Days have passed and her husband kept on motivating her. She showed signs of little recovery and was able to regain control of her right arm and leg, but failed to improve further. She tried to massage and relentlessly move her arm and leg every day but to no avail.
Without the help of others, she was not capable of doing things on her own. She can’t change clothes, she could not grip the spoon while she ate and made a mess on the floor, and she could not wash her hands alone. This made her fall into depression, worried that she may not be able to go back to her condition before.
Days have passed and she noticed that her husband has changed. Before, when she was thirsty, he would bring her water; and when she was hungry, one look from her and he would bring her food; or when she needed to go to the comfort room, he would not hesitate to carry her – like when they were younger. Now, when he was with her in the hospital, he would just read a book on the couch or chat with the other patients or their families in the hallway. He would just check up on her once in a while.
He has gotten worse when more days have passed. She was already very hungry and it was past 7:00 at night, and he still has not arrived with her dinner. There was food on the bedside table left by her colleagues when they visited her, but when she tried to reach out and take them, she has failed.
A question about the inevitable came to mind: “Four months have passed. Is he still going to stick with me throughout these difficult days? What husband in his right mind will stay without having second thoughts? Does he still love me, now that I am paralyzed? He’s 42-years-old, in the prime of his life, will he still stay with a paralyzed woman like me?”
Her thoughts were interrupted when her husband finally arrived with a bowl of freshly cooked meat soup. With a fit of rage, she violently threw her hands in the air and hit the bowl of soup that dropped to the floor. The soup splashed on his clothes but he didn’t attempt to calm her down. Instead, he said, “It is up to you if you want to eat or not!” That instant, she regretted what she did.
After some time, she felt she had to go to the comfort room. She was still upset so she did not bother to ask for his help. She tried to put her right leg on the floor with her left hand, exerting herself to stand up but failed. Her husband pretended that he did not see what she was attempting to do and kept looking at his mobile phone. She pushed her hand against the bedside table and managed to finally stand up, though she was still shaking and very weak. He came to her aid by passing her a cane.
She held on to the wooden cane but refused to accept assistance from him. She felt that a worthless piece of wood was all she could rely on then. Looking at herself in the bathroom mirror, her face looked tired. All the beauty and charm she once had were gone. A stressful expression was all she could see staring back at her from the mirror.
Some more days have passed and her husband’s attitude toward her has gotten worse. While they were walking in the corridor, he would shout at her about all sorts of things, such as, “Take your jacket yourself! Can’t you walk faster? You should walk on your own, stop holding me! Didn’t you say you need to go to the toilet? Hurry up, I am not going to wash your underwear…” This made her lower her self-esteem. She bowed while walking, moving her legs like a robot, and not uttering a single word. She felt embarrassed by the people in the corridor. No one has ever talked to her like that. Before, she would talk to her in a sweet and loving tone of voice. He has changed!
Life as a married couple means endless devotion. All his sweet words, his promises of love, their vows to each other when they married… these meant nothing to him anymore, maybe she thought, so to her, too. She felt that she has lost him because it was obvious that she was no longer precious to him.
Until one day, she regained her motivation and felt determined to be strong again. She looked frail, but she knew she is strong inside. When he was late in bringing her food, she would eat the leftovers. She would dress up by herself even if it took hours and not asking any assistance from him. When he would not take her for a walk, she would go by herself using the wooden cane. After all the sweat and tears, she showed signs of improvement.
She became proactive in her physical therapy. Her lowered self-esteem became her source of motivation. Her hands and legs gained more strength and she was recovering very rapidly. The twinkles in her eyes that were almost gone can be seen again. She built up her resilience and motivation to quickly recover and has gotten accustomed to her husband’s coldness. She decided about one thing when she gets discharged from the hospital: Divorce.
The doctor felt amazed about her fast recovery. He said that it was a miracle. Apart from feeling a little numb on her right leg, she could walk normally. Upon hearing from the doctor that she can be discharged and go home, she cried tears of joy. Though a pang of sadness struck her.
Her husband came to fetch her from the hospital. Throughout the drive on the way home, they both fell silent. Back at the hospital, she did not let him help her get into the car. As soon as they were near their house, she felt excitement and sadness at the same time. She wondered if she could still call it her home. He opened the front door for her at their house. She noticed that he had more grey hair now than before. “Is he going to ask me for a divorce?” she thought. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and held back her tears.
“Sweetheart, you can open your eyes now,” he said. She did not hesitate for a second to open her eyes and was stunned by what she saw. There were rose petals scattered on the floor and food was already served on the dining table with all her favorite dishes. However, she instantly took this gesture negatively. “Is this going to be our last dinner together?”
He quickly responded, with tears starting to well up his eyes. “Don’t be silly. Don’t you know I have been waiting for this day for quite a long time? Don’t you understand how difficult it has been for me? Don’t you know it hurts me as much as it does hurt you when I shout at you? But if I didn’t do that, you would always rely on me and might never be able to stand up again.”
A year has passed and she has recovered completely. She has started working again. She looks slightly older than when she fell ill, but she still has that sparkle in her eyes. She is much calmer now, warm and optimistic, and is finally able to do what she loves to do again.
The husband has taught her a valuable lesson: “Don’t doubt true love, sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.”