When I was in my late teens, stuck in an abusive relationship, I thought life really couldn’t get much worse. I didn’t see a way out and looked ahead to a life of unhappiness. But then, an angel arrived; her name was Brittany. We came from similar backgrounds, faced similar hardships, were staring at the like-minded demons. However, from all that darkness came what I can only describe as the truest love. Brittany and our love got me out, lifted me up… and I did the same for her. We nurtured our love, together we conquered our demons, and we became what I think is the happiest couple to ever exist.
About seven years after we met, our relationship stronger and more wonderful than ever, it happened again. I found myself heading into a situation where I just had to believe things really couldn’t get much worse. I’d barely reached my mid-twenties, and my body started to fail me. There was no warning, no ready answers from the doctors, no days when I said, “Things seem to be getting a little bit better.” But unlike my teen-age situation, I didn’t look ahead to an unhappy life… instead I looked at the one positive constant in my world; I looked at Brittany and knew there was, and always would be, happiness.
As my body began to deteriorate, as I failed at doing every-day tasks such as holding a fork, Brittany became for me all the things I wasn’t. She did for me all the things I couldn’t. She walked for me and brought the outside world to me. She fed me and took me to endless appointments. She watched over me and kept on top of my every physical and emotional need. For awhile we were getting by, but bills piled up; I could no longer work and my growing dependence on Brittany for care was making it harder for her to hold on to her paying jobs. To make matters worse, while doctors indicated I had M.S., the official diagnosis was slow in coming – and, in fact, has still not been made. Until that happens, I’m not eligible for assistance from the M.S. Society and other possible means of support.
We knew our love was stronger than ever, that emotionally we would survive. But unfortunately you can’t take love to the bank, make a deposit and pay your bills! That’s when another great fortune touched our lives. A friend told us about JEVS at Home; he explained that through the program, Brittany could most likely receive financial compensation for the care she gives me. We inquired and we met Ellen Shimberg – who Brittany and I agree is another “angel” to enter our lives! With Ellen’s help, Brittany became my JEVS at Home caregiver and now receives wages that have us financially afloat once again. Despite the fact that I physically have little to give, JEVS at Home and Brittany keep a roof over our head. Without JEVS at Home and Ellen, I really don’t know where we’d be right now.
But, I don’t think about what may have been – I don’t have to. Sure, my heart aches for Brittany; I feel responsible for disrupting her life and being a burden that is preventing her from doing all the things twenty-something’s should be doing. But I realize, Brittany does what she does not out of any sense of duty, but out of love for me. And, so, I too put my heartache aside and instead, I keep going. I maintain a positive attitude. I focus my will on getting well. Like Brittany, I do all this not for myself, but out of my love for her and for US. I do believe with the support of JEVS at Home, my health will improve, Brittany and I will regain some normalness and happiness… our love will conquer all!