Tough Love

The spot on my back is gone.

It had been there for weeks like stubborn lint on a white sweater. I’d visit it a couple of times a day, feeling its rough edges with my fingers. In the morning, I’d reach under my pajama top to see if it was still there. Each time, I’d think, if it’s still there, I’m going to have to do something. But it was and I didn’t.

And then I asked my husband to look at it. He began planning my funeral.

This isn’t my first spot. But it was the first with a career as a metaphor, however brief. Because as soon as I told my husband about the spot and soon after his funeral planning had wrapped up, the spot was gone.

This is what he does for me. I might be struggling with a big project or a very public challenge and ask him, “Do you think everything will turn out okay?”

“Probably not.”

“Do you think the boat might sink?”

“It’s pretty likely.”

“Are we going to get lost?”

“We already are. And then we’ll get a flat tire and a semi will hit us while we’re looking in the trunk for the jack.”

I count on him for this. I count on him not reassuring me. I think he read somewhere that reassurance makes people weak like you’re giving legitimacy to their calamity, giving it a name, and asking it to move into the spare bedroom. All I know is that he has always been this way. And because he has, it’s made me a tougher cookie.

Even if things don’t turn out okay, even if the boat sinks, even if the semi hits us while we’re looking in the trunk for a jack, we’ll still be standing in the kitchen, drinking our coffee, ready to deal with what’s next.

I find that very reassuring.





4 Comments on “Tough Love

    • Marilyn, you’ve been through so many health crises that you usually have a “I’ve been there” story to share for almost every health care story that pops up on TV news. It’s your version of name dropping to my celebrity name dropping.

      I really believe “You’ll make it work out. You always do”. It’s your cross to bear. Sorry.


  1. Sometimes that’s how I deal with anxiety – what’s the next worst thing that can happen? Can I survive it, do I have any control over it? Puts things in perspective rather quickly. Reassurances irritate me, because I just want to scream “How do you know?” Fun times.

    Liked by 1 person

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