Cancer is devastating. It is life-changing. When a couple is presented with confirmation of a cancer diagnosis by a well-meaning physician, it usually marks a shift in their relationship or the beginning of a new one-whether for the worst or the best. The shock, fear, doubt, disbelief, and denials can drive a relationship over a cliff in the blink of an eye. No one will blame a partner or a spouse if he, or she, chooses to abandon the ship at this critical juncture of the relationship. Why do couples decide to stick it out and bear the pain and burden together?
Enduring love is the glue that keeps relationships together, more so when a loved one is going through the most difficult period of life. Marika Humpreys, a life coach whose husband vigorously and rigorously struggled with cancer for five years, wanted to share and alleviate her spouse’s pain despite the hard realization that there was nothing much that she could do to lessen his physical and emotional suffering. Yet, being there tightly holding her husband’s hand in his moments of agony, inexplicably gave him relief and will to fight on. The comfort of her presence lovingly and voluntarily extended was a gift that her husband welcomed and enabled her to fully share in his cancer experience.
When the light is at its bleakest and the storm is raging at its height, it is time for couples to hold on even more. For no one is truly alone.