A Letter to My Husband

Dear Niall,

Eight years ago I held your hand on a still May morning as we set off on our third Darkness into Light walk for Pieta House, a charity that we both owe a lot to. I knew our whole world was about to change. After three weeks in hospital the previous October, having undergone every test and multiple lumbar punctures, the threat of those two words clung to everything - Multiple Sclerosis.

We returned from the hospital in a haze, laced up our runners and cleared our heads the only way we knew how. Four months later we did our first half marathon. I was getting lower by the week, you could run at twice my pace but you never did - you stayed by my side through every training session, every minute, every mile, always whispering the right words.

I told everyone and myself that MS wasn’t that bad, that it wouldn’t stop me. But it did. A year to the day of that half marathon I had my second relapse in the space of three months. My right leg stopped working and I was left staring at a wheelchair instead of my running gear.

It feels like we’ve lived a lifetime in the years that followed. I have attempted to write this letter so many times but I choke on the words, on the weight they must carry. Because there are no words to thank you. To thank you for being my best friend through it all, for holding me when I couldn’t breathe through the pain, for making me laugh at situations that should have made us cry, for being my everything when it felt like nothing was left.

There aren’t ever enough thank yous. You would never say it but I know how many sacrifices you have made - from being a carer in your mid-20s when MS ran riot through my body, to sacrificing your career and your own mental health to keep me safe when Covid loomed over us larger than ever.

You held us together for so many years. You didn’t let yourself break but when you did it was my turn to catch you and I will always catch you as you have me. The last few years have only made me love you more. I am so proud to call you my husband, of the kind compassionate man you are.

We are so lucky. Not a minute goes by that I don’t feel that despite the unrelenting health dramas that have come our way this year more than ever. Since MS arrived on the scene almost nine years ago, we’ve adopted our beautiful little rescue dog Trixie, we have gone on adventures, we’ve lived abroad, we’ve made and unmade plans, we eventually bought our dream house (and turned you into a culchie your Nanny would be proud of) and we continue to plan and dream.

Wedding image of MS and Me blogger Rosie and her husband

Some dreams we never gave up on though did we? We refused to reset the goal posts and we held this one close to our hearts, a whisper of a dream - hoping that one day my body would be strong enough. But it was always strong enough, the world just told us otherwise. And I’ve never been more in awe of it than I have been over these last few months, watching it grow our daughter. This May we finally get to welcome her into the world - our beautiful rainbow baby.

We have both learned the hard way that health - life - are precious gifts to be cherished. MS or not, no one has any idea of the depths of joy or despair that lie around the corner. This disease has challenged and changed us in so many ways, but it has only strengthened our relationship. I know we’ll be okay because in our darkest days we hold each other, we wipe away the tears, we smile and we hope. Love is all there is and it’s because of that, that I know we’ll always win against MS, because if you have love you have everything.

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