Author Sherri Mills

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Debilitating illness

My last client last night was a beautiful 26 year-old girl. She has three beautiful children and she has been diagnosed with a debilitating disease.

As I was cutting her hair she started to sob and asked me about my book. She said she could hardly get out of bed in the morning and her husband would not lift a finger to help with the kids or the house. She said she was afraid for her kids, that they were used to a nice clean house and now it was filthy because she couldn't do it any more.

She said, "How many times do I have to scream at him to get him to listen? He just doesn't care."

I don't know her husband, so I have no idea if he does care or not. My guess is that he does. What I could be sure of was what I told her: "He has no idea how hard it is to take care of three kids and a house. No man does until he does it for himself."

I told her to leave the kids home with him. His mother (their babysitter) should take her to the doctor out of town. This would help the man experience the challenge of taking care of three little kids and a house, and maybe win her some empathy. However, I think my advice fell on deaf ears because she was so stressed.

She cried the whole time she was there and told me she was so angry she thought she would get a divorce.

You can imagine how I responded to that.

I told her that divorce was the last thing she needed. It would be incredibly stressful. Her insurance would be gone, and she definitely needed her husband's paycheck now more than ever. That may sound like a crazy thing to consider, but is so true. Imagine going through the stress of a divorce and a medical problem with no insurance and no money. The practical things have got to be considered.

I told her to get marriage counseling as soon as possible. I was so afraid that if she didn't try to improve her marriage, a husband who was as disconnected from her as this one seemed to be just might leave her when her illness got worse. I didn't tell her that, but I have seen it happen.

I said a little prayer for her as she left and wished I could have helped her more. I told her to call me any time she wanted.

I felt so bad for this girl. Even though I've learned a lot about how to save marriages, results don't happen overnight. Time was not on her side.

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