Last week, my husband stayed home from work one day. Yes. It was a true anomaly. He was so ill, he laid on the couch for part of the day, moaning some, but mostly listened to me talk as I busied myself with the house and the two little boys.
It was so nice.
Not only because we just moved here and getting enough of my words out each day is still somewhat of a challenge some days, but also because I was talking with my husband. You know, the one I married because I loved to be with him and to talk with him. That sounds so insane, maybe, and especially in the context that my husband chose medicine as a career, (you would think we didn't like each other very much at all), but it's true for me.
So, not only did I get to talk with my favorite person all day, but I was reminded of how loneliness is a huge part of being married to a doctor, especially a medical resident. Friends, relationships, a community all become so essential as the doctor delves deeper into his/her career. This career requires not only time and energy, but also full emotions and loyalty. My dad told me once that law school students referred to law school as the "jealous mistress;" I think medical training could be coined as the same.
I remember during the first year of medical school actually feeling angry about it. I didn't want to look for friendships with others that would fill the void I felt from my husband's distracted focus. I married him, not a bunch of my girlfriends. I wanted his time and attention. But, the reality was that we needed to learn to deal with the demands put on him, and try our best to put each other first under any circumstances.
I gradually learned to rely more on my girlfriends, you know, to get my words out, to find sympathy and understanding, to talk endlessly about the challenges of motherhood with husbands gone most of the time, and most importantly, to laugh and find humor in every day life.
After that sick day last week, I was a little bit sad. I still miss my husband and most days think about it. But the lessons learned that day also gave me increased determination to make new connections and strengthen old connections, create relationships, and look for people to fill at least a part of the void, as much as possible, so that the loneliness will dissipate and eventually maybe even disappear.