I can’t remember the last time he saw himself in a mirror with his shirt off. I hadn’t intentionally tried to keep him from it, it just kind of happened that way. .
I’ve watched his body shrink and waste away for almost 4 years now. It’s no longer a shock to see his bony shoulders and sunken in chest. His arms, once strong and muscular, are thin little sticks with no muscle or fat left on them.
The other day his shirt got very wet while shaving him, so I took it off. I had turned him to face me because I wasn’t able to reach him facing the other way. I walked away to put his shirt in the closet hamper, leaving him with his shirt off in front of the mirror.
I turned back around, and saw him looking at himself. I fought the urge to hurry back over and block his view. The look of shock and sadness on his face was too much to bear. I wasn’t quite sure what to do. But quickly realized there really was nothing I could do. He had already been looking long enough.
He moved his feet a little so he could turn the chair and see his back more. All bones, sticking out sharply where there once was supple skin and strong muscle. He’s lost over 100 pounds in the course of this disease, and loses more every month. My big, strong burly husband is being reduced to skin and bone. And while I had been watching and adjusting to it, he had been spared the look.
I felt so sorry that I had let that happen.
He looked at me and his eyes filled with tears. He shook his head and looked down.
I only wish when he looked in that mirror he saw what I saw. The skin shriveling and the bones protruding, yes I see them too.
But what I really see is the man he has always been. Big strong and handsome, with a mischievous, smile that makes me crazy with love.
Though he grows weaker every day, I see him stronger than he’s ever been. This strength I see can’t be measured on a scale because it’s the kind that can only be weighed in eternity.
A mirror may reflect an image back at you. But may no mistake that what you see isn’t always what you get. I just hope next time I can tell him all that, before what he sees makes him believe anything different.