From Chicken Soup for the Soul in Menopause

A Husband’s Love

Every problem has a gift for you in its hands.

Richard Bach

When I entered menopause, I opted not to have hormone replacement because of the cancer and heart disease risks that ran in my family. So I went cold turkey, and it was tough, in spite of my trying a variety of homeopathic remedies.

On one memorable night, I was tossing and turning in bed, unable to get comfortable. I had been averaging two to four hours of sleep a night. I’d wake up several times drenched with perspiration and needing to change nightgowns. Then I would have trouble getting back to sleep no matter how tired I was. On this one night, I couldn’t fall asleep at all and was so restless that I woke up my husband.

“Honey, what can I do for you?” he asked sleepily.

“Nothing,” I said. “It’s just so terribly hot in here.”

“It’s not hot. If anything, it’s very cold.”

I realized that I’d pulled the covers off both of us and that he must be freezing.

“Sorry, my thermostat is on the blink again.”

“How about if I bring up some ice water for you?”

“Thanks,” I said.

After I’d cooled off a bit, I tried again to rest, but I still felt restless. My husband, as usual, was sensitive to my discomfort.

“Want me to turn on the television or the radio?”

“No thanks. Maybe I should go downstairs and try to read for a while.”

“Not a good idea,” he said.

“Why not?”

“You have to work in the morning,” he said, adding, “I’ve got a better idea. Want to snuggle?”

“I do, but I can’t stand to have anything warm against my skin right now.”

He let out a deep sigh. “Are you sure? I think it’s the best cure for anything that ails you.”

“I’ll go down for chamomile tea,” I said.

“Honey, you do what you want.” I could tell he was getting irritated himself.

“Hey, I’m the one who’s suffering here,” I said, becoming edgy.

“You know how I used to get nauseated right along with you when you were pregnant, and how I even felt your pain when your back hurt?”

“Yes,” I said, remembering his sympathetic symptoms with a smile.

“Remember all the tofu recipes I’ve been agreeing to let you try out, and me not even liking the stuff?”

“Sure. You’ve been great,” I conceded.

“Well, honey, right now, I’m just plain out of patience. I have to work tomorrow too, and I’m really tired.” With that, he took his pillow and went into one of the other bedrooms. Both our sons were away at college, so there was plenty of space to spread out. I felt truly bereft.

I went downstairs, had my tea and a slice of dry toast, read a mystery novel for a little while, and then finally went back to bed. I still tossed and turned. I moved from my side of the bed to my husband’s side, but I just couldn’t get comfortable.

Finally, my husband returned to our bedroom.

“I thought you’d gone to sleep,” I said.

“I heard you moving around. Come on, let’s give the snuggling a try,” he said. “For my sake, if not for yours.”

I moved into his arms, and we kissed, and then we snuggled. He made me forget all about menopause. And after a time, we both slept peacefully and soundly.

Jacqueline Seewald

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