I Found True Love With My Husband’s Best Friend

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by Bailey Vincent |

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best friend, adaptive, surgery, burden

My friend wrote a column about me and it goes like this:

“Have you ever sat and actually stared at the sky, following a cloud, watching it transform and dissipate? Have you ever seen a flower wilt in decay? Have you ever felt so physically miserable that you actually had the gall to say, ‘My life can’t possibly be any worse?’”

While normally I’d make fun of him right now — “Hey. Jon. Your philosophy major is showing.” — I had to stop when I read the next part: “These are just a few thoughts that run through my mind when asked how my life has been impacted by CF.”

The thing is, am the person with CF in his life. Or, at least this atypical variant. That me. She me. And reading about myself is harder than I’d imagined.

“Have you seen the movie ‘Our Friend’ yet?” I asked someone recently, referencing the true-story-made-film about a trio of friends dealing with a cancer diagnosis. “That’s basically my friend. My friend is ‘Our Friend.'”

“I’m so sorry I made us watch that,” I said to our tightknit crew minutes after the credits rolled, knowing exactly how true to form the character in “Our Friend” was to our own best of bests. “I didn’t know that would hurt so much.”

Maybe my friend didn’t know that being friends with me would hurt this much, either. When I asked Jonathan, our friend, to lend a few words for CF News Today‘s 31 Days of CF initiative, which is held during CF Awareness Month, I didn’t know he’d send me close to 900 words instead of the requested 300. I didn’t know I’d have to split his sentiments in two: some for his awareness column and some for me. Us. You and me, here in this column. I had no idea the keyboard catharsis that would spill my way.

“Bench Bests”: Jonathan, Bailey’s best friend. (Photo by Bailey Anne Vincent)

“Most people’s misconceptions of the disease and its effects boil down to an oversimplification of mucus in lungs and a low life expectancy,” he said. “People aren’t ready for the constant battle to attain any semblance of comfort, … let alone the complete redefining of the term normalcy.”

Jonathan, my friend who’s like the friend in “Our Friend,” is a master of many things — humor, rescuing dogs, art, humor again — but being a medical advocate for me is surely at the top.

“Is this your husband?” nurses love to ask, as he holds my catheter bag on a walk. Or, “Your brother is so nice. I can see the resemblance!” We are neither. We are just two best friends, who became best friends because my husband is his childhood best friend, and we don’t want to be boxed into someone else’s square of what and who we should or could be.

“If I could ‘Green Mile’ suck the disease and pain right out of her I would do it in an instant,” Jonathan wrote. “But alas, the movie magic is meant for dreams and not reality. Instead, all I can do is listen, and promote positive thinking, and look at new experimental techniques and medicines, … or simply just discourse about the future.”

Our discourse about the future isn’t always pretty. And neither are the symptoms or surgeries or moods he’s found along the way. Yet, he returns. Again and again. Sleeping on bedside benches. Taking off work. It’s the kind of love many will never know, and many more think is only meant for paper-and-pen unions, locked in for a lifetime.

Yet, here — a best friend within a best friend — I have found a lifetime of love, loyalty, and laughter that feels too true to be deserved.

Jonathan and Bailey. (Photo by Bailey Anne Vincent)

“I feel like today’s society has gone so far on the selfish spectrum that all people see is the stress or anxiety it causes them to see others in pain, so they choose to walk or stay away to protect themselves,” Jonathan noted. “Meanwhile, they’re putting the suffering on islands instead, to fight the darkness themselves.”

Sometimes I wish I could find a one true love for my one true best-friend love. Someone who could see him for who he is and how he loves. Instead, he’s overlooked. The alpha is chosen while the actual “good guy” is rejected. And I sit beside him, watching, wondering why everyone is so foolish and flawed.

If only they knew. I am so lucky in my knowing. I know what true friendship feels like, and, at least for me, and the few with a friend like mine, it feels like this:

“I know the feeling of fighting darkness alone, and I refuse to let those around me fight without knowing they have someone in their corner. No matter how gross or bloody things may get, no matter how deep the darkness goes, …

“I will be there.”

***

Note: Cystic Fibrosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cystic Fibrosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cystic fibrosis.

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