Then you look at the things you enjoy doing and some strengths usually lie there too. Before he had all his medical issues, Rick was decent at sports. He liked golf and basketball.
After that, you can find strengths in every day, mundane activities - life skills, so to speak. Rick wasn't very handy with tools. He wasn't skilled at babysitting. He couldn't paint to save his life. It took him months to read a book.
But there was one life skill Rick was very, very good at doing. Rick was so good at taking care of me when I was sick.
I remember a time several years ago when I was so sick with a severe UTI that I had a fever and couldn't even stand up straight to walk because of the pain. I was crying. Rick picked me up in his arms, carried me to the car, and drove me not to the emergency room, but to my gynecologist's office. He carried me into the busy waiting room, set me on a chair, and walked right up to the front desk. "You need to see my wife," he said. "She is so sick. We can't wait around somewhere else." They saw me.
I remember another time when I was so weak from being sick that Rick washed my hair for me in the bathtub.
If I needed medicine, he ran out to the store at any time of night to get it for me. Even once in very bad snow.
If I had a bad cold or a sore throat, he made me tea, soup, or anything I might want. "Just take it easy, baby," he'd say. "Don't you get up now."
If I had to stay home from work, he'd call and check on me...multiple times per day.
Sometimes he'd bring dinner home - something that was a favorite of mine, to wet my appetite.
I was never as good at taking care of him when he was sick as he was at taking care of me. The very few times we both got sick at the same time, he'd always put me first. He always tried to take care of me while he was feeling ill himself.
He would bring me a glass of water to hydrate me, even if I hadn't asked. He'd slide a box of tissues over to me if I started to sniffle. He put me to bed early and tucked me in, telling me that work was never as important as taking care of myself.
I miss him so much, because today I'm sick.
I just have a bad cold, but I'm miserable enough. I think my lack of sleep, grief roller coaster, and draining to-do list finally got the best of me. My throat hurts. My eyes are sore. My voice is going. My nose is both stuffed and runny. My head hurts. It started yesterday, progressed to NyQuil status at bedtime, and today I popped antihistamines to make it through work without a tissue permanently attached to my nose. I'm so tired.
No fever, no big deal...just a cold...but I miss Rick and the way he always took care of me. And that makes "just a cold" feel like the worst diagnosis in the world.