I spent some time tonight in Andy’s chair. I came home from work and he was in bed, so I sat down on his chair (like I normally do) and we chatted about our day. He recently got a new cushion and I was testing it out, before taking off to the kitchen and driving into some walls along the way. Andy loves to see me fail at driving it as he succeeds so well, but I feel like I’ll let him away with that one. I then suggested I make the dinner from the chair and he was all for it, laughing at me as if to say you’ll never cope. I definitely cheated a little, taking off the foot plates for more space and a smaller turning circle but it was still a challenge. There were things I just couldn’t reach and other stuff that I hurt myself trying to get.

I would like to think that I am pretty aware of “wheelchair life” and the struggles he faces but I’ve never been able to have any understanding of how I would feel in that position, always stating “I’d have no idea how I could do it”. Now, I am FULLY aware that I barely scratched the surface and only moved between two rooms, but that was kinda tough. I felt so sad when I had to just admit that I couldn’t reach something. Sad in that moment for me but mainly knowing that that is how he feels everyday. 

On reflection tonight, I found myself coming back to the same conversation I am seeing online and having with people recently. I am pretty sure we have all looked on at someone in life and thought “oh man, their life is tough”. With this often comes perspective and reflection on our own lives and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When you stop and tell someone that you are inspired by the way they have kept going through the hard times or mention that you can see life is really tough and you are praying for them- that is ok; that is positive. However, where it does start to not be ok, is when we share that perspective we just had, as no matter how you put it, you basically say “wow, I thought my life was tough until I met you. You’re life sucks!” Here’s the thing, we all mean well and it was never meant to be an insult, but who is the comment benefiting? I know that when we’re having a really good day, we don’t want to hear and be reminded that we probably should be stressed or worrying. We don’t want to focus on the negative when we have woken up positive; we don’t want to be broken down again.

I am not bringing this up based on any specific event that has happened to us, and please know that if you have said something similar to myself or Andy, we are not annoyed at you. We know people mean so well and, in life we also struggle to find the right words to say to others, but I have definitely learnt to try and think before I speak, asking myself, “is this helpful” or “will this bring them joy”. If the answer is no, then why say it. 

While we are here, I may as well address another point. To most of you (I’m sure), you will be shocked but if it stops even one person from repeating these words, it will be worth it. I’ve got it a few times (I know others have too): “You are so good for staying with him.” At first I tried to shield Andy from this- we were at a family wedding when this bombshell was dropped on me, along with a justification as to why I could very easily have just gone back on all my vows and ditched the man I love most in the whole entire world. The man I prayed endlessly for and the one who made me the happiest girl when he held my hand in ICU for the first time again. As if leaving him would somehow make my life better. Andy was actually sitting about 2 metres away at the time and I responded with “look at him, he’s so crazy handsome!”. I don’t think I had any other words and I knew I needed to let it go, but then it happened again, and again. Even now, I do not have the words. I don’t feel the need to justify to a stranger why I love my husband so much, but I also don’t have the energy to tell her how much she has just insulted him. I almost feel like I am insulting him by even talking about it. Andy knows, he has overheard and if he wasn’t the most laid back person in the world he would maybe have been bothered by it, but I am bothered. And I suppose I’d love to clear this up for all the wives, girlfriends, children, boyfriends, husbands and parents who care for their loved ones.

“Staying” was never a thing. It was never a decision that needed to be made. I used to have conversations with my friends about how I move forward when Andy dies. How do I EVER think about finding someone else when he is the only one I want. 

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Before Andy’s accident he was a 26 year old man, who loved Jesus, motorbikes, puppies, Harry Potter, tattoos, football, rugby and most importantly, his smokin hot wife! The only thing that has changed here is his age, and maybe the degree of hotness his wife holds. Just because life looks different, does not mean that he is. Okay yes, we’ve both definitely changed a good bit, but that is down to the journey we have been on and how we look at life. People used to always warn me that Andy will more than likely have undergone a personality change, caused by the brain injury and I was a little worried as I waited for it to be revealed. It happened one day when we were in the house. He was checking himself out in the mirror and just looked at me and asked “why?”. I thought for a second as I finally figured it out- his personality change is the fact that he LOVES himself. Like I really do mean that, I catch him staring at himself all the time, if I stand between him and the lift mirror he freaks out and all of a sudden he is giving me fashion advice! Andrew Harris!! (Okay, so I just read this to him and he is adamant I let you know he is joking about how much he loves himself but I just don’t know about that!)  

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I really do promise that I will supply you with an Andy update soon- life, health, prayer requests etc. That just seems like quite the task right now so I am putting it off. But we are so thankful for the continued love, support and prayers from you all. This journey would definitely be harder without the kind words of encouragement we get from so many of you everyday. I have highlighted a couple of maybe quite negative points and I really don’t love doing that at all. I do however know how thick skinned we can be, and know that the next person may not. So if we can do anything to protect them and ultimately help educate others, then I hope we achieve that. 

“I am my beloved’s and he is mine” Songs of Solomon 6:3

Emma🌸

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14 Comments

  1. Thank you for your blog… I’m a close friend of the McCabes in Belfast , though I live in Vancouver, Canada. I started praying for you guys and reading your blog after hearing about the accident. I want you to know how your words have helped me cope with dark times as my husband and I have struggled with infertility. It’s been a long road, and a difficult one, and seeing how you’ve coped with your pain, and andy’s, has really helped me. Today’s blog really touched me as I have felt so many times that my husband would be better off without me, and that he would be justified in leaving to find someone who could give him children when I haven’t been able to so far. No one has said anything to him, but I’ve had close friends whose parents have told their daughters they’d be justified in leaving their infertile partners. The things you’ve said about love are exactly true— true love is forever, and for better or worse and in sickness and in health. Thank you so much for sharing what I’m sure has been a very painful aspect of your journey. I shake my head at people sometimes— unless they’ve been there, they just truly done understand. And even though I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to be in your shoes or andy’s, please know hat what you’ve shared helps others and motivates them to choose joy in the face of hard things. Will keep praying for you both. Also your bathroom looks awesome. 💗💗💗

  2. This is the loveliest post I’ve read today. Thank you for sharing this, it was a wonderful read! I wish for a love like the one you share with your husband, it’s full of light.
    Happily following your blog now,

    Cheers! ^^

  3. Thank you again Emma for a little “insight” into your life and to Sara too for your helpful comments, may you each know God’s help and rich blessings in your lives. Today’s blog has been most helpful to me, more than words could ever tell.

  4. I have read your blog today and thank you for sharing your heart I am reminded of a quote that I read today maybe you’ve heard the phrase that God never gives us more than we can handle.
    There’s a problem with that phrase if it were true,that would mean we would never face anything that we couldn’t solve in our own strength.if we were the solver of our own problems,why would we ever need God for anything?
    I am encouraged by your attitude I have come to believe after thirty years of marriage that we face the challenges of life together with God being our Helper and strength God bless x

  5. Wow…… this blog is completely filled with love & honesty Emma & Andrew!! I can see these posts written into a book & made into a movie, expressing the faithfulness of a God who not only understands what you are going through, but a God who grants you the help, strength & grace to face each challenge on a daily basis!

    Blessings & prayers for you both!! 💙💝🙏🙏🙏🙏

  6. Just thanks again Emma and Andy.
    Eleanor was asked if she needed prayer for the courage to leave me. Then the social worker dealing with housing mused out loud ‘If you and your girls, Mrs Murdoch would leave him, it would make life easier for us all. We can sort his housing needs and your’s too in a couple of days, but together is really very hard for us.’
    Blessings and love,
    Jim and Eleanor X O

  7. ‘Love’ is such a transient thing for so many people, it’s hard for some to understand that real love, a love founded and demonstrated by Jesus, is not fickle or faddish.
    Of course you would never leave each other ….. Your love for each other and for Him, glows from your very messages and your lives.
    May God richly bless you in your continued journey together. You are your beloveds. ❤️
    Xx

  8. Just been reading your email and just wanted to say that you two young people “do my heart good.”

  9. Emma & Andy you are both a real inspiration to me. I see the grace of God working in and through your lives weaving the fine threads of His love as you trust Him.

    Life is but a Weaving”

    “My life is but a weaving
    Between my God and me.
    I cannot choose the colors
    But He weaveth steadily.

    Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
    And I in foolish pride
    Forget He sees the upper
    And I the underside.

    Not ’til the loom is silent
    And the shuttles cease to fly
    Will God unroll the canvas
    And reveal the reason why.

    The dark threads are as needful
    In the weaver’s skillful hand
    As the threads of gold and silver
    In the pattern He has planned

    He knows, He loves, He cares; for you,
    Nothing this truth can dim.
    He gives the very best to those
    Who leave the choice to Him.

    You are an inspiration .

  10. Hi Andy and Emma my late wife Reta and I were married 40 years and for 29 years she battled with a chronic illness. Five years post diagnosis she became disabled never once did I ever think of leaving Reta and my two sons. “In sickness and in health”

  11. I was one of the first on the scene when your husband had his accident. I heard it and I responded. I’m a qualified nurse but hadn’t practiced for several years.
    I couldn’t do much except direct people to who was best to deal with the situation.
    You can’t throw a rock in Knockbracken Manor without hitting a doctor, nurse, paramedic or other Health Care Professional. They were brilliant.
    I’ve followed Andy’s progress through your blog and I’m delighted for of you that you’ve both him come so far.
    I never wanted to make myself known until I knew that Andy’d be ok.
    Thanks for writing this blog. It makes it easier for me to sleep.
    I wish you both everything that you’d wish for yourselves in the future.

  12. Hi Emma,

    After following Andy’s story and praying for him, I am really glad to say I finally met Andy this morning! I told him I’m an avid reader of your blog. Such a cheerful and pleasant man, and I can say he is definitely as handsome as you made out! Hope he feels better soon.

    God bless

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