I was ready to take the plunge. I lived in Europe once before and was excited at the prospect of a new adventure- this one with a partner by my side. I would have to give up a lot, but I would be gaining so much. Maybe it was my can-do Americanism shining through. I had already learned that life is unexpected and full of obstacles and challenges- nothing good comes easy. In a way, my disease taught me that. Instead of being discouraged by all that we would face, I was optimistic. I was resilient.
Three months after he left, I boarded a train and then a plane and flew across the ocean to see him. We spent a week stuffing ourselves with chocolates, frites and good beer. We toured the country, visited friends and played house. When he worked, I walked the streets by myself, envisioning what life would be like. I knew it would be hard and would take time to adjust, to carve something new out for myself. I wondered if my RA would continue to lie dormant in the background, and what we would do if it reared its head from the stress that would surely accompany such a grand change.
But on one of our last days, on a trip to France, it ended over a beer at a café. I was ready, willing and for the moment, able. He was not. Maybe it was his German pessimism shining through, but the challenges and the commitment were too much. It was too much to ask of me, and too much for him to give. Sometimes, even when we want to believe it can be, love isn’t enough.
I came home and nursed my broken heart. I told my family and my friends and took comfort, oddly enough, in the fact that as hard as this was, learning that I was sick had been harder, even if that pain was now distant and far away. Now, the pain I was feeling had nothing to do with my RA, but I hurt all over just the same. The only prescription for this kind of pain was time, and the knowledge that this, too, would pass.
Sara is the author of the blog, The Single Gal's Guide to Rheumatoid Arthritis.