When Love is Not Enough

My heart is broken, not for me, but for a fellow MS advocate who has personally invested so much to help advance MS research and care. This person, who happens to have a very aggressive progressive form of MS, has been public about the challenges, and even produced an award winning documentary about life with MS. That was just a few years ago, and there was a wonderful love story interwoven into the documentary that gave everyone hope that this would not be a solo journey.

Then a few days ago I caught the most recent installment of this person’s ongoing video journal about life with MS and was confronted with the news that the partner who stood up and vowed ‘til death do us part, and knew full well that multiple sclerosis was the third partner in the relationship from the day they met, had left. Not only left, but also left with their child and moved thousands of miles away.

The latest video installment focused on this loss and how even in the roughest times, this toddler was able to make people smile, if only for a moment, and temporarily forget about the MS. This absence is the saddest part of this fractured relationship.

Now I have no personal knowledge of what went wrong in this story and can only create a multitude of scenarios in my thoughts. But I keep coming back to the thought that perhaps sometimes love just isn’t enough.

When I look at the weight carried by caregivers of people with various forms of MS, I wonder if I would be up to the task. It’s easy to love a newborn baby who is dependent and needs us for all of their care, including feeding and diapering and nurturing. Would I be up to loving in that way to an adult partner with similar physical needs?

I also have to wonder the opposite – if I needed 24/7 care, would I be the kind of person who could still give love and not just be on the receiving end. Would I be able to get beyond my own needs and allow my partner to feel loved in a special way and not just as my custodian?

Unfortunately this story is not unique and I have heard all too often of people being left by their partner for a variety of reasons. It’s important to recognize that even though this known MS advocate is experiencing emotional pain, there are many others who are also facing the same sense of rejection and abandonment. The broken feelings I had when I heard this recent news are no greater than what I feel when I correspond with other people with MS who are also facing a future alone.

I can only hope that if I were to find myself in a similar situation on either side of caregiving, love would be enough to help me carry on. I recognize it is much more complex, but loving someone is surely the critical foundation of all relationships and I hope it would be enough.

Wishing you well,


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