My husband fell ill. My reaction to it was to be worried. Of course, I did what I could to help him out. I made the doctor’s appointment; I went to the pharmacy; I cooked; I grocery shopped and asked him every hour if I could do something more. Since he has a habit of taking a lot of Tylenol when he is ill, I watched over him. Despite all my effort, he took a little more Tylenol than he should have and developed a stomachache. I’ve got even more worried. I tried my best to look after him. I lectured him on the importance of taking the safe amount of medication. I made healthy meals for him. He became agitated. I tried to control my worry, but it just became worse. Of course, while I worried, none of my work got done. I did not work on any of my writings.

In the midst of this worrying, I talked to a nurse. I explained to her how I felt and what I tried to do about it. She listened carefully. Then, she asked the question: “Do you know the difference between caring and worrying?” I have to say that I was stunned. I actually did not know. She told me to think about it. So, I looked it up in the dictionary. According to the dictionary, to care means to 1) feel concern or interest; importance to something; 2) look after or provide for the need of someone. Worry means to 1) give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulties or troubles; 2) have a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems. The definitions made me think. I actually worried and carried this sense of worry to the extreme. I behaved as if it were my responsibility to make sure that my husband regained his health. In actuality, it was never my responsibility. It was up to him to get better. All I needed to do is to care; which, I did. I could care for him and about him to make sure that he received the help he needed. After that, I should have let him take the responsibility to gain control over his health. Worrying too much does not help. It will not help a person to make better choices about the medication he takes or the food he eats. Therefore, it is not wise to worry too much.

All that worrying did was to stop my life and abandon my writing efforts. I learned my lesson. Next time, I will take a step back and let him take the responsibility for his health once I provide the necessary care. I am back to writing now.

M. J. Mandoki