Disclaimer: This post is by Kevin, Janae’s husband. I wanted to document this experience to help others understand. Click here to watch

For years, I didn’t understand what Janae was going through after her Celiac Disease diagnosis. I do not have Celiac Disease or any food intolerances. Janae didn’t want to burden anyone, so she suffered silently. When I asked, “How can I help? What can I do?” she would respond with, “Nothing. I’ll be fine.” But over time, I realized she was suffering and living with Celiac Disease alone. I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand her reality. I sucked.

Here’s what I mean:
* I wasn’t calling restaurants ahead of date nights to ask about their gluten-free menus or if it would be safe.
* I wasn’t asking the complicated questions for her in restaurants.
* I wasn’t ordering gluten-free food so we could share.
* I wasn’t calling friends or family ahead of get-togethers to ask if their dishes could be made gluten-free.
* I wasn’t showing up for her when she was sick, and at times I was annoyed with her for being sick again. Looking back, I feel terrible about how I treated her.

I remember the moment I realized I could do so much better for Janae. It’s a story for another time, but I was terrible with empathy. It took years for me to get it. My hope with this post is if it helps just one person realize they can do better for their loved ones it would be worth it.

I’m proud to report, yesterday when she was sick, I showed up for her. When she told me to leave, I stayed, rubbing her feet, keeping cold washcloths around her neck, holding her hair, blowing cold air on her neck and back, rubbing pressure points in her hands, and most importantly, sitting on the floor with her and loving her as much as I could. I wanted her to know she wasn’t alone.

Here’s what I’ve learned: A little empathy goes a long way. Sometimes, it means calling restaurants or turning down dates with friends at places with no gluten-free options. Sometimes, it means sitting in silence with the person you love, fighting for their life. Practicing real empathy always helps more than you’d think. Try it and see how much it helps.

Kevin Cox (Clean Monday Meals Husband)

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