Monday, September 22, 2008

Gifts and gratitude

I was talking with a friend of ours who has known H longer than I have. I surprised myself when I told her about the gifts that I am receiving as a result of H's illness and my time caring for him. I've certainly shared my grousing in this blog and so it makes sense that I'd share my gifts and gratitude as well.

Let's start with compassion. Before I met H (and even for awhile afterwards), I wasn't the most compassionate man. I wasn't mean or selfish, per se, but I was definitely not patient and compassionate when considering others' experience. Now, while I do get impatient with my situation with H, I find myself being way more sympathetic and patient with H and other people overall. Not just the disadvantaged or ill, but with everyone. In many ways, this experience has taught me to love in a way that I didn't expect: unconditionally.

Respect for mortality. Before H got sick I hadn't had much experience with people that I love getting ill, but in the past 10 years or so, I have seen what it means to be in poor health. As a result, I convinced myself to stop smoking some years ago. And most importantly, I feel deep gratitude for my good health pretty much every day and I try to do the right thing. And I realize just how precious good health is.

Slowing down. In my work, we are racing constantly…racing with the market, with other groups in the company, with our peers; fast paced doesn't cover it. But when you need to patiently explain the same thing over and over again, it helps to have patience…to gear yourself to the other's pace. While I can't claim that I've nailed this one yet, it does me no good to be impatient with H and I'm finding that it just makes life more stressful to be impatient all of the time.

Forgiveness. Can't say that I've got this one nailed down either. But I can say that I at least understand how important it is: not forgiving others just gets in the way of me loving them. And not forgiving myself just keeps me stuck in regret and pain.

Would I want to repeat this experience? No! Please, no!

But what is it worth to learn how to love unconditionally, to respect our health and bodies, to slow down, to forgive, and to be grateful?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Counseling our marriage

Up early today and busy with getting ready for a house project that involved moving some furniture, etc. Great anxiety for H as "someone is coming early in the morning and I have to have my breakfast made before they get here." So, we're both up early today.

I'm sweeping and just moving stuff around and H asks me, "Can we get some marriage counseling? I don't want to be here if we're not having sex."

"Uhhhh, sure," I answer, but not meaning it. He'll likely forget he asked me about this and I don't really care much anymore about the outcome anyway. Frankly, I would prefer to live alone and have wanted to for many years now.

And I didn't say what I was thinking, "I don't want to be here at all anymore either. I told you I was done years ago and I've said that over and over again. What part of "I'm done" don't you get?"

His question did make me sad, very sad. Our time as lovers is over and, even tho' I know this to be true, I'm very sad about this. Not only am I sad due to what H and I have lost, but I'm also sad because I want what he wants and likely as desparately as he does, just not with him.

And I just don't want to tell him "No" again and again and again.

For my new readers, sex has been a issue with H and I for awhile now. His doesn't work and I just end up in tears and can't do it. Very sad.

One bright spot is that maybe counseling will help him move on, but it hasn't in the past. We've been here before and nothing changes. Nothing at all. Sometimes, in my more irrational moments, I fantasize that he'll want to leave so that I don't have to be the bad guy and "kick him out"...sure, I'll continue to help him, but I won't have to live with him anymore.

What I can say is that it is unreasonable for me to expect him to change in any way. He just can't. And he'll never leave under his own steam.

While H may have lost some of his mind, I am losing more and more of mine as time goes on.

Yup, sometimes I just want him to die...but mostly, I just want it to be different.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How do you be?

I have a hard time separating out my love and desire to care for H from our history as lovers, romantic partners, spouses, soul mates.

He so wants the romance, the way it used to be, and of course gets reassurance from me when I provide the kiss, hug, etc. I don't get any reassurance from H when he returns the favor. All I can hear in my mind is a voice screaming, "I am done with this."

Yea, I want that too...just not from him anymore.

I am done with that. For many years now, I've gone through many motions (sic) to give him that reassurance. But it get harder and harder to fake it.

And so I struggle with feeling guilty about just not wanting the romantic part from him anymore and, more to the point, dealing with his reaction about that.

The dilemma is that I love him and I know that he needs that attention (we all do), yet I just don't want to do that with him anymore.

But the real question is: How do you continue to live with someone when you are done with the romantic part, yet you desparately want that, but not with this man? And yet I love him and want the best that I can do for him.

The reality is that after being his caregiver for so long, I can't be anything but that (albeit a caregiver that loves him deeply).

Just smack his butt, etc. and make him feel good when smacking his butt is the last thing I want to do. It's not about what he needs anymore, other than the caregiving part.

How do you be under these circumsances? How am I supposed to interact with him? How are we to spend time together? What are we, then?

Neither of us likes where we are, yet here we are.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

He needs so little and I need so much

I've been thinking about how to position H in my mind, my life, and my heart. Our relationship has changed so much over the years, especially the last 3 or so as he has been so sick.

And all this time, I kept thinking that his needs were so overwhelming. But you know, what he needs is reassurance, some help with meals, some companionship, some love. Pretty simple really. Yea, I think that he would like more, as do I, but I think he's also finally coming into reality.

I keep thinking that he is in my way and that because of that, I feel more resentment towards him than is warranted and fair.

But he isn't in my way. I just think that he is.

His needs aren't so great, I just think that they are.

But, I need a fully functional partner and all that entails. And I haven't had one of those in a very, very long time…oh, let's say 10 years or so.

So, at this point, it really isn't about him at all, but about me.