Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I want you to be there for me

While there is ample evidence that he's simply not capable of meeting my needs, I still want him to be there for me as I struggle through his waning days. But he simply can't be there in the way that I need, but that doesn't stop me from wanting it.

Oh sure, I can intellectually understand how he's not capable anymore, that H is my patient, my job, if you will…and not my partner anymore. But my heart still yearns for him to be what he once was and to be there for me as he once was, plain and simple. How could I not?

And if we were living apart, say with H in a facility, the physical distance would be the evidence I need to really get that he is no longer there for me, literally and figuratively.

H and I continuing to live together has slowed down my grieving and transition in many ways...there is no marker like moving away or death, just a long grind down to the inevitable.

A vignette from last night (this has happened many times in the past month or two):

So last night, I'm sitting on the couch watching TV with H, holding his hand. Suddenly, his hand gets very sweaty, then very cold, and he's stopped breathing. I touch his shoulder, once, twice...nothing...Oh God is this it?...then a firm push and say his name. He comes to and says, "Oh, I must have fallen asleep."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tension in the house

We have mildew in our bedroom closet.... Happens pretty every Fall/Winter and we treat it by spraying with Lysol. Works well, but smells a bit.

So, the other night H couldn't sleep in the bedroom due to the Lysol smell, but it didn't bother me, so I slept in our bedroom and he slept in the guest room.

Last night, while we were in the office, one of our cats starts meowing...he does that, he's a Siamese.

H says to the cat, "Oh, honey, are you upset?" Meow. "Are you upset because I slept in the guest room last night?" Meow. "Are you upset because there's so much tension in the house?" Meow.

Truth be told, you can say anything to this cat and he will respond with meow.

H says to me, "There, even the cats are upset with what's going on here."

What can I possibly say to that?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Anger management

The husband of a dear friend of mine has Parkinson's and the progression is limiting what he can do more and more. My friend told me that she finds herself getting so mad that her husband can't do even simple things (like the dishes) anymore...not just irritated mad, but raging mad. She asked me what I thought she should do and I said, "Don't expect anything from him anymore."

I was talking with H the other night and somehow we got onto the topic of anger, my anger. He's pressing me, what am I so angry about? "That I lost my partner, my lover, that I'm exhausted from all this." "Well," he says, "you can't be so angry and still love me. You better talk with your therapist about this (he's yelling now and goes on for about 5 minutes in a rage)." Everytime I try to say something, he cuts me off and yells louder.

He's screaming now about how our relationship isn't what it could be, should be and that this is my fault. I tell him that he's living in a fantasy world...out relationship has changed, period. More yelling, "You're the one living the go off to work everyday, make money, have somewhere to go...I'm hear all day, alone." He's crying now.

Don't expect anything from him anymore. Don't expect him to understand.

H's has been having dreams with lots of crying, he says. And lots of yelling. I'm not in those dreams.

Next month I'll be travelling for a week and H will be visiting family for two weeks. So, for ~3 weeks I won't see him. I need to get used to him not being in my life both literally and figuratively. It will be a very welcome break.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

He's not your partner anymore

I really struggle with how to view H these days. While I understand that he is sick, I keep expecting him... nee keep needing be my partner. As I've written here before, since we still live in the same house that we bought 20 years ago, I just keep hoping and filling in blanks for him.

So, I'm whining in therapy about my disappointment about not getting my needs met and how to deal with H's issues as I go out and get my needs met (nothing too salacious, just taking some nights off to visit with friends).

Now, it's hard to even do simple things without him as he gets pissed and mopes about that I don't love him, that I’m ashamed of him, that I am tired of him, and "we never do anything together anymore." Right, doing things with him is not fun for me, it is work because he is so high maintenance.

And I'm whining about how H continues to be after sex and talks about how our relationship isn't what it used to be. Yup.

At some point, I blurt out, "Well, I just think that I should be able to talk with my partner and work through these issues…"

My therapist leans forward and says, "He's not your partner anymore. He just can't be. You are in a fantasy that he is or ever will be again. Whatever he is to you, he is no longer your partner in the way that you need one. Sure you love him and care about him, but based on everything that you've told me for the past 4 years, he will never be able to give you what you need. In fact, it continues to go the other way."

What needs to shift for me is to view him as the sad, sick little man that he's become. Maybe I won't be so angry at him if I just accept this.

And maybe, just maybe, if I can think of him differently, I can begin to move on in a way that honors him and the love that we have while still getting what I need.