Friday, November 28, 2008

Bleak house, redux

How silly of me to think that things would be different, just because H is visiting his family for a few weeks.

While he's not been ill while travelling, somehow I thought that all would be happiness while he is gone, a chance for me to refresh and regroup and, mostly, to enjoy myself.

I don't have the seething anger and resentment with him gone, I don't have to listen him fret, I don't have to do anything for him, and I no longer hear the screaming in my head, "I am so done with this. You need to go away."

And right now, I do notice great relief from not carrying that load. I am grateful for the break.

But being here at home alone show me how wacked out I am with H just drowns out everything else in my life. And while I don't want to pin it all on H, I believe that my life would be very different if he hadn't gotten ill or if he had just simply died some years ago.

Truth be told, I've just felt empty, barren, since he left…no desire to do much of anything except drink, watch those compelling videos, and go to the gym. It's not depression; it's not a mood, it's an empty bucket.

With him gone, the issues I have with my life sting more and I oddly feel both urgency and resignation.

Whether he is here or not, I'm lonely, I drink too much, I'm tired of being celibate, I'm going to be 50 in a few months, and I'm just tired. Some is existential anxiety, but much is just asingleman's life needing some attention.

"Like the deserts miss the rain…"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Quiet house, quiet mind

It's been a long time since the house was this quiet and even longer since I've felt any sort of quiet in my head. H has been gone only a few days now, but the relief I feel is palpable.

When I returned from Europe last week, I experienced the opposite. As soon as the cab pulled up in our driveway, my back, neck, even my legs began their characteristic chronic aching. While I was gone I had a bit of soreness from walking so much, but nothing as systemic as what I experienced upon my return.

Once I saw H disappear down the jetway, those aches and pains mostly left me again.

While I always knew that my responsibilities for H weighed on me, I've never been aware enough to feel that weight come and go so suddenly. Such is the cost of caring for someone you love who is slipping into dementia and slowly leaving this planet before your very eyes.

Now, with H out of the house and a long horizon until his return, I can exhale and my body is actually relaxing. My deep tissue massage actually is deep now.

Aside from the obvious benefit of not having to provide care for H while he is gone, what is striking is the just how quiet the house is and how quiet I feel, along with the belated realization that my life is, in fact, all about me and what I need. The clarity is gentle readers know that this is obvious, but I have clearly lost much perspective in all of this.

And while I can make a consicous effort to sacrifice my time and energy to care for someone I love, I am enjoying this peace far too much to want him to return...ever.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bleak house

Coming back from a week out of the country was as expected, maybe a little worse.

H had a "bad week," he said. He has some minor episodes of seizures, which has happened before, but he didn't go to the doctor or call his sister, who lives nearby. He didn't want to call as it "would have meant a trip to the hospital."

He said he was depressed and slept most of the time; lonely too, he said. Hardly ate because he "just gets confused cooking" and didn't go out to eat very much. Happily he had a few friends come visit.

While I hear the voice screaming in my head, "I'm done with this," it doesn't mean that I can't feel sympathy for this sad, sick man. And I do. And so, I can't or won't scream at him.

H leaves tomorrow for two weeks out of town and I'm glad. I shall be able to have some peace and quiet and relief from the funhouse that is our home now.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Looking back

Now a week out of the country on work travel with my extended team. In addition to the wonders of a more tolerant society who believe "live and let live," I've really enjoyed the break from the tedium of living with H and just how helpless and hopeless he is.

My team is astoundingly smart, funny, and passionate. Sometimes I don't feel that I belong, but that is my issue as I have clearly already been accepted.

Many nights out with all of them and obvious things to say: they are not only looking for an adventure…to expand their experience…but they are also able and willing to go after it. There is a keen desire for adventure and the ability to go after it. To have fun without the "my feet hurt," "I feel sick," "I need to lie down," or "I need you to make dinner for me."

So, we are in a strange city and go clubbing…men and women, straight and gay. It is just about having fun together without accommodation. Up steep narrow, twisting stairs, dancing on a crowded floor, walking a mile back to the hotel on rough cobblestone streets at 3am.

Maybe that is what I struggle with: the notion that he needs so much accommodation and I need a peer…someone who can keep up with me. Not that I'm running marathons, but still….

"There is a fine line between being noble and being a martyr." From the Alzheimer's' Moments blog.

So, you think that you're being noble…but is expressing your grief and whining being a martyr?

And for those who haven't experienced this slow, long painful missing what you once had and talking about it being a martyr?