Thursday, June 24, 2010

Can a marriage die even when the loved one doesn't?

Amazing, helpful, and sad to read this.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The bane of proximity

Both H and I struggled upon my return. Once I came back, had a good night's sleep, and I needed to do something for H (make dinner), all of those resentments, fatigue...the burden came rushing back...less than 24 hours after getting home.

Yea, holding H in my arms was wonderful, but after the initial elation, it was the same ole, same ole feelings of "I don't want to be here. I am so done with this. Etc."

And H was so looking forward to my return, but of course, he, like me, had unrealistic expectations for what it would be like once I got home. It didn't turn out the way he wanted and so he's been in a major funk for over a week now.

It is the old cliché that absence makes the heart grow fonder. That is indeed the case, but I wish that proximity didn't undo that fondness so quickly.

Last night, I was sitting at the dinner table with H and he blurts out, "Can't I just die?"

I said, "I'm not certain what to say, honey."

"You don't have to say anything. I'm just tired of not being wanted...even S(his friend with benefits) doesn't want me anymore." He's crying now. And yet again, I'm stuck between wanting to comfort him and boundaries that I know need to be in place for my sanity.

And it pains me to see him in pain. In spite of it all, I don’t want him to experience pain, but that is completely unrealistic as all he has had for the past 15 years are losses.

I wonder what his experience really is. Most recently, he was expressing alarm to his nurse and me about the oil spill in the Gulf, volcanoes, floods, & earthquakes all make it likely that he won't be able to get his medications when he needs them.

In any case, the up-close view was just as I left it. I blissfully forgot the burden while I was away and the love for him took center stage, where it belongs. Another good reason for placement.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The beauty of distance

I've been in NYC the past week for work and have enjoyed being here in the city with my work crew. Must say, tho', that I'm far too old for the combination of working on the road, the time zone change, and the all-night party that the city can be. Yea, and a few hangovers as well.

As in the past, when I was getting near to leaving on this trip, I couldn't wait to leave and get a break. And now, as has also been true prior, I'm looking forward to seeing H again. Odd to go from being angry at H for all the exhaustion and burden to missing him and looking forward to seeing him again.

Regardless of all that has happened, the fondness and love for H is still there.

I find the emotional whiplash exhausting way of being that has dogged me for over a decade now. The gifts - compassion, being able to set clear boundaries and keep to them, patience, respect for my own mortality (and his), and belief in the survival of love in spite of overwhelming odds - are great, but so is the cost.

It would be easier if I were either consistently resentful or consistently in love. But that isn't the way it is anymore.

When I see other couples, I wonder what their lives are like. What it must be like to not have such a whiplash every year or two. What it must be like to stay in one frame or another: either resentment that builds over time and results in divorce or love that builds over time and the sense of the adventure of a life shared and all the excitement and comfort that brings.

But, from where I sit now, some 3,000 miles from home, I'm excited to see H again and to hold him in my arms. I wish that I could hold onto this feeling once I get home in spite of the burden of caregiving.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Frail is as frail does

Not much to report these days as H's viral load continues to stay down and life grinds on.

Happily, I'm heading out for a business trip next week to NYC. For the first time, I've arranged pro caregiver coverage while I'm out of town. I want someone who knows what they're looking at to keep an eye on him, help him with his meds, and cook for him. At least I can go with a clear mind, knowing that I've got coverage at home.

Difficult to see him so frail and shrinking. I've been stuffing him with his favorite rich foods (well, stuffing myself too), but he's barely maintaining his weight.

In the past, he's been frail, but then has bounced back. This time, he's staying frail. We were sitting in the hot tub and I was holding his hands...small, bony, weak, no grip anymore. And holding him in my arms...he's shrunk so much.

It's one thing to intellectualize the observe it and's another thing to feel it with the arms that have held him so many times.