Monday, May 18, 2015

For Better or For Worse...

Well we actually went on our vacation.  We drove 1,400 miles in six days.  We figured if God could create the world in six days we should at least drive past most of it.  

We did come home a day early but that really was doing pretty good since I was wanting to come home on day two.  It was okay – not great but better than I expected.  I had one minor set back as soon as we arrived on Sunday (Mother’s Day).  Something triggered it – I can’t imagine what -- but it was short-lived because I felt guilty for ruining my husband’s vacation so I stuffed it.  I can sense that he is losing patience with the never-ending snot-fest.  I know men don’t grieve the same and not that this is a bad thing but I feel like his life has resumed and his philosophy is: “Yeah, I’m sad but there is nothing I can do about it.” Huh? I kind of took that to mean since there is nothing he (or I) can “do” about it – all this crying and stuff is a waste of time. 
They really are from Mars.

Don’t get me wrong, he has been kind and supportive and patient but it is getting real clear he is tiring of all this and he feels he has been patient long enough and he wants his life back.  He is blatantly ready for things to get back to normal -- more specifically --his wife.  I definitely feel that and after 38 years I know him well enough to finish his sentences.  What I have prayed would not happen that “this” would come between us --appears to be leaning in that direction.  “This” has just about destroyed every relationship in my life and now I can feel the heat of its evil eye on my marriage. I’ve read the warnings and I knew it was a real threat.  I have tried to shield us from it and prepare for the possibility but it’s aiming for us and when I least expected it – when I thought we were past the danger zone.  It sneaks up and rears its ugly head in the timing factor.  He is tiring of all of the sadness and depression.  It is pulling him down.  He has invested all he has to invest and it still hasn't gone away...he wants his wife --and his life back.  He’s over all the crying and sadness and lethargy and depression and anger and theories and he wants to live normal again.  Oh I don’t blame him –I really don’t but I can’t give him what I don’t have.

I can’t make the sadness go away.  I wish I could and I wish I could tell him “Okay in three more months I will be better.”  But I can’t tell him that and I can’t tell him in fact, that it will ever get better.  And I think he is sensing that too.  I try and cry where he can’t hear me but I don’t want to pretend anymore that I’m not sad.  What he doesn’t understand is that though he has had almost nine months to get past it I have not.  I spent the first five in the Bone Marrow Transplant unit for six to eight hours a day during the first and what should have been the worst of my grief time, in a 3X4 space with a curtain around it; all that separated my sister and I from about forty desperately sick cancer patients along with a small army of physician’s assistants, nurses, nurses aides and doctors. 
There was no privacy and your every whisper was in earshot of at least ten people.  Ten terribly sick people, pale, bloated from steroids, no hair, vomiting, fevered, a tangle of I.V. lines hanging from them like Christmas tree lights and all of them fighting desperately for their lives.  I could certainly not sit “there” and cry.  Besides I was expected to listen to the nurses and the doctors instructions, read and understand treatment plans, listen for the warning signs of viruses, graft vs host disease or any host of other possible issues I needed to watch out for.  I had to carry armloads of stuff from waiting room to treatment room to radiology, to the different medical offices and down two elevators and to the car nine miles away.  But the heaviest thing I carried was my grief.  It was with me night and day but couldn’t be released except in small doses in the bottom of my closet late at night.  How do you sit in that environment with all that everyone there was going through –and cry and feel sorry for yourself?  You don’t.  You just don’t.  That said - had I not been sitting there and had I been allowed to collapse in the bottom of the closet like I wanted to -- I don't think I would be here now. So even though it postponed a lot of my grief-work it was for the best because I am stronger now in many ways.  But still it isn’t nine months to me.  It is fresh, raw and stifling as I am finally able to feel the sadness that was strangling me, grieve what was lost, cry for my baby and my son and my daughter in law; and do what I’ve wanted to do for months.
I can’t help that I am not enthused over a vacation and that all I want to do is curl up in my pajamas and never get out of bed or scream to the top of my lungs or sit in the floor holding toys to me and sob till my eyes swell shut over the injustice, the unfairness – the horror of it all that I still find impossible to believe.  So I feel that it is progress that I don’t – I just cry usually somewhere alone quietly behind closed doors.  I get up every day and I go to my job; I do enough around here to get by maybe not very well but I cook some.  I do laundry.  I pay the bills.  Most days I’m still amazed I can do what little I do.  I planned, made reservations, packed and drove on this stupid vacation and I am really proud of myself when I can function even at half capacity so I really don’t understand why everyone isn’t proud that I am not in the closet floor.  So what if I’m sad some days or don’t want to do things right yet or that I am not the picture of efficiency.  I want to be normal again and I wish I could promise that next week or next month or even next year that it will all get better and I will stop crying and being sad and analyzing this.  I’d love to tell you that –but the truth is I don’t know.  I don’t know that things will ever be normal again.  Truthfully, I can’t imagine it.  And while I am not where you wish I were and not even where I wish I were – I’m not where I was.   So what I want to say is: Cut me some slack.  I’m holding on the best I know how.  Be patient and love me for better or worse – this is “worse” and I’m doing the best I can.

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