Sometimes I get overwhelmed. Sometimes I don’t recognize that what I’m experiencing is what I need to experience for my soul growth. Sometimes I don’t want my soul to grow – just sit there and leave me alone. Too much integration or too much separation – one or the other. How to balance all of this?
I have problems with which to deal, as we all do. Right now, it’s my husband and his health. His poor health, dementia, inability to walk and/or speak has been coming on for 4 years. Progressively getting worse, moving down a notch, requiring more and more creative thinking. Getting out of denial which traps me like glue – that I have to reach out and get away from.
It has almost been a year since he moved to the nursing home. He’s asked twice to come home. Thankfully, only twice and I’ve been able to explain to him why he cannot – although he knows why and he too lives in denial.
He was a workaholic. I swear that’s what put him in the shape he’s in, who knows? Our marriage was one of distance —- he worked all the time, 7 days a week – rarely took a day off. I did what I wanted to. I did not like being left at home – I felt ignored. Our son and I made a life for ourselves without his father – because his father wasn’t there. Not just physically not there, but emotionally too. He distanced himself from us. At one point my father told me that I gave my husband hell every time I saw him – maybe that was why he was never around ………. but maybe if he’d been around —– he wouldn’t have caught so much hell. My father was a workaholic too. Do we all marry our fathers? I did get to know Dad much better in the 5 years he lived after Mom died. I got to know him.
My son has had a hard time (and life) with the relationship with his Dad. Dad is cold whereas his son is not. My son has watched his Dad be enthusiastic and chatty with strangers and yet sit unresponsive when he tried to talk to him. And yet his father always stepped in should our son and I start arguing. Heavens. We’re way too much alike when we’re pissed at each other ———– my husband would always side with his son.
And now I have to face the fact that my husband is dying. Slowly. Maybe not as slowly as I think. A couple of months or so ago I noticed that he was losing weight. The nursing home staff said he isn’t eating. I decided to visit during lunch and to feed him. I’ve been doing that for a while now. I hear that he eats breakfast but not much else. He also won’t let the nursing home staff feed him. And I was told the other day that he just wants my attention and so he’ll eat for me. He’ll eat for me because I will scream at him if he doesn’t.
All of this is exhausting. Planning for what I’ll need to do when he dies, making sure we have enough to survive after he’s gone, planning what I’ll do with the house – if I’ll keep it or not — move or not — just exhausting.
I hide from myself all of these worries as much as I can. It does me no good to recognize that – after 22 years of being pretty much ignored – now I’m the most important person to my husband. Why did it take this illness for him to think this?
Even though he’s under the care of the nursing home staff, my job as primary caregiver is still filled. Thankfully I don’t have to be his sole caregiver while trying to keep myself and my son sane at the same time, but I’m still primary. I’m the one they talk to and I’m the only one he’ll listen to.
Sometimes I just have to put it down. It’s way too much to carry ……….