Monday, May 5, 2014
The ache is deep. The loss profound. Crying now amounts to bouts of low growls, a kind of gasping, like my guts might be falling out. Way beyond crying loudly, yet quieter. In fact it's more a quiet deep gasping for air, for faith, for strength. He has been hospitalized for a UTI and a subsequent stay at a rehab nursing home..."to recover his strength" before returning home. While he was in the hospital, I visited group homes as I struggled with the fact that he was becoming very difficult to care for at home. I felt the predictable mix of horror and relief as I considered these kinds of options but was not prepared for the actual horror I felt when I visited the homes. I came away determined to try longer to care for him myself. I just couldn't leave him in one of those places. My new resolve was severely tested in the rehab place where the predominant "therapy" for "returning him to strength" meant using strong psychotic and sedative drugs and injections and strapping him in a wheelchair. He left the center weaker than when he entered and barely awake. It took a day but he not only returned to full pre infection strength but also entered an unbelievable renaissance period of almost coherent language and socially appropriate interactions. We thoroughly enjoyed the respite and his company. I tried desperately not to jump on the roller coaster ride of hope, and sure enough, three days later the shadow of my husband replaced this new version. Now as the house quiets and the last of the caregivers leave, I am alone with him. This should be a relief to reclaim our own space, to be alone with each other. It is terrifying. So far he can't get out of his hospital bed but if he does, I have no idea with whom I will be dealing. My own sweet absent minded professor is long gone. This creature, this specter, with snarling fangs and drooling lips, comes at me with fists curled, spitting venomous gibberish into the air. I am afraid of the dark.
My chest aches. My heart hurts. I wonder sometimes if my age and lack of diligence about my health is catching up to me. I wonder if I am feeling the beginnings of my end. Hard to figure out because my heart is actually broken. The losses keep rolling in, like the tides, with no respect for the beaches' capacity to tolerate or accommodate them. Inexorably, relentlessly, wave after wave of grief. Eroding the sands of the protective reef around my heart. I was tolerating, if not accepting, the unspeakable horror show of my husband's slow demise, but now my beautiful son-in-law seems to be leaving me as well. My heat aches also of course for my my own baby, his wife, but I feel the pain of his withdrawal personally. Another of the many fine men in my life who always always always leave me. At least that's the life lesson I am drawing from all this. Festive pity party up in here? Absolutely. And yet.....as the season softens into spring and the snow melts away to a cold distant memory, my heart is thawing towards my husband. I find myself not so angry with him any more, though, like the last small mound of dirty snow next to our driveway, I still get irritated and impatient with the ravages of his disease. That one small dirty mound of cold is still present, but no longer rules my heart. I feel the inescapable pull of spring's promise and the renewed sense of life force that the budding season allows. Now I feel more sad for him, for his loss. I have been raging for years over the loss this represents for me, and now as I lean back toward him again, my pain is for him, not me.