I have kept some things form this blog, and although I am an open book in many aspects, there are a few things I seldom talk about. If it was up to me, I’d keep it this way but I need an outlet and can no longer carry it all by myself. It needs to be processed and dealt with. One such a subject is my husband. We’ve known each other since 1994, married in 1999, started living estranged lives around 2004 when the problems we had existed for a few years already. I am not going into details and reality is that most wouldn’t even beging to understand how complex everything has been. I’ve even been challenged, judged and dropped because of different views and opinions, but that’s an entire different story. What is factual is that we both made mistakes and choices, some not reconcilable and without the commitment from both parties. These choices bothered me for a long time and they still sting a bit. What remains is that we are two people that fell in love a long time ago and who couldn’t make it work in the end.
In 2021 we sold our house and separated, each going our own way. In fact we had done so for well over a century, only sharing responsibilities and obligations, being roommates under the same roof, upholding the burdens we both created. We are not legally separated and on paper we are still married. Both of our plates have been full and life has been a rollercoaster of events. Timing and other things needed to take priority, and strangely and in many ways we are better friends now then we were when we still fought for our marriage. No matter what the future holds, we know it is a life lived separately from each other, but I also know that we can count on each other if push comes to shove and perhaps this is more than most relationships have to show for. And push did come to shove…
Almost immediately after our separation my husband got very sick and a life long of being a diabetic along with other health related issues started to catch up with him. In some respect it even felt like bad karma as our split wasn’t that easy and years and years of unhappiness and problems preceded this moment. He got sick so badly that he needed help and couldn’t fend for himself anymore. Currently I spend a few days with him every week to do what I can. This ranges from running errands, to doing the shopping, the cleaning, being a mental and emotional support, to finding alternative healing methods and then making natural potions and lotions to help aid his condition. Cinnamon comes along and helps. She is a great support but sometimes I feel bad to subject her, as she feels too much as well. The issues we are dealing with is acute kidney failure which results in water retention and that in return causes open sores and blisters around his legs as the water has to escape somewhere. We have survived a Heart Attack that has left his heart permanently damaged, and we also have the macular degeneration in his eyes to deal with, causing near blindness in one eye. This makes driving a huge challenge and endangerment not only to himself but also to others. Those are the main issues but there is more, which increasingly is getting worse too.
For months we’ve been fighting to keep infections at bay as this would be the end and amputation would be imminent. It is unimaginable for him and he talks about taking measures into his own hands before it comes to that. He is a very young soul and of course scared to death. Who wouldn’t be but the reference of him being a young soul is pertaining to many other aspects and how he handles himself through this lifetime. Several times to the surprise of his doctor I managed to heal and close up his legs, but the blisters keep coming. Some of the medicines he has to take can cause these blisters and it’s like a vicious cycle. There is a high amount of pain that is involved when raw meat is exposed, and these sores can’t tolerate anything to touch them. He can’t leave the house and is feeling like a prisoner within his own four walls. He has to sleep in a chair, sitting, and fatigue and irritability is running it’s course when you have to get by on 3-4 hours of sleep on a good night. His appetite is dissipating and he never knows which foods he will tolerate if he does eat. He is reaching a point where hope is running thin and depression has settled in heavily.
Mental health, suicide and other issues associated with the end of life can be heartbreaking and sometimes there is just an overwhelming amount that surrounds me because of him. Being an end of life couch is a difficult job and I have the highest respect for someone who can be this kind of help and assistance. It can’t be easy but in comparison my “service” keeps repeating each weekend, it prolongs, and death lingers. It feels as if the suffering quota has not yet been met. There is no relieve, no release and the suffering continues as long as the heart is willing to beat. I have to be the strong one and if I break, everything breaks. I cry alone and when I am away, but it’s getting more and more difficult when it is so hard to watch. When you run out of options to help and feel the helplessness swallow you up whole. Regardless of our future and taking different directions, I care enough not to let him walk alone and without help. I can’t turn my back and say “We are not together anymore, you are not my responsibility, see how you get along.” My heart knows that I have to do what I can to help, it was this way with Mom, it is this way now. Sometimes it puts me into the path of being a whipping post for emotions, pain and frustration, when the hope fades and reality can’t be denied or masked any longer. I do the best to protect myself but I feel too much and can’t turn the emotions on and off. Pain and fear changes a person and it is all consuming. I have to remain the course and yes it is time for me to be happy as well. But how can I be with something like this at hand, with being the only one left, the only one who can and is willing to be there until the end.
Talking on the phone the other day, I could feel a heavy amount of pressure and depression. There is guilt from the past, and he hasn’t made peace with previous mistakes and wrong doings. There is self pity and feeling sorry for himself. There is jealousy because I apparently have a reason to live for, I want to build a house and I have purpose. Yet he is not willing to create such a purpose for himself. There are unrealistic expectations as if the world and everyone he knew has turned against him. There is sadness that no one checks in on him, yet no one is told what is really going on. He expects of others what he can’t uphold himself. Sometimes it is hard to instill hope and come up with a purpose, something that might inspire and give him something to look forward to, something to hold on to. He has no aspirations, no ambition, no ways of making dreams a reality. He doesn’t know how to and has to be led by the hand. (Young soul reference.) He would like to visit a foreign place and if he could only spend one day, sitting in peace and seeing things, he could die a happy man he says. Yet we don’t even have a valid passport to remotely make this wish a reality. He is a pessimist and yes he has chosen to walk the victim route. It has mostly been this way and I don’t know what happened and when it changed. He wasn’t always like that but he didn’t process life lessons the way I did and rather saw them as getting the short end of the stick, eventually becoming bitter. Such an outlook and attitude makes the difference and how far we come in our own journey. Sometimes it’s hard to deal with the same old day in and day out and being no stranger to my own chronic pain, I do understand how he feels. Yet it is draining to an optimist. I myself have been at the breaking point a time or two and sometimes we just can’t see past the pain and the struggle when we are engulfed and surrounded by it. Sometimes I understand all too well and feel it disqualifies me from being that saving grace and hand. Sometimes I feel that he is beyond the help that I can offer and he is too far gone already. I am constantly fighting to stay afloat, to keep from drowning.
So here I was saying things like “giving up is not optional,” “don’t talk like that,” “hold on, brighter days are coming,” “your time is not done here yet, you are needed,” “that’s selfish,” and “giving up is the easy way out.” I was surprised at his response as he told me that once upon a time he shared that same belief and giving up was a cowards exit but that was a long time ago and he didn’t believe in it anymore. He used to say the same thing when his Mom was ill. Suffering. Helpless. Wanting to die. The conversation brought into perspective what it takes to keep going when one suffers. How miserable and hopeless the days can be, fighting through yet another battle only to face another around the corner, trying not to give up because it’s not optional or the cowards way out. To hold on because your family and loved ones have not come to terms and are not yet willing to let you go. Do they even realize what agony you are in and that it is only a matter of time until your body gives out. How much more do they need you to experience and endure! Wasn’t that in itself the selfish part!
The normal given response would be to insist on getting help, on giving them the suicide hotline number. But even without suicide and going to that extreme as physically harming thy self, losing your will to live in a way is just like suicide and giving up. And yet how can we make someone go on and ask them to live, going through the pain day in and day out, when they no longer want to and have given up already! I check in daily, several times as I try and prepare myself for the moment when there is no answer anymore. When I have to drive to town scared of what I will find. When I don’t know if I will find him alive again. I know that I can help in many ways, but I know that I can’t instill hope where there is none left. I can’t take the fear of dying, or changing events of his past. I can’t make peace for him and it is something he has to do on his own. I can’t lift Karma and I can only beg him to change his ways and what he puts out into the universe. I can’t convince him, I can’t make him believe and turn an optimist. I can’t make him believe in miracles and that everything is possible. I can’t make him go on.
What a difficult position as we pray and hope things turn for the better once more. Perhaps they will, perhaps they won’t. It is a matter of buying a little more time. What is inevitable is that everyone’s time is coming, soon or later and there is no easy way around it. And in the meantime I don’t even know how to feel knowing that I have prayed for his suffering to end. To fall asleep and be released from the pain and his terminal condition that might give him a break for a few days, perhaps weeks, but in reality won’t go away and can’t be cured. How do we hold on in times like these….