Wednesday, May 8, 2013

10 months gone

So... 10 months ago, you somehow wound up dying on me.  Didn't see it coming, wasn't expecting one moment, my life was shattered.  July of my favorite holidays, now ruined forever.  I know you didn't plan it, you didn't see it coming any more than I did.  But it happened.  A heart attack they tell me.  Gone before you went under.  I guess I'll really never know.  All I know is that my heart is broken forever.  Nothing will ever be normal again.  I am left with two teenagers who don't understand this any better than I do.  You left us with no plan, no defenses, no clue as to how we're supposed to go on.

So here I am.  Single mother, full time nurse.  Trying to make sense of things.  Nothing makes sense.  I'm alone, without you. You got me like no one else.  I got you like no one else.  Everything is falling apart.  All these stupid things that have come up that I can't handle on my own.  And you're not here to help.  It's so hard.

I'm lonely...I miss you like you could never imagine.  Why you?  Why now?  It hurts beyond measure.  I'm capable, they tell me. I'm strong, they tell me.  I'm better off without you... Never.  Never.  Never.  I'm alone, heartbroken, missing you like you could never imagine...I'm in a endless, living nightmare.  There's so much I want to tell much you've missed.  I cannot accept it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

An Independent Woman

"The shoes on my feet
I've bought it
The clothes I'm wearing
I've bought it
The rock I'm rockin'
I've bought it
'Cause I depend on me
If I wanted the watch you're wearin'
I'll buy it
The house I live in
I've bought it
The car I'm driving
I've bought it
I depend on me
(I depend on me)"

The above lyrics from Destiny's Child's "Independent Woman" speak so loudly to me.  I have worked so hard to be the person I am today.  When I got married, almost 21 years ago, I never dreamed that the well-being of my family would depend on me.  I never dreamed that my husband--strong, strikingly handsome, smart, hard-working--would be struck by an illness so insidious, so devastating, that it would cause him to become a shadow of the person I knew, a ghost-image of the man I married.

I had a dream, created during my idealistic teenage years.  I would marry a man who would sweep me off my feet, take me away from the mundane routine of my everyday life.

And then I met Rob.  He was introduced to me by mutual friends at a New Years party, 1987 into 1988.  I went to the party with much reluctance.  I had given up on the opposite sex.  My previous experiences involved a frat boy whose alliances and dedication to his fellow "brothers" carried more weight than his commitment to me; then there was the intelligent, sexy, straight A double major guy: Speech Comm and English, with a 4.0 average and a girlfriend at home.   And then I suffered the terror of being stalked by a scary upperclassman for 3 years.   I had given up on guys, seriously giving consideration to joining  a, really.   I had seriously considered becoming a nun. 

I had been hurt, stalked, harassed, and felt that no man could be the one for me.  Even when I met Rob, I was afraid that he would be a problem, simply  because he had expressed interest in me.  Ultimately, it took 3 weeks for me to decide to go out with him.

The Rob I met and dated and ultimately married, is not that far removed from the Rob I live with now.  Still strong and handsome, he stirs such emotion in me.  However, he has lost the ambition and drive to succeed that "my" Rob had once had.  The idea so overwhelms him, that he cannot even mow the lawn, never mind getting back into the grind of the workforce.

For the first time in our married life,  we live in a neighborhood where image counts.  If it wasn't for the kindness and generosity of our recently hired landscaper, (thanks Norma and Josh!), we would  be in such a state of desperation.  There is only so much I can do on my own.  I can work to save lives, but I cannot restore a lawn!

I mourn the loss of the man I married.  I love the man I live with now, he is more compassionate and empathetic than he was prior to his illness.  But the carefree, easy-going person I married is gone.  And that makes me very sad.

Monday, June 27, 2011

London or bust...part 2

So, a month ago I sat alone at a pub in Leicester Square.  I enjoyed, perhaps, the best glass of wine I've ever had.  I had a little time before the curtain went up for "Much Ado About Nothing" at the Wyndham Theatre.   It had rained on and off most of the day, culminating in a thunderstorm.  Anyone who knows me knows I hate thunderstorms.  I am terrified by lightning, convinced that its sole purpose is to kill me.

Late in the afternoon, prior to my trek to the Leicester Square pub, I walked alone across Green Park, adjacent to Buckingham Palace, while pouring rain and lightning danced around me.  I walked briskly,  all the while chanting to myself "I am not going to get struck by lightning and die in London."  Finally, I made it back to my hotel, while the storm continued.

I was soaked from head to toe, and had about an hour to get put back together and out again to make it to the theatre by 7:30.   By the time I was ready to head out again, the rain had stopped.  The sun poked through the remaining storm clouds.  By the time I got to the pub, the late day sunlight was streaming down, reflecting off the wet streets.

And so I found a seat outdoors at a pub, with a name I now cannot recall.  I took a deep breath, and a long, slow, deliberate sip of wine.  I had made it through the storm, and now all was calm.  I was at peace,  happy.  It was a moment of such simple pleasure, and yet the kind of moment that is  so elusive in my real life.

I keep asking myself what I have gained by traveling to London on my own.  At the very least, I have found my "happy place".  When everything seems to be falling apart around me, the mundane routine exacerbated by frustration, I think back to that moment at the pub.  I take a deep breath and remember that I  traveled on my own, I made my way through a foreign city on my own.  I am strong and brave, and will never be the same again.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

London or bust...

So it's been a almost a month since I went to London on my own.  Those four days were absolutely life-changing.  I traversed the ocean on my own, set foot on foreign soil on my own.   I toured the city without a map, and didn't get lost.  I ate alone in restaurants, I went to the theatre by myself.   I shopped.  I rode the subway.  I walked in the rain without an umbrella.  I did all of this on my own, yet I wasn't lonely.    I was in my city--London.   I felt so at ease over those four days.  I was my own person.  Not someone's wife, not someone's mother.  Not a daughter, not a sister, not a nurse.  Just...myself.  So how can I come home and be the same person I was before I left?

I have struggled with that question everyday since I returned.  The minute I got off the plane, I was thrust right back into all those roles.  I had responsibilities, a job, chores that I had to attend to.   I was no longer my own person, but the person that had to be there for others.  I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, sister, nurse.  There's no way around that life.  I spend a great deal of time meeting the needs of others--it is an inherent part of the role I play.  Caretaker, problem solver, healer.  I love that part of my life, but that's the point.  It's only a "part" of my life.  But what about the other part?  The part that loves culture and books,  and British television and sci-fi, and fine art and the ballet.   How do I feed that part of my soul?  It's not as easy as it probably should be.