When I met my husband I knew that he was going to be the man I married. He was everything I was looking for in a man.
He treated me like a lady. He lit my cigarettes, he held car doors, he opened building doors, he held me by my elbow or at the small of my back. He told me how beautiful I was, even though that is not exactly true.
He was wonderful and fun and funny. He was a joy to be around. When he asked me to marry him I did not hesitate. We will be married 19 years this June.
The only drawback to our marriage is that he is 18 years older that I am. It was not so bad at first but now I fear he is making me old before my time.
See, he retired in July of 1999 and had sextuple bi-pass surgery in January of 2000. He has never fully recovered. He turned old over night. He lost all interest in any hobby he ever had. Five years ago he developed a panic disorder called agoraphobia.
Agoraphobia is when the stricken person can not leave their home. If they try they have a panic attack of the biggest proportions imaginable. An agoraphobic is afraid of people, places and things.
He is a lucky one though because he can at least go out in the yard. But certainly not any farther than the end of the driveway. He has to be heavily medicated to just go 1 mile away from home. Forget about going out to dinner, or to a movie, or even grocery shopping. He has given up his driving privileges.
He sleeps most of the day, which has nothing to do with the agoraphobia but his state of mind. He has told me that he is waiting to die. It dawned on me the other day what is going on with him. His cardiologist told him that a heart bi-pass usually lasts 10 years and then some sort of other heart treatment needs to be done. His 10 years are up next January.
He is also now starting to show symptoms of dementia. He can't remember words, he can't remember why he went into a room, his language has gotten filthy, his grooming has deteriorated. These are just the beginning signs I fear.
We have had a rough and stormy winter. I reached my breaking point with him. I miss going to places with my fun loving husband. I hate feeling like I am the only responsible one in the relationship. Paying the bills are my sole responsibility because he could care less, his words not mine. I cracked and blew up.
I told him that I refused to become like him. That I could not stay home, that I am only 53 years old and have a lot of living left to do. I told him that I wanted him to do that living with me but if he couldn't I would find someone who would. He said that was OK by him. That just deflated me.
I knew then that I didn't love him any longer. But I have been told by people who know me better than I know myself that I may not be "in love" with him but that I still do love him. They know this because if I didn't love him I would be gone from here in a minute.
So, even though he is old now and I am not, I am staying put. I will find other ways to deal with his problems. I imagine that there are support groups out there. I am going to take some non credit college classes in the fall.
Why? I guess because as the marriage vow says this is the sickness part.