Saturday, March 28, 2009

Not in love but loving

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.


  1. Life is full of change, isn't it? Take care...

  2. Whomever wrote the "in sickness and health" part of marriage vows probably did so as a probably sounded good...had a good cadence and helped along the anaphora of all the opposites. I'm sure, however, that writer of vows didn't know how painful it would be for some to be on the reality side of those dichotomies. Bless your heart for all you've gone through and for all you will go through.

  3. I was really moved by your piece. I have nothing else to add.

  4. You are a strong woman and your post moved me so much...

  5. Indeed this is the 'sickness and health' part, isn't it? And your husband's sickness is 50% mind and 50% body. It's very sad when it happens this way, especially in a marriage with a big age gap.

    We have had friends in your position. One couple in particular, I think of right now. He was a charming old gentleman who had developed extreme fear following an accident and not only did he not ever go out, but he didn't want her to, either. So sad.

    I have no words of wisdom, but I admire your strength.

  6. Came across your blog on One Minute Writer.

    You are going through a tough time. You seem to have found the right attitude though, so just bear with your new plans of college and to stick by your husband's side.

    And concentrate on living in the now.

    Good luck!

  7. Thank you for making your thoughts and feelings so real to us. Its hard to share your innermost feelings and you did it so beautifully. I read a book once called "Lord, Change Me", and it did. It helped me to see things differently, and often times people think my views are a bit off, or different, and perhaps they are because I try my best to listen to what God is saying to me, not Society.

    Its a different way of looking at life, and I struggle with it daily because I really want to fit in, take the easy way out, or simply be selfish and think only about myself. And everyone around you has an opinion. But his I know. God is constant, he is consistent, and he will never leave you to deal with this on your own. You just have to seek him.

    Its hard not to take the negatives personally. I remind myself that the person is not talking/speaking from a healthy mind, or healthy place. You can't rationalize with someone who is dealing with dementia, or depression, or alcoholism. Its not possible. Whether you choose to stay or to go, God is with you, and if you seek him you will find him and have the peace that you need to get through this.

  8. Thank-you for sharing this intimate piece of your life.
    Written so well because its from your heart.