Last night I was in the recovery room as my husband was coming out of anesthesia, he looked at me and smiled and said “I am glad. We have been through so much and we are still here”. And it’s true. We have been married for a little over 10 years and known each other for 12. Sometimes, we joke that we have been through more in our short time together than most couples in years of marriage.
I was thinking about that last night. We have been through quite a bit. Literally, a year after we met my father died suddenly and unexpectedly. I was left with a mother who was in a financial mess, had dementia, though I wasn’t acknowledging it at the time and an abusive brother. A week after my father’s funeral, my husband (we were not married at the time) was arrested at my mother’s house on old charges. This was in the beginning of November. In mid-December, I went for my mammogram and they found a lump in my breast. He was still in jail, my mother was shattered. It was a false alarm. T was released from jail at the end of January. My brother was taking things from my mother and making abusive and threatening calls to me. I obtained a temporary stay away. On April 1,(not an April fool’s as some would have it) I was told my job was being terminated. I was relieved but I was financially responsible for my mother’s household. T and I started going in and out of court fighting with his ex-wife over myriad issues. Little did I know that I was about to become a regular at court, so much so that the court officers recognized me! We married. I got another job, a very good one as corporate training manager for a major retailer. During this period, my mother would call with problems and I would ask her if my brother couldn’t help and I was told “oh but your brother has a job and works” Uh, he’s a truck driver? This put enormous strain on us. My previous (and current employer) called and asked if I could do a project, so I started doing two jobs. The day after I told them, it was too much for me, the retailer filed for bankruptcy and I lost my job – two in a year! My friends teased me that I was off for the summer again!
Nightmare time. I called my mother in the morning and she didn’t answer. Drove over thinking she had left phone off hook or was confused because by now she had been diagnosed with dementia. I found her on the floor with a broken leg. Due to different factors, they couldn’t operate on her for three days nor give her painkillers. My brother went to work. Husband stayed with me as they operated. Brother threatened me in nursing home when she was in recovery and nursing home went along with him. Husband was besides himself. We had to sell my mother’s house whilst she was alive. You know how hard it is to dissolve your childhood home after your parents die? Picture doing it when one of them is still alive.
The summer I lost my first job was when I had my first incident. I was walking on the beach boardwalk and couldn’t. Fast forward a couple of years and continued odd incidents and the doctors started. I received my diagnosis after an inconclusive spinal tap. Like my husband told them, when you don’t know what to call it, this is what you call it.
After I sold my mother’s house we bought a house less than 6 months later. See, the pattern, stress and more stress. And boys totaling cars. The youngest did two in 24 hours. And boys in emergency rooms…
My mum died. What is important is that we had not been together that long. We were still in court with his ex and now also because of our issues. My husband has always had alcohol problems. My diagnosis, death and finances set him off and we entered a series of rehab and relapse.
He was diagnosed with prostate cancer. There were complications.
Everyone told me from when our problems started that I needed to cut my losses. The courts, the counselors, my friends said the odds were clearly against us. And through out all of this, I had this vision of the two of us walking out together, arm in arm, beating the odds. Well, it took longer than I thought or wanted. We came through.
The last time he had an operation, I walked out on him. Yesterday, I was there the whole time. We are truly partners.
So, visions. I told T last week that just as I had this vision of the two of us beating the odds, I am picturing myself walking again, arm in arm on the beach, wearing the clothes I love, dancing, doing the things I love, no limits, no boundaries. It’s just this vision that I am keeping in my head.
Valentines and visions. Love. I believe that is the root of what brought us through. And I am going to make my new vision real. It may not happen when I want it to happen but it will happen.