Last week found me a visitor to a mental health facility, leaving him there each evening, heading downcast out to my car and my lonely drive home. This place just a few miles from our house, in the foothills just south of the city in an unremarkable single story building where I chose to allow supposed professional responsible human beings to rescue my ailing partner from the shackles of long term anxiety and depression. Leaving without him broke my heart and provided not a whit of relief as a few close friends hoped a “break” in the action might provide. His pained eyes looking upon my sadness as yet another judgement to come down upon me. Another multi-year term added to the #lifer hashtag slung around my neck like an albatross, another petal of hope plucked from the near bare flower of love for him in my heart.
All the while I possess the knowledge that I likely won’t live to see our future through to a plausibly happy conclusion. Even though this love is over 10 years in the making, cruel editors mangled the melodramatic script and the film itself in the can, spliced together and the story arc mangled under the cruel cinematographer’s blade. The final reels go to the studio with all of my scenes cut and lying on the floor.
I hoped for relief at the end of a long week spent alone over the course of treatment, no sparkle reappears in his eyes yet and his happiness not yet resuscitated. It takes the Zoloft about four weeks to help much.
But I’m mostly alone these days. Yearning for my partner’s support and the kind of tender and caring love many of which many metastatic sisters write and blog about, I now look over at him, home in bed, and find one whose dark, inky emotions remain locked away inside his heart, like stars behind clouds on a black night canvas. He lays there disengaged, brooding silently, interrupted by long bouts of sighing. Inside him rises the simmering anger of so many men who find themselves bitten by but embarrassed to speak of such disorders.
Sometimes, it’s just frustratingly difficult to hide my outrage for being his care giver for over three years, of which this past 18 months one of the most heart wrenching trials of my life. My god – this and cancer, too? Fuck. What more can one do but look up and ask the ceiling over our bed long and winding questions about the treacherous nature of spiritual meaning, self-worth, and the relative value of a life. I then break from the summation of my existential questioning of cogito ergo… to find an email in my inbox from someone who reaches out to me to thank me. Grateful for my honest approach to my blog posts they type out a note that reminds me of why it’s worth it to know that it’s my responsibility as a wife to make a decision to help alleviate my partner’s suffering and try to revive him, to ask the wide, wise universe that his soul be returned his body.
He, too, wants only the same for me – happiness – yet indicates we may not stay together. For fuck’s sake — why now and you have got to be joking (the only sentences I can form without punching him in the face.) These trivialities came to him exactly how? On what plane of existence does he live in that this would even be okay? Not even by a substandard, unintelligent alien culture of unfeeling assholes would this rank as logical or even just “fine.”
Then, with that comment lingering in the air as the gas he passed as he falls asleep yet again and I’m left to wonder alone, naturally, what fresh hell might await me tomorrow?
Hopefully a new sandwich called “fresh hell” from the deli and no more than that.