Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Martyr for My Love for You

     You know how sometimes I write those posts that are kind of uncomfortable to read because they have the potential to make you think thoughts you really wish you weren't? This is going to be one of those posts. We got the news back from the eye doctor that the hole in my husband's eyeball has closed up and the pressure is good, though not quite back at normal levels. He didn't get an infection in the eyeball and the one that was on the eyeball is almost completely gone. These are all good things and believe me, I will be so damn glad when this ocular drama is done with. (In all likelihood, though, it's only a temporary reprieve. I'm sure he'll spring a leak somewhere else by month's end.) It was in the past few weeks, while all this was going on, that I realized something about myself that I was really not okay with.

     The thought doesn't live in my head all the time, or maybe it does and it's just very quiet; I don't know. The thing is, once in a very great while, there is a disgusting little voice that wonders when I'm going to get the reward that's due me for putting up with my husband's disorder and everything that comes with it. I KNOW! It's awful, I'm awful, horrible, not worthy of being married to him, and anything else you can think of to hurl at me. I'd rather you didn't, though, because nothing you can think of can possibly be worse that what I think of myself in those rare moments when that voice, that thought, breaks through and makes itself heard.

     I have to point out, though, the whole point of this blog is to hopefully provide a place where others like me can come to see that they're not alone. Maybe a dialogue will develop, maybe it won't, but I have to put my thoughts out there to be read because maybe even that, just seeing that someone else has had the same troubles/ugly thoughts that no one wants to acknowledge, will provide some sort of relief to someone in pain. If I have to be the one that takes the first step and bears the brunt of the beating because of it, so be it. I don't want anyone to wrestle with their thoughts about this stuff in supposed solitude the way I often have and that's why I've got strength enough to put this out there.

     Wow. Now that I've gotten the world's longest disclaimer out of the way, I can clarify exactly what the hell I'm talking about. I do a lot for my husband that most wives don't have to do for their spouses and by the time all's said and done, there will be many more items that I can check off the list of things I've done, but wish I didn't have to. I have to make a lot of decisions that most spouses don't, and we're not even into the hard stuff yet. My day-to-day is, as I've said multiple times, just a little bit harder than it should be because of my husband's illness and it's only going to get harder. I did not, however, choose this life. Some would argue with that statement, saying that I did choose it when I married my husband, that I knew what it was going to be when I said "yes" and I could've walked away. No, I couldn't have.

     I believe, one thousand percent, that my husband is the person I was put on this earth to be with. There is no one else for me and therefore I never had a choice in being with him or not. I tried to force fate's hand, go in another direction (I was married once before) and it ended badly. I'm not inclined to screw around with powers larger than myself again, so I followed whatever it was that led me to him and accepted what was. The love of my life came with a bonus prize, in the form of Marfan's Syndrome. (I know, I never got the toy I wanted in my Happy Meals, either.) I didn't care about it when we first started and I care less now, because I'm just so grateful to have him, but it's still a presence in our marriage that I can't ignore, obviously.

     So while I can be on-my-knees thankful that I got everything I ever wanted with him, I've discovered that I still have that despicable little voice that pops up out of the blue that thinks fate should've compensated me somehow for giving me a broken one. And yeah, I KNOW how ugly that sounds, but I doubt very seriously I am the first or only one to have such a thought. You know, when you think, "Well, couldn't you at least have helped me/him find a better job so we didn't struggle so hard financially?" Or, "Couldn't he at least have been from my home region, so I wasn't constantly trying to figure out how to get him back to North Carolina to visit his family and friends?" It's stuff like that, things that would make it not quite so hard. And no, I'm not entirely sure who the "you" I'm talking to is.

      As much guilt as my husband carries around for "burdening" me with his presence, I carry around equal amounts of self-doubt (and maybe a touch of self-loathing) for not being the perfectly supportive wife. I always think I could be doing it better, but the reality is that I'm doing the best I can . I have no map to go off of, not even someone to guide me, because who the hell do I know who's in the same position that I could talk to? No one, is the answer to that question.

     The nasty little martyr voice, the one that says, "I should get something for this," is a very human voice and since I have no intentions of abandoning my humanity at any point, it'll always be there. I guess what I really have to figure out how to do is not hate myself when it pipes up. As assured as I am of my humanity, I feel like I should be more than that when it comes to taking care of my husband. Unrealistic, damn-near impossible though that may be, I still can't shake that line of thinking. I'm trying, because it only gets me into trouble when I fail and subsequently lash out at my husband for my own failings. It's a vicious circle and one of my own making. Now accepting suggestions as to how to get out of it...


Anonymous said...

I think you hit the nail on the head when you say this is a human feeling. When my brother was sick, part of me wondered if there was going to be some huge payoff in the end. What was God (He's my "you" in this scenario) going to do to compensate. And then my brother died, and I sat there wondering what kind of giant blessing I was going to get.

Deep down, I felt like a jerk. Like, how could I expect anything to be about me when there was so much more going on with my brother? But then, I also caught myself saying what you've said before: it has to be about you somewhat. Because sometimes it feels like all you get is to be the "strong one," the "support," and then the one who should be sad or angry or happy or whatever because others project what they think we "should" be feeling onto us.

How I see it is that, yes, we are going to feel that way because of our humanity, but stuff like this, where you talk about it, helps. I guess I just think that you (we) are allowed to feel this way, so long as we try to do better, that's the most we can hold ourselves to. I think maybe the compensation sometimes is simply knowing we were given the gift of that amazing, broken, beautiful person to love. It may show the worst of life sometimes, but sometimes it shows you the best parts too. (CAL)

Kristin Lee said...

I could not agree more. I want to do better as a person, I'm always (well, most of the time) trying to be that better person, but I really feel that nasty little voice will always be there. It's just the nature of humanity.