Barry Might Be Gradually Leaving

As any reader knows, I have been in the process of letting go of everything: control, timing, my husband’s health, getting things done to the house, the weather, my friends’ expectations, etc. Sometimes, however, I am unsure that I have something to even let go of. It is kind of like that Zen saying, “If you understand things, things are just as they are. If you do not understand things, things are just as they are.”

Watching TV with my husband has been increasing weird lately. Sometimes, especially when watching political stuff (or watching people touch Donald Trump’s hair, seriously), I speak my mind regarding the stupidity of the culture we live in. And Barry says…nothing. At first, I thought maybe he just didn’t have a response to my opinion. But then I noticed he wasn’t responding to many of things I was saying. The other day, I gave him a fabulous opening. I mentioned that I could see the neighbor’s black cat outside. He loves to mock cats. I played the straight man, waiting for some snideness to ensue and…nothing. (Chirping crickets.)

It is a little like being married to someone in a coma. I speak and no one answers. Because of the Huntington’s, I am left with some of the same questions. Does he hear me? Does he understand what I am saying? But, since his eyes are open, I also wonder, “Does he just not care about what I am saying? Is he deliberately ignoring me?”

Then I wondered if he is starting to let go of life. I have always wondered what he was holding onto.

So I tried an experiment. I stopped talking other than utilitarian stuff, such as his preference of this over that or what he wants regarding something. Within 2 days (48 hours!), he went to bed earlier than normal, 10:30 as opposed to 11, which is his norm. That doesn’t sound like a huge difference, but I have never known him to go to bed early for any reason. I’ve even encouraged him to do so, but he was always hesitant to go to bed early for fear of getting up too early. So this is noteworthy, to say the least.

Today, we went to Mitchell’s seafood place for his birthday. I was feeling a little depressed, about feeling like I am losing my relationship with him. I actually shed a couple of tears while we were there. As near as I can tell, he did not notice.

OMG. He did not notice. Okay. The lighting wasn’t that great, but we’re talking about the middle of the day with ample windows to illuminate everything. I am in this marriage by myself. I can no longer pretend this is a mutual relationship.

I have tried for the past few years to keep some sort of relationship going with him. It has been hard and not to be simply assumed. His ability to understand things is highly questionable. When I talked to him about the potential futility of getting a nodular biopsy performed on his thyroid, his response was, “I’ll get a biopsy for you!” So not the point. His heart is generous, but his mind is just not there anymore. I have been trying to keep his brain engaged by talking to him. Basically, I am stopping that effort because it seems a little late for that now.

I feel like his spirit is letting go. It is not mine to hold on to.

What I cannot do is to pretend that there is a real relationship there anymore. I have to move on. I have to prepare myself and the house. I suck at pretense. I’ve had my lifetime fill. Things are just as they are.

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About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

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