Archive | June 2016

Making Sacrifices

I feel a lot better.

I talked to my realtor. She keeps asking me how much I owe. So I took 10k out of the credit union and put it towards the house. It makes no sense to have “moving money” if one can never actually move. I will continue dropping the price until it sells. Period.

For the first time in years, I am not waiting for Barry to die. For the past few years, Barry would have some weird medical ailment that would make me think he was on his last legs. Out of courtesy and compassion, I would put off the urgency of selling the house. I was staying in Michigan waiting for him to die. Seriously morbid.

No more. He has a medical issue he doesn’t seem interested in addressing or talking about. He’s had a cough for a year now and I’ve asked him repeatedly if he wants cough syrup or anything and he always says he’s fine. OK. I don’t care if he hacks up a lung; if someone offers more than 20k for the house, we are taking it. End of discussion. I have POA over him. I don’t need his signature or permission. I’ve put my life on hold for years. That’s over because the only things that have died in the past few years are my hopes, dreams, and desire to live.

The irony is that, once the house sells, I will be able to take better care of him. All the time and energy I now devote to the house could go towards Barry. Weeding, loping, etc., are sucking up my time and energy. I’ll still end up putting him in a nursing home in a few years, but this could (literally) buy us some time together before I cannot take care of him anymore.

I am now looking online for apartments in different areas and decent hospital systems.

What is this strange feeling I am having? Could it be optimism? Or even hope?

My Savings Might Bite It

I’ve gone over the edge again, but that’s what happens when your life is a living Chinese water torture test.

Reality: I cannot take care of myself,Barry, and the house simultaneously and adequately.

I have been trying to keep our savings for when I move. (I’ve even thought of it as my “moving money.”)

The above two sentences are contradictory in my world. I did not fully understand that until this past week. What good is “moving money” if I never make it out of Michigan?

Last year, I started to understand that I simply could not take care of Barry and the house. Then I got an iffy mammogram. Then my car started having problems. Then someone shot a BB in my living room window. Then Barry had blood in his urine and a high PSA. Then someone shot a bullet into my living room window. Last year was simply bizarro.

Trauma forced me to cope and just shove all those feelings aside while I dealt with the practical details of life. This year has been relatively calm and trauma-free.

So all those feelings I could not process last year all rose to the surface gradually this year, climaxing the past couple of weeks.

Something (besides my sanity!) has got to give. If I cannot take care of myself, Barry, and the house, something has got to go. And I have spent way too many nights hoping to fall asleep and not wake up. What variable do I have any control over? The price of my house. So I called my realtor and I am lowering the price by four thousand. If no interest is shown by September, I will lower it another four thousand. And I will keep doing that until it sells. I don’t care if we have to charge the closing fees on our credit card. No kidding.

My instincts were right: something needs to die. And it may be my ultimate symbol of security, the money in the bank. I have been trying to do everything in a logical, responsible, sensible order, and keep Barry as comfortable as possible in the meantime.  Not working.

Whenever change is called for, some sacrifice has to be made. That’s why those college advertisements piss me off so bad. You know the ones. “Get a degree in your spare time.” Uh, no. Education is a major commitment and if you are working full-time and going to school, you will have no life outside of work and school for the duration of your education. To imply otherwise is the height of false advertising. You have to kiss your life good-bye until commencement. That’s how it works. Any change you desire requires sacrifice. Period. I may need to sacrifice our savings. What is getting out from under this house worth to me? What sacrifice am I willing to make? Based on my feelings this past year, the complete emptying of our savings would be a small sacrifice indeed.

A Living Death

After my difficult conversation with Barry last week, I told a friend about it. Mistake. Of course, like most people (and even myself to some degree), she disapproves. There’s the part of me that agrees with her and the part of me that has simply stopped caring. Whatever.

About a week ago, I saw an episode of The Dead Files, a show about hauntings and the paranormal. There were some unhappy ghosts on a property being investigated. It turns out that there was this old man who had dementia. His wife took care of him until she died. Then his daughter took care of him until she killed herself. Not a joke. He outlived his caretakers. (This turns out to be far less rare than I ever imagined.) These were some miserable ghosts, creating trouble for the current living residents.

I don’t want to be an unhappy ghost.

I’ve been praying for over a year that one of us would die so this phase of my life would be over. I am so tired emotionally and physically. Am I just waiting for Barry to die? Well…I am just waiting for either one of us to die. I am simply being honest with myself. I would prefer that Barry would go first, but I am willing to do so, given the opportunity. I fall asleep hoping not to wake up. I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed for an end to this, any end. Prayer is not impressive, results-wise. I also don’t want the negative karma that would ensue from me taking action against Barry. I don’t want another round of this.

What I am trying to do now, to some small degree, is to investigate ways of ditching the house. I am willing to take the hit to my credit. I would prefer not to destroy my credit, but I’ll see what’s out there, because the issue is trying to take care of Barry and the house. I am trying to find things to do to prepare myself for being single again someday. I don’t want to continue to wish I was dead.

I feel like I am fighting for authenticity in a culture that rewards subservient silence. Solution: Don’t be stupid enough to tell people how I really feel. Someday, I’ll learn. I have to be willing to walk away from everyone and everything that is not leaving Michigan with me. Learning how to live without people’s approval is hard. I’ve done it before and I can do it again. Only now, I have an education and have more confidence in my ability to support myself. I have less fear of ending up living under a bridge. I am coming around full-circle now to when I was in my early twenties, but with more skills.

Clarity is easy when you are honest with yourself. Confusion is inevitable when you pretend to feel things you don’t or pretend not to feel things you do. When part of me stopped caring, it was like the Red Sea parted. The clarity was simply there. That clarity is far more precious than life itself. Walking around confused and wishing I were dead is very close to zero quality of life. It is a living death, a zombie life. My inability to repress my feelings anymore is like the noon sun evaporating the morning fog. No effort is required. Things just are what they are, only now I can see them better.



Difficult Conversation

I had a tough conversation with Barry this morning.

I know he does not want to leave Michigan, so I’ve been contemplating how to leave without him. Do I need a divorce? Can we just be separated? How do I go about getting half his Social Security and pension? (It shouldn’t be all that problematic, seeing as I already have general durable POA over him).

When I started the conversation, he made it clear he wanted to be with me. I explained that I am not capable of taking care of both him and the house; that’s why the house has been on the market for a year. Taking care of him is no fun, but doing that plus dealing with the house is not possible. I am falling further behind all the time. I truly suck as a homeowner.

I also explained that, as his health goes downhill, my ability to take care of him does not automatically improve. I told him that the only reason we were still in Michigan is because I didn’t think he would live this long. If I had suspected even a tiny bit that we would still be here in 2016, I would have walked away from the house and declared bankruptcy. We would be halfway towards restoring our credit by now. I told him that in a couple of years, we will not be together anyhow. Either he will be dead or in a nursing home and I will be trying to visit him when I can. I reminded him of his dad’s choice to die the day before entering a nursing home. The longer and harder he holds on, the less he is going to like the choices I will be forced to make.

I feel like a horrible person, but also greatly relieved. I feel like, at the very least, I am not making these plans and then springing them on him from out of nowhere. Also, I don’t want to be suicidal and, with no light at the end of the tunnel, I have been going to bed lately hoping not to wake up. This is a walking, talking death and I just don’t have much to lose anymore.

Knowing What No Longer Works

I was talking to a friend yesterday about how I have done absolutely everything I know to do to move my life forward. I have prepared as much as possible. I have looked logically at my situation and done that which is rational. And I am still stuck.

I also found myself praising one of my flakier New-Age-y friends because of her intuition. Why? Because she is everything  I am not: intuitive, free-spirited, highly spiritual, etc. She has a tender heart and a very sweet spirit.

I realized that I have come to the end of my logical rope. And so I am looking for alternatives. Even though I would likely not follow all of her advice, she still possesses what I call the “admiration factor”, that intangible quality where you look at someone and say to yourself, “I want what they have. What do I need to do to get it?”

I have forsaken my feelings so I can follow logic and reason. Part of that comes from my church years. If you go to many churches long enough, you will never trust your feelings and probably never figure out what they are in the first place. Welcome to my world.

But last year, my life stopped. I realized that I was stuck taking care of a house and a husband indefinitely and not knowing the basics of home-ownership or caretaking. Everything came to a screeching halt and I was left feeling overwhelmed and befuddled. What the _____ just happened? It all happened so gradually that I didn’t see it coming. I was in need of some serious help.

And I found out the hard way who was there for me when the chips were down versus those who just said they would be but had no real assistance to give.

My life was too much and  I had no spare energy to devote to social pleasantries. The pretense was over. I found myself saying, “I am so done with _____” all the time.

That granted me a level of freedom I had never had.

Now I can explore my feelings freely. I have done all that I know to do logically and now it is time for me to explore all those socially unacceptable feelings. Now that I no longer attend a feeling-negating church and can learn to trust my feelings (because they are a million times more reliable than any of the crap theology I was indoctrinated in), my life can expand and become infinitely more interesting. It’ll be interesting to see where this leads.

The Sound of Silence

I have been reading lately different books about silence and they all talk about “the sound of silence.” It is interesting. One described it as a low hum.

I don’t hear it. My ears have always rung. I was told as a teenager that it was due to jaw stress and grinding my teeth. I wear a bite plate at night.

When there is quiet, which is basically after Barry has gone to bed and the TV is off, I notice it more. I use the noise as a reminder to get things done and that everything is temporary and changing. The hum of change or movement or whatever. When my ears stop ringing, it will likely be because I am six feet under. I sometimes wonder if I am obsessive just so I can listen to my mind instead of my ears.

It is part of why meditation has always been hard for me. Yes, I can meditate, but I never truly experience silence. Being out in nature changes nothing. It’s like the old saying, “Wherever you go, there you are.” I always take my ears with me. It’s one of those things I accept and try to work around, simply because I have no choice. Oh well.

My Real Desire

I’ve been looking for things to glue onto my dream board. During my search, something struck me: nothing I’m looking for or interested in involves my fellow human beings.

A week ago, I went to a friend’s place. She left to go help another friend and left me alone with her cat. I finished the coffee and pet the cat until it was almost comatose. She was sleeping on the floor when I left.

However, while there alone with the cat, it was dark and quiet. The TV was not on. There was pure silence. It felt soooooooo good. I realized that I never get that because Barry always has the TV on. To be alone (no humans) in the silence was wonderful.

That’s what I want and need: silence and solitude. Of course, my ability to obtain those things is limited, but at least I know what the goal is now.

I can get it by spraying chemicals on my driveway or working on a project for the women’s center on my computer and letting Barry watch TV.

I realized that my confusion was simply a mask for the knowledge that what I truly want is not socially acceptable in my current situation. It is easier to believe that I just don’t know what I want than to be honest with myself. I’m sure that if you had asked Jeffrey Dahmer what he wanted when he was twenty, he probably wouldn’t have said, “What I really want  to do is to eat people.” He either would have lied to you (assuming he knew the truth) or he would have lied to himself, living in confusion. Women, in particular, live lives of confusion, not because we don’t know what we want so much as that there is no social support for the level of intra-personal honesty that men get praised for. Women are not honest with ourselves because it is unrewarded and sometimes unsafe to be so.

My single friends would be mystified because they are alone by default. They have to seek out companionship. To me, solitude is a luxury single people take completely for granted. Perhaps ten years after Barry dies, I will feel differently. However, even if he died tomorrow, I would probably still spend more of my adult years married than single. This November will be our 28th anniversary and I am 48 now. You can see how loneliness is not on my radar this minute.

It’s weird because I feel free now. Not that anything has changed, but I, at least, know what I want.