Saturday, June 4, 2016

I'm not cut out to be the cool cucumber

It's been an odd, odd day.  Quiet.  It's weird.  Time stands still and yet it flies right by.

Luther seems so fragile.  Really tired.  He doesn't eat much.

I've given up trying to be anything but the person who's with him 24/7, keeping him comfy.  No more cheerleading and even more to the point, no more bitchy nurse.

I just can't spend this time fighting with him to do stuff or eat or use his bi-pap.  It makes us both crazy.

My husband is dying.  This isn't supposed to be my life.

It's too hard.  I can't stop crying tonight but I do it alone.  Early on with this disease, Luther and I used to cry together.  It felt bonding.  Now, he doesn't want it - this grief.  He can't bear the weight of it.

I was out earlier this week with a friend.  We went out to dinner, went to a play.  I had this elusive "me" time.  Hard to get.  I know it's necessary.  I had fun but there was this underlying thing - like this cloud over me.  It's hard to explain.  (PS - thanks to my sister for staying with Luther... it's hard to find a "sitter")

I go back and forth between wanting a normal life - spending time with friends, getting away for a couple hours vs. wanting to be with Luther all the time.  Our time is limited.  One year?  Three? Doesn't matter if it's ten.  He's sick.  He doesn't feel good.  He doesn't really trust the outside world anymore.  I'm his connection to it.  I want to make him feel better or at least feel like our world here at home is a good one.  I don't want to be without him.  I don't want him to leave me.  I just found him.

This disease is awful. It's this slow, awful, relentless stripping away of everything.  The life we thought we had together.  The ability to touch, hug, hold hands.  He can't move. Everything hurts.

This constant weight of grief feels unbearable tonight.  Generally, it simmers just below the surface and I can keep the lid on it pretty tight.  Tonight, it's just too much.

I think part of the hurt is a realization Luther's changed.  His personality is different.  Remember I used to tell you what a cool cucumber he was?  My anchor.  Whenever I started feeling flighty or anxious, he kept my feet planted on the ground.  We were a pretty good fit.

Now, he seems to be turning inward.  I can't say selfish because it's not exactly that.  I just don't think he can see outside himself sometimes.  When I got home from dinner and a play with my friend earlier this week, he was so consumed with going outside to smoke, getting out of his blanket, getting his back itched, he wanted a snack.  I didn't fit in to the equation as his wife.  I was the person who was going to light his cigarette, feed him, put on his slippers, help him pee.

We don't have that husband/wife stuff anymore.  We don't smooch, we can't hold hands.  When I touch him, it's always in nurse mode.  We don't talk like we used to.  There's nothing to talk about except what's on tv, where he itches, what can he eat?

I grieve the loss of my best friend.  The loss of intimacy.  I miss my super smart, super calm and collected husband.  I wasn't cut out to be the cool cucumber.

I know tomorrow, in the light of day, I'll be ok.  I think I've done a pretty good job these last two years of being a good caregiver.  A caregiver cuke.

It's 3 a.m. - I can hear his wheelchair beeping - he's awake and restless.  I hate that he can't sleep through the night.  I better go see what's up.

Added later:  He was awake.  Needed his legs scratched.  His shin bones felt like they could cut me, he's so skinny.  After lots of itching, it was time to go outside and smoke.  It's 3:30 in the morning.

This isn't how things are supposed to be.

EDITED.  THE NEXT MORNING (as in today)  Ed is feeling really perky!  Up at 6 a.m., eating, chatting.  Yay!


  1. Lynn, Don't sell yourself short. I am a friend of Ann's and found this blog through her facebook postings. You are more than any of us could hope to be. You are a more than a cool cucumber. It is hard to experience grief before the "death" has actually occurred. The dark middle of the nights seem to be the worst. Thank goodness the sun is out today!