This morning I sat down, stared at the screen and thought; it has been awhile, I need to write. Hmm? What will I write about today? Maybe something funny, or pertaining to recently turning 50? I certainly do not wish to write anything sad. After reading a few of my last postings, I found my writings to be a tad whiney, or heavy. People certainly must be tired of the same old story.
Then as paragraph after paragraph littered the screen only to be erased by the mighty stroke of a delete button it came to pass I was trying too hard. So I asked myself; Self, why haven’t you written in a while?
And that’s where this posting truly began.
Betty, why haven’t you been writing?
The answer comes from a conversation openly held in the day room of a busy firehouse. Sitting in my recliner listening to others and their crazy busy lives. Camping trips, play dates with friends for themselves and their children. Fantastic vacations or simple evenings at home surrounded by family. Listening to life moving on as it should.
What was my answer?
Because I can’t…
Every time I think about writing lately, I stare at the screen and from the darkest bowels of my inner thinking machine a voice rises above all conscious thought and whispers; you can’t.
Getting up in the morning is a struggle. Oh I received 6-8 hours of sleep, yet the moment I must rise a fight with my inner voice arises. I can’t is all I hear. I may wander over to ensure the kids are up but then against my old daily routine I just climb back into bed, pull the covers over my head and pretend I’m not there because inside I just can’t see myself doing another day. I get over it and most days turn out pretty good after running into some of my favorite parents, co-workers and friends. But it is becoming an increasingly difficult struggle to get past step one of the day.
There is a mile long list of repairs and maintenance around our house. I wrote the list, and continually add to the list, yet I cannot seem to accomplish the list. I may get one or two of the easy things done, but then I panic, feel sick, and want to sit down near Jacy and veg-out. Excuses like needing to pick up the kids in an hour or man I am really tired all come to the forefront. But in the end, I just can’t seem to see myself getting anything done. I am sure it is no different with any other busy father, but for some reason that feeling is more burdensome than ever before.
Ever cry at sappy movies? Apparently the water works now turn on for just about anything! Ok watching the SPCA commercial where Sara McLaughlin is singing while sad eyed, unadoptable, abused animals are trapped at the shelter doesn’t count. You have to be pretty heartless to not squeeze a little water out of those orbital areas of yours after watching puppies cry. I found myself tearing up explaining a reality show the other day where the daughter of the contestant showed up to tell him he won! Kids doing well on Americas got talent, winning a round of American Ninja Warrior, or watching the friend’s episode where Ross and Rachel finally kiss!! Yep they all bring on the rain! WTF???? Hell Tommy Boy was on the other day and I was crying at the passing of Big Tom Callahan!!! I just can’t keep crying at everything it is wearing me out!
My fuse is much shorter and I can’t seem to control it or keep that Irish/Italian temper from rearing its ugly head. Poor Jake has been bearing the brunt lately. Now some of it rightly deserved but in hind sight more than a few times have gone over the line with things said that cannot be taken back. He always smiles at my apologies and says it ok he forgives me but all I can think about is deep inside I am probably hurting him, hurting his ability to grow and handle stressful situations. I am afraid one day I’ll snap over something stupid and he will have had enough. Irreversible damage complete. Then what? Oh well I can’t seem to wrap my mind around the parental complexities of this issue right now because I will start crying again and no one needs to see that here at work.
Everything seems impossible. From completing my monthly budget, paying bills, changing a light bulb or even just being something, anything. It all seems too much right now.
As I am writing this I just realized my heart rate has doubled. I figure it’s my fight or flight response to even mentioning any of this in combination with feelings trapped inside that I can neither recognize nor willingly let out.
I keep using the analogy that I am a bottle filling with sand. Burdensome, gritty, heavy sand. This sand has reached the top and either I am able to upset the bottle, pouring out this heavy, gritty, burdensome property carefully into a container of contentment or it will overflow, and we all know what happens when sand pours upon us against our will. We end up carrying it home, it’s stuck in the crack of our ass and it takes a month of vacuuming to get it out of the car!
Our life has been incredibly hard. It remains that way. Watching my wife suffer daily is taking a toll on me. Of course I have no right to complain in comparison to the toll it is taking on her. It has been a long, long road.
Jacy has had several hospital stays of late. The other day they put a port back in to help with her current treatment which feels like a giant set back. The steroids have doubled the size of her face and left her weaker than normal. The other day while at a friend’s house doing her very best to live life as normal as possible she fell. Yep, a simple walk down a 10 yard path from patio to arena and her legs just quit! She ended up with a bloody, black and blue eye as her sunglasses tore open the fragile flesh under her eye. She feels consistent insult to injury on a daily basis.
My wife has decided to live life, to go to rodeos, make trips to the store, and do her best to become the mom that she was pre-BMT. She doesn’t have the energy or the strength, but she does have the resiliency or ballsy moxie to do exactly what she wants, family or doctors be damned! I admire her on many levels. I do my best to let her accomplish what she wishes within reason, while at the same time worrying if she is doing more harm than good? Once again though, who am I to say? I don’t currently have the body of an elderly woman, no strength, no vision, with pain surging throughout my entire body 24/7. I don’t need to consume 23 meds, three times a day while also partaking in breathing treatments (4 different kinds) wearing oxygen and doing my best to keep myself fed when I either don’t wish to eat at all or only crave crap food of no real substance? I may be her husband, the only person she can truly confide in, the one who promised in sickness and health, till death do us part. Yes that may buy me some vote, but if it was me? If it was me this was all happening too, would I have the strength to make it another day for my kids the way she does every single day? Would I wake up every morning, take my meds, and then do my best to smile while making school lunches even though I really can’t see? Could I sit in a chair for most of the day either passed out from the very same medications or wide awake scanning the internet feeling like shit because I couldn’t go outside with my horses? Could I kiss my kids goodnight with confidence that tomorrow will be a better day like she does? She is angry, she is sad, she is happy, she is resentful, she is hopeful, she still wishes every day for one more day, one more week, one more month, and one more year. Another camping trip or the ability to take a family cruise. She is amazing.
Could I be like her?
At the end of the day, whiny or not, dark and gloomy be damned. I decided to write these blog postings journaling my wife so others who may be feeling the same way would know it is ok. It is part of this weird, sometimes unforgiving magical mystery tour we are on and you are not alone. To those currently in treatment. This may be the way your caretaker or spouse is feeling and to know they love you, care about you and will do anything to make your life, your situation easier for you. We will never leave your side, so don’t be afraid to be who you want to be, use what strength you have to enjoy whatever moment you wish to enjoy and know the whole time we will be standing right by your side. Even though right now I feel as though “I can’t” when it comes to many things, I will always believe in the “can” most of us hold deep inside. I also believe that for the most part all people are good caring human beings and no matter the situation we all rise to the occasion.
Ok, I’m done. I can’t write anymore….
7 thoughts on “I can’t…”
While you are taking care of everyone else, what are you doing to take care of yourself. I know writing is therapeutic for you and it helps. Please remember that in order to care for Jacy and the children you have to take care of yourself.
You are all in my prayers.
YOU AND JACY HAVE BEEN CHOSEN TO BE WARRIORS IN THIS TOUGH BATTLE. TAKE SOME COMFORT IN THAT MANY PEOPLE LOVE YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES AND ARE ROOTING ON THE SIDELINES SO THAT YOU WIN THIS BATTLE. YOU ARE NEVER ALONE. CLAIRE
I agree with Sharon and Claire’s responses James. You have a right to your feelings and your overwhelmed spirit is obviously really dragging you down. None of us can truly advise or come up with the appropriate comment much less advice… because I doubt any of us have been through as much as you and Jacy have. The word “amazing” is often overused…but it can’t be overused when it comes to describing the two of you. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you. May the Lord lift up your spirit and give you strength and endurance. This is my prayer…Susan
I don’t have words to comfort you or take away your pain,or your ache for life as a normal family, but I care oh I care. Is there anything I can do to lighten your load? Not a good handyman, not a horse person, I don’t even know your family but I do know I care. I can clean and cook, I am pretty crafty, I’m organized, my hugs are the best (if I do say so myself) so if there is a task I can do when you feel like “I can’t” please let me know.
Jacy is amazing and you her devoted husband makes God proud, I just know it.
Hang in there is such a cliche thing to say but…I can’t find the words. I’m here if you need something. I care and I can help more than prayers.
Hugs to you dear man.
I don’t have the words for the ache I feel in my heart for you. It must be exhausting to fight to remain strong for as long as you have fought. I can’t imagine dealing with the anxiety when thinking of everything at once. The tremendous love you have for Jacy and your family amazes me. I’m praying for all of you.
You have care giver fatigue. My heart broke when I read how overwhelmed you must be feeling. You should have something you enjoy to look forward to. Put it on the calendar, plan it and dream about it. Even if it’s just sitting with your horse, a baseball game, movie, fishing. It is weird to hear about everyone’s life marching on while you guys are struggling. You are doing a great job, you are an amazing husband and father. Even with everything going on you have a right to feel a sadness about all of it. I admire your strength and everyone who reads your posts are pulling for you! I change the channel when that commercial comes on because I can’t take it. I appreciate your posts and the updates.
I hear the pain and exhaustion in your words. You and Jacey have lost so much with such uncertainty ahead. Your responses sound so utterly normal right now, and I just want God to wrap comfort around all of you.
Your story makes me care – as it does so many others – keep writing and thank you for baring your soul.
I keep you, Jacey and your children in my prayers.