Marriage – what is not in the contract!

We've only just begun...with Faith that we have not yet grown.

Have you ever had someone NOT tell you the complete truth?   Usually it’s because we don’t know to ask about the real truth…. we assume!   If you are married, did anyone ever tell you that IT MIGHT BE POSSIBLE to have tragedy in your family ?  If so, I would love to see the “hands” raised!

We hear about ups and downs, and downs and ups…  We even hear of spouses dying – to young.  We hear of cancer, etc… BUT one thing we all know…. IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN TO US!  Whew!

It’s like bringing home your first born and thinking “they are so sweet, I’ll never get upset with them”.  They grow up and we are amazed we didn’t eat them! 🙂 

Tragedies happen to other people.  They don’t happen to us!  After all, we are careful, we’ve taken precautions in every situation, so we are gliding along in life.

B A M M…….. 

SHOCK…. this could not be happening…..

DENIAL….it’s not that bad, I’ll be fine in no time!

ANGER…  A R E   Y O U   T E L L I N G  M E   Y O U  DO NOT  B E L I E V E  M E ? ? ? ?

BARGAINING… If I pray hard enough, I’ll be healed!  (true, if it is His will).  If I act like nothing is wrong, then distraction will take the pain away.  (sure, like having a baby while shopping!).  If I mentioned my predicament to my friends and relatives, they will be glad to run food over occasionally and visit.  WHAT friends and relatives?  After a few years??? 

MY SPOUSE WILL BE HERE TO TAKE CARE OF ME.    (wheeze, let me get off the floor….)  Maybe, if you have a husband like mine.  The first words out to the doctors mouth to us was…. yep… if you’ve ever had a trauma in your life, then it’s probably true you’ve heard it…..  “YOUR DIVORCE RATE HAS GONE UP TO 75%”.  

First, why would a doctor tell you this…. how UN-Positive!  Having worked in that arena, the reason is because it is the truth. If couples don’t know this, then they won’t work hard enough to save their marriage.  They may not get counseling – the arguing gets insane.  And possibly the “Blame Game” is on! 

Two people who loved each other a lot are now thrown into a grieving process that each will grieve in a different way.   (we all aren’t the same!)  True.  But when there is grief that is THE BIG one…. you will still live together and the way each grieves will typically drive the other one crazy.  “WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU…. AREN’T YOU SAD”?   “YES, I’M SAD, BUT I’VE GOT TO GO TO WORK EACH DAY…. I CAN’T ALLOW THIS TO TAKE OVER MY LIFE. ”  “THEN YOU JUST DIDN’T LOVE ENOUGH”!~  and so on…..   Or another argument.   This is always talked about when parents go through something traumatic with a child.  But, don’t forget about us adults!

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?  Don’t say yes, because you may find yourself in the same position some day, once or more – and this could be you!

So far, this should give everyone a little idea of what to do when a couple experiences grief. 

THEY WILL NOT GET OVER IT NOW.     THEY WILL THINK AS POSITIVE AS THEY POSSIBLY CAN, BUT THERE ARE DAYS….  IF YOU CAN’T GO TO THE DEBTHS OF THEIR HELL, THEN ARE YOU REALLY HONORED TO GO UP ON THE MOUNTAIN TOP WITH THEM?   FRIENDS ARE NOT FAIR WEATHERED…..  FAIR WEATHERED FRIENDS WILL DROWN SOONER OR LATER. 

I trust you, you trust me,
but do we trust to go through life, just you and me?
No, it’s takes three!

I trust you, you trust me, but do we trust to go through life, just you and me?  No, it's takes three!

We made “plans” just like any other couple.  And, we were fairly flexible.  Our background raising required flexibility, so we weren’t JUST learning that, but fine turning a lot!    We had the perfect children – boy and a girl.  I was thin, he was handsome…. he made enough for me to stay home until I really wanted to do something (and the oil crash came), so we had a system worked out where I could work yet the kids were usually with one of us.  We APPEARED to be the perfect family.  And in todays world?  That could be possible.  Not us, but the lifestyle we tried to live and to have a united parenting style. 

We had “tragedies”, but that was just preparing us.  Not only did I have a severe accident that I will deal with all my life (see menu), our oldest granddaughter had brain surgery.  She is perfect and she is fine!  (Thanks for asking!:)  My parents died, (which meant BOTH of our parents died!)  Our children married and had problems, but now are doing great.  And before that, the were teens.  No more needs to be said, right? 🙂   The oil crash almost did us in.  If you told a psychologists even part of this list, they would start reaching for anti depressants!  Miscarriages (two), among other deep stressors kept building up.  But we didn’t speak much of them because it seemed people needed us.  And we love people and love helping.  At times, we would have to say no, we had to rest.  But it was a great joy to see another happy!  Since it isn’t wise to go through all your “victories” and get your reward on earth for telling, then I’ll stop here!   (yes, that is biblical too).

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Bicycles all in a row, perfectly!

 One thing we loved and that was tidiness and organization.  It made life easier but we weren’t that great, but at least we tried.  Supper was cooked, and a pie, cake or a double bowl of Tapioca pudding – (our favorite).  Supper as a family… the way we grew up and wanted our children to have.  Not “the goods”, but the “experience”. 

But the unthinkable happened.  An auto accident (not my fault, just because I’m light headed… 🙂   Being an Education Manager at a popular hospital and administration knowing I’d do anything to talk – I was a busy woman.  Between home and work, there was no time for THIS BUSINESS. 

The employees that I loved and were my friends saved me from embarrassment.  “What was my job?  What was THAT?  I said a sentence backwards?  You know… it’s a…. it’s COME ON, you know what I mean…. ”  And soon I realized I was in a world I knew nothing about.  The world I could do in my sleep was on Mars right now.  I couldn’t understand the spoken word but learned to fake it enough to get words together enough to HOPEFULLY answer correctly.    (I missed that mark a lot!)  I had the verbage of a first grader, and that may be offense to those kids!  The pain was not a 10.  It had to have more zero’s behind it.  I wanted to die…. because it was already hell…. I was willing to take my chances!  BUT, I wouldn’t take my life, it was a gift to me.  But I sure wanted to and there were times I ran out the door, scared of myself.  My husband was  in shock, he couldn’t comprehend things were BAD.  We tried talking to our teenagers, but one had a selective hearing problem and the other…. was struggling, I could see it.  But, no matter what I begged for the answer was “okay” and …. nothing was done.  

I didn’t want my children to finish their years remembering a mom without brains and in pain.  Not able to do anything , except on a good day and those only come around a couple times a month if you’re lucky…. so you go like crazy.  They didn’t understand the “spoon theory” and I doubt they were interested.  None the less, without good parenting during those last months that was so badly needed, they turned out fine…. I notice the scars… because I have them too.  But I patiently sit (and cry) and hope someday I won’t be the failure I feel.  Compliments are few, criticism common, but without reading what is wrong and why I do what I do…. then this is the outcome. 

Not only did I lose my parents the past few years, but my family as well.  I am past the limit of being “sick” (good golly, aren’t you well by now?) 🙂   I do weird things, which APPEARS it’s on purpose.  I spend a lot of energy “FAKING IT”, and as we have heard at some disability conventions….. ‘FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT’.   I seemed to not be aware of what I said, therefore, became “unreliable”, which is normal also.

 I won’t go anymore into the accident since it’s in the menu, but what I will say, which is very painful…. it DID affect our relationships, just like we were warned over and over.  And then, it affected our marriage. 

Div0rce is not a word in our home.  The deep grief my husband had, with little support and no one to really talk too –  we were crashing fast.  Drowning in public.  And trying to voice what was happening only go us compliments or nothing.  I had a “neck ache” or “back problems” or whatever was assumed but not really asked by many.  The few who understood, would allow my husband to grieve – not in talking necessarily, but in validating.  But that comes around rarely.  We had to all together, and all was fine.

 

PLEASE UNDERSTAND… I AM NOT MAD.  THIS IS NOT TALKED ABOUT ENOUGH SO I’M WILLING TO GO OUT ON A LIMB….BUT I SURE HOPE I GET FEEDBACK IN CASE THE LIMB BREAKS! 🙂 

Hubby became the wife too.  Cook?  You’ve got to be kidding.  I didn’t know the day, or who I was (wife or daughter?), and you want me to cook?  Wash?  Haha….. those machines do what?   While this seems a bit comical, and we did have our laughs, it was very scary and fear was gripping both of us.  Testing was continual, it seemed, but no one “got” the head injury (TBI) because I forgot to tell them!  DUH.  Or possibly the pain was so bad, that what was the main focus.

I learned a few things the first few months of what NOT to do…. This is not done in the spirit of ill will, but of education.  Because it happens all the time. 

  1.  If they have children, HELP them.
  2.  If  you call, ask your question and hang up.  If you can’t be a part of the solution, then please don’t be a part of the problem.  There are chores to do and personally, no one even knows anyone past their grandparents at this point.  
  3.  If you have had a similar ache, but have never had to be on controlled medications, please don’t try to tell us you understand.  Any other time, we would be very interested, but now…. we are scared spit less and we are in this pretty much alone.  It is serious, but if is not treated as something serious by others, then we’ll keep it mild.
   4.  If we say we aren’t available or can’t do something…. that’s just what we mean.  Would you want someone to ask  you EXACTLY why and what you were doing and give a complete account?  I don’t even do that to my children…. they are adults and they  would shoot me! lol.    Our NO means NO and our YES means Possibly.  We apologize upfront. 
  5.  Yes, I realize I may be “overdoing it”, but unfortunately other’s need something and those who really understand are those who have been in the same shoes.  I appreciate your concern, and if you would like to do it for us, then that works too. 
  6.  If you need us, we will be glad to help.  Let us help and get back home.  Visiting just isn’t happening right now, and I’m sure you can understand.
  7.  Yes, I am smiling and yes, I am possibly happy.  Smiling and happy do NOT mean a person is WELL.  (or unwell).  It means they are smiling and happy.   They are learning to come to grips with their lot in life, but you should see the tears…… 
  8.  I WANT to look healthy and nice!  I don’t want to look like I feel.  Plus I have a spouse and I want to look nice for them.  This does not mean I am well it means I have chose THAT day to look nice. 
  9.  Yes, I am very aware I am a lot of work.  But we made vows……..  and believe it or not, I’ve actually taken care of my spouse…. he just got the LONG end of the stick.  So I will be as good of a patient as I can be. 
 10.  Speaking of being a good patient.  That is my goal.  I have TBI, therefore, I don’t have voice inflection at times, nor do I make much sense.  My caregiver understands.  And I feel bad for my spouse too…. but we are in this together.
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We celebrated our 38th anniversary on December 20th, 2015kk.   Our marriage is struggling.   Cards were not given.  We were apart for overnight and a day.  I had 3 nervous breakdowns.  His fault?  No.  But it was over his reactions that I had talked about and needed help with for a long while. 

It’s the same thing over and over.  We are drowning.  We are isolated.  Depressed.  We cry to see our children and grandchildren.  We are forgotten.  By both sides of our family… which I’m quite sure is not true.  We mention our needs, our frustrations…..  But I forget – there are two of us, and we have our act together.

I won’t go into all that has happened because it’s not the right thing to do…. and thankfully, I forget.  Do we feel loved?  No.  Do we feel valued?  No.  If we fell off the face of the earth, would anyone know (besides Donna and a few others)?  No.

Now…. let’s start over.  Is everyone busy?  YES.  Do they have lives?  YES.  Do we respect that?  I hope so.

We try to make it a point to not be overbearing, to be as enjoyable to be around (useless to try, but….), we try to be easy.  We must do our part.

Through my TBI have I hurt people?  Yes – (only to find out later).  Did I know it?  No…. not until I found out.  What would keep from making this happen?  Having Cancer or a disease that others can relate too. 🙂  lol.

This lifestyle is all to common.  So common that books write exactly what goes on in our homes.   Every medical problem I have scares me.  I don’t want to leave my husband alone, but I know he would remarry and be fine.  But I WANT TO BE THE NORMAL person!
Three times, my life has been spared (at least!).  My funeral plans are ready.  I should not be here for any of the three times.  And I wasn’t upset.

What sent me down the tubes?  Isolation.  Wanting my daughter so much I could feel my heart come out and be crushed.  A phone call – anything.  I wanted my daughter in law.  I love that girl as if she was my own.  She anticipates my needs, she understands, and she is fabulous.  My son finally made a great choice! lol.  My kids were all close to us…. we had good talks….  but one can’t really do that with me now.  Because I’ve been in so much trouble (for what, I’m not sure), I can’t talk when people are around.  I know I’ll say the wrong thing, and while they will forgive, the sermon after is too much.  I haven’t done much right in the past few years, unless they have failed to tell me.  “Your the greatest” doesn’t count…. sorry. 

So we have friends in other places and we try to get away as much as possible.  But the cloud is getting heavier.  The anguish is worse. 

IT IS NOT ANYONES RESPONSIBLITY TO KEEP US ENTERTAINED OR HAPPY.  THAT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY!

All I want is to feel loved.  And that’s all my caregiver wants too.  We have the been shoulders (and that is a privilege), but for now, we have nothing to give.  Nothing.  It’s scary.  I had a wonderful visit with our minister.  An older man, compassionate and listened without speaking.  I kept things positive, but factual.  I don’t want to be a whiner.  He listened, and I saw the wheels turning.  I saw a little wet eyes.  I melted.

Later, he walked by and asked a question….. no was the answer…. What does one say about our “help”.  There are solid reasons.

Later, again, he walked by – obviously he couldn’t get something off of his mind.  He asked another question…..  “oh yes”, he knew where those two suburbs were.  “So I gather there isn’t much help?”

Research proves over and over and over.  Why do the research when it’s right in the bible?

Faith is the only way we can please God.  If one has faith, it is shown, it can’t be hid.  True, but as one said “our of sight, out of mind”. 

This is not a pity party.  Little by little glimpses of life might be shown.  Don’t we all want to understand another?   I know if busyness keeps us from serving, I fear my Father may be too “busy” to put my name in His book.

Religion was NOT what was brought to earth to save.  But a lifestyle that was taught with conditions of peace and of eternity.  Everything has a condition and that gives me enough to think about for myself.

crusing the first day!The best way to travel…. Cruising.  The first few days are in bed…. and hubby searches out the ship!

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It’s growing!

 

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Hair, hair, nice to see you.  BUT, with Cat Eye Glasses?

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Mr. Caregiver.

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Water Therapy is the BEST

This woman was instrumental in helping me gain some “health”.

Cathy

 Invisable Caregiver

Grandkids
OUR HAPPY PILLS – 8TH ONE IS COMING ANYDAY! 🙂  GRANDCHILDREN….,WE
WE WILL MAKE IT….  WE HAVE NO CHOICE!

If you are lacking in support – a constant support, you will flounder.  The valleys will be lower than low, but you can make it too.  Drowning people are rarely recognized as drowning…. it appears they are fine.  Same analogy….  we must learn to speak up – to have faith that we will be listened too.  We can still be there for others, but we must be there for EACH other!   And God see’s all things – and he sees us.
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So, maybe you are wondering what happened next?   Let me put it simply.  When tragedy hits, sometimes others must step in.  And some in our family did, but then their health went south.  They gave us an outlet.  (poor things)  With TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), you can not express your emotions, how you are feeling “inside”, or what you are thinking.  Drawing, and journaling were helpful, but who reads those besides a therapist?  We did go to therapy for a while – almost mandatory.  And I had to keep going.  Finally, with help, I was able to express I felt like “damaged goods”.  I had no job  – no place in the family.  I wanted to have our own traditions, but it seemed things got in the way.  I didn’t do thinks the way it was wanted or tasted, although my little family was perfectly happy. Little things one looks forward too… and then it’s gone before you get a chance.  It’s petty, but it still hurts.  And there is grief.

There is no way to describe “red” to a blind person.  There is no way to describe living with a painful, no-brainer invisible illness that will never end.  Ask enough to look it up….It will be greatly appreciated.  We sound like we’re making things up, but it’s as bazaar as it sounds. And we would do anything to NOT have to give the answers we do.  This was not our choice, nor a punishment.  We sought every doctor there was for help, and I still here the same thing …. “you are a very challenging patient – but don’t take that personally”.   Every person has their story.  Many are very traumatic in treatment by Egotistical doctors.  Having TBI, and failing tests still brought suspicion of “acting out”.  Thankfully, I had a good Neuro who fumed while I cried.

There are just no words…..  Our mistake is we got overwhelmed and stopped talking about how we were doing.  Caregivers work many times, then they come home to – who knows what.  Then the phone start ringing.  Not the quick ones, but the chatty ones.  Trying to say “I’ve got to go” just can’t be comprehended.  It can’t by us either.  Trust us…. there is little times in the early years to think of anything past what needs to be done.  And usually the “patient” is crawling up the ceiling for a human voice and FOOD!  It’s a slow process to learn.

My husband began his list of what was on his mind.  I had mine.  They matched! Well, some of it did.  He felt a failure because he couldn’t fix it.  He could fix anything, but this was out of his league.  He watched his loved one out of her mind in pain, knowing that death could be an outcome.  But “I looked good”, so it’s not that serious.  It left him without someone who would listen without judgment.   We had other responsibilities that were hard to give up.  We left our family home to a condo in the medical center.  Helpful? Definitely!  But still more losses.  Rumors tested him more than I realized.  Lack of support and empathy tested his faith more than I understood.  I thought I was just me feeling the same.  It’ not necessary to go into what was said, done, in sinuated, or just a lack of empathy that always seeps into the marriage relationship. I couldn’t express my thoughts to him, and in denial, he found it difficult to truly grasp the situation, even sitting with doctors who confirmed the TBI, the TIA’s, and the host of other issues.  He didn’t see the physical therapy… the cognitive therapy.  And I couldn’t completely explain.  He summed it up with “I was in great denial and I failed to stand behind you when falsely accused.”

Sobbing, it was okay, because he “got it”.   We really connected again.  He mentioned someone said in a bible study that we could not help another if we didn’t have it together our self.  He was trying to be “Me”.  Cooking for those who were ill.  All the things women typically do for others.  It was impossible – he was drowning himself.  Somewhere things got all mixed up…. it’s easy to do with invisible disabilities that aren’t understood.  

If divorce had been an option?  How sad.  I imagine that 75% is nothing more than an overwhelmed couple trying to fill roles with much pain, disbelief, and lack of empathy.  Because this story is nothing new.  It’s not outstanding or “interesting”.  It is the typical life behind the doors when a tragedy happens.  Much is assumed, little is asked.  Attitudes aren’t well hidden, and the doors of our voices are shut down.  It will never work this way.  Even doctors give speeches on how to save the family, but it is never put into practice!  They have the answers, yet THAT is where the real blame lies.  In most cases.

How many have taken families and sat with them for a few minutes and explained what was happening?  Oh, there’s probably someone out there.  It’s agreed – “it affects the family”, yet the family is not seen as part of the patient.  How many marriages could have been saved if what was “preached, was practiced”?  

I’m quite sure the divorce rate would be much lower!  And such a simple thing to incorporate for each new patient!  It blows my mind.

I am fortunate and love is stronger yet.  But much that was unnecessary began to break down the fortress.   Don’t sit back and give up…. research.  Do you really understand what is going on?  Talk to the doctor, or better yet, find someone who has been there and doing it still!~  That alone is validating and encouraging.  

If you have experienced a chronic health problem, or living with one who does, what would you like to share in your experience with relationships?  Here on on our closed groups.