Jim eats. A lot. He usually eats enough for 2 or 3 people at a sitting. There is seldom any leftovers in our home. Which is fine by me. I am not a big leftover kind of person anyway.
But sometimes the “leftovers” are my dinner.
A couple of days ago Brad had baseball practice. Frances had a violin lesson. So, Jim took her and I took him. Before I left for baseball practice, I cooked some chicken for dinner. Then I left a note for Jim and Frances on heating up the pasta and veggies.
There would be enough for Brad and I to eat when we got home. Needless to say, when we rolled into the kitchen at 8:30, hungry and tired, there was no pasta left. Thankfully I had fixed a lot of chicken, so we had that to eat, but nothing to go with it. The vegetables were gone too. As was the orange I had peeled for Brad before we left that he didn’t eat. I was going to teach him a lesson and make him eat it when we got home.
As I heated up some chicken and peeled another orange, tears stung my eyes. Why? Why should I care? There was still chicken to eat….
I cried because this is another example of Jim not being able to be Jim. Of him not being able to be the father I know he is. Because I was tired after working all day. I was tired from rushing to cook dinner, rushing to ball practice, making sure I had laundry started, thinking I needed to call Verizon again for the 3rd month in a row because they were still overcharging us (which is itself enough to make me want to scream) and I still had some work to do later that night. I was physically tired and mentally exhausted. It had been a calming, nice feeling to think on the way home that I didn’t have to worry about our dinner. It was waiting for us….
Jim not being able to understand that Brad and I still needed to eat and he should leave us something was a breaking point. Jim not being able to help with any of the tasks I had yet to do that evening was seeping into my mind and bringing out a bitterness I work hard to keep tucked far away. Sometimes those ungrateful demons start escaping.
Having time away from the moment and the situation allows me to look back and realize I need to just put things in perspective and be thankful we have food to eat. Be thankful Jim is able to take Frances to violin. Be thankful he is able to eat on his own. Expecting to be able to simply heat up a plate of food versus finding out half the plate was eaten long ago takes a moment to sink in. Sometimes I need those moments to come quickly and leave swiftly to allow me space to reflect and be grateful instead of spiteful. But life happens in split seconds and there is no slowing down real time and there is no taking back words or feelings or thoughts of despair.
Hurt. Even though I know this disease is ravaging Jim’s mind and taking the real Jim away from me, it doesn’t stop some things from hurting. It hurts when your spouse no longer thinks you will need to eat when you get home. It hurts when the kids tell him they love him and he shows little reaction. It hurts when something wonderful happens in our life and he no longer gets excited. It hurts when he doesn’t seem to care how we are paying the bills. It hurts even more to look at him and wonder if he still gets it? Does he understand the turmoil and angst that shrouds our home at times?
It hurts to want desperately to be held and shown love and instead, to feel alone and exiled.
I am grateful for two healthy children. I am grateful for a home and food to eat. I am grateful I have a job. I am grateful for my friends and my family. I am not grateful this disease has come into our lives and given me those things that I will have to one day look back on as “blessings in disguise”. I am not grateful to become an advocate for such a horrid disease. I am not grateful that I am able but necessitated to make all the decisions in our lives. I haven’t gotten there yet. I haven’t gotten to the look back point where what I see is a piece of life to smile about and be grateful for. Life is a hard road to travel, but someone has gotta do it. Might as well be me.