Mike and I have been married for 15 years. I was married and divorced previously..once in my early twenties (I didn’t like his girlfriend) and once in my mid 30’s ( I didn’t like his boyfriend). When I met Mike, I had two children, my own home, a new car…things in many ways were great. Hated my job. After an 8 year break from dating, I had met some really nice guys but realized that they weren’t what I was looking for. So when Mike called me, I had pretty much decided to take a dating break with no restart button.
I wasn’t silly enough to think that God was going to send me a spouse (tried that; didn’t work). My marriage vows were very important to me and I wanted some one who shared that same general philosophy.
Mike wasn’t perfect but he was so much fun and he seemed to love my daughter. He was more carefree than I was. He had been estranged from his own daughters and I think that maybe he wanted a chance to prove to himself that he was able to parent. I know a lot of guys like that.
Five years later, I get a call on a Wednesday night. It’s my son, who is living with his father in Los Angeles. He’s thrown all of his stuff out the window and Ben is calling from neighbors he has never met, asking me if I’ll come get him. As soon as I got my shoes on, we ALL drove the 176 miles to pick Ben up in the middle of the night. There were no good byes. Jackson refused to even talk to Lisi. So to my surprise, we drove back home. It was finals week and I had figured we’d get a hotel, Mike would leave me with Ben and then I’d rent a car on Saturday and we’d drive home. And here he has been now for the last 12 years. He is a challenge but his challenges are more than mine are.
Fast forward to October of 2009. I find Mike collapsed in the kitchen. The upshot of that is he has thrown an embolism, which, on the way to his head or heart, blew his descending colon out, filling his abdomen with e. coli and God knows what else. The doctor tells me that realistically, he has 0% chance of surviving the surgery. Mike spends eight weeks in the ICU, then another month in the hospital before coming home. In 2010, he is hospitalized every single month for surgeries. In 2011, he is getting stronger but has several serious falls, breaking his hip in February 2012. Do I send him to a nursing home or rehab place? Oh, no. I keep him right here and take care of him myself.
We’ve moved into what I thought would be our forever home…the top floor of a building downtown. We have great tenants, no yard work and can just lock the door behind us if we want to go somewhere. But so far, we haven’t. The economy is tanking–work, but no jobs. I figure we will just read water until things get better…and they will. They always will.
Mike has been doing what I think is unnecessary folderol to the building. Resurfacing the parking lot. Insulating the ceiling. Painting the veranda floor with a gritty sand. Beefing up the foundation.
He is getting the house ready for when I am left alone.
Figured it out last night. He is able to work, but is more frail than he has ever been. He still can out work anyone I know, just not all day. Depression, for both of us is an issue. I worry about everything. He takes it as it comes. I’m fussing with the map and he is just dealing with the next bend in the road. The last time he fell down the stairs, he was choppered out to UCSF. When he broke his hip, I put the Christmas tree up in the in the way of the stairs so he wouldn’t fall down them again.
My in-laws moved from a two story condo to a one story one, then in with my SIL, then shared a place in Monticito with another SIL. Now they are in an assisted living place where Mom doesn’t have to cook or clean. She doesn’t like it but Dad does…I suspect because it requires less of him with the upkeep….upkeep he can no longer do. They’ve been married 70 years and have survived his incarceration in a POW camp during WWII.
I just wonder what the heck I will do with myself when the next accident happens or if he has a stroke or when I am left alone. I’ve always been the one to do the leaving.