Last night was the first time I laid down to bed with a heavy heart not because of her because I already had failed at my promise to post every day. Although I tried to intellectualize it by claiming I wrote the post in my mind, I could not get past that feeling to not write is something I can no longer accept. Actually, I started the post with a bit of a lie because my soul was heavy because once again the word “Caretaker” had been flung at me, and once again I was made to feel that nothing I do was good enough. While others were thanked for their time, I was derided for stuffing medicines down her throat and leaving her in a dark room. After more than 2 days feeling like I was at fault, I realized she was right. In my effort to control the disease by making her as physically comfortable as possible, I had lost sight that a hug could more than Zofran, Ativan or Compazine could ever do. The problem really was my reluctance between comforting her with medications versus just laying down with her.
The truth is I am scared to see her so uncomfortable and instead of asking the easy question of “Are you Ok?”, I inevitably ask “Do you need medicine?” I am substituting science for compassion, and I see now that the medicine really is more for me than for her. It is the only way I feel like I can fight the effects of Chemotherapy, but it’s not working. If I was really honest with myself, she is doing extremely well considering the toxins in her body, and actually handling everything quite well. I just keep expecting things to get worse and at the first sign of a grimace, I use the medicine bottles as a shield.
The part that hurts most is the ease with which she thanks others for their care and concern, while I stand across a seemingly un-crossable divide of being the help. I thought I could be a caregiver, a husband but instead in my fear and haste to make her feel better. I relegated myself to the realm of servitude rather than gratitude.
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