I really want to write something about Doctor Who here, but my brain is too tired to be clever. There isn’t enough coffee in the world, after being up most of the night with my Maggie Mayhem cat, who is 18 1/2, and has the occasional bad night. That’s when I give her muscle relaxant, and hold her. The vet says she’s just developed a cat version of sundowners. It’s bonkers. 98% of the time, she’s great. Happy, mischievous, and with a spring in her step. Maybe every three-ish months we have A Night.
See? Tired enough I can’t stay on target. Where was I? Better still, who was I?
Losing my husband to his own midlife idiocy has been even more bonkers than a cat with sundowners.
So many years have been All Him All the Time. Two of those years he was going through cancer treatments, and needed a lot of help and care, so that was as it should be. It was a lot of pressure and exhaustion for me, but he got to live, so it was worth it.
But the expectation that every day be All Him All the Time didn’t end with the cancer being cleared. If he wasn’t the center of attention, if people weren’t waiting on him, if he wasn’t excused for all bad behaviour, if anyone asked anything of him? Criminy.
If I so much as asked him to take the trash out, while I was cooking dinner, he literally stopped speaking to me for a week. A WEEK. He’d come home, glare at me, and go straight into the bedroom. Where he’d stay except for coming out to eat. He was the only one in his world allowed to be a real person, and everyone else was a nonplayer character.
And I went along with it, because He’d Had Cancer and Almost Died. Which was true, but at some point, can’t we start being a married couple again, and not a caregiver and care-ee?
I wasn’t allowed to be a person, with opinions and needs and feelings. I had no “who” in Whoville. I didn’t exist as a separate person.
And I went along with it. For years.
I went along with it, until I just couldn’t anymore. And I got some help, and I tried to get us to a marriage counselor, because me not caving anymore led to days and weeks of him just not speaking to me. The sheets of resentment baking off him locked me up with anxiety. I was on eggshells so constantly it was making me physically sick.1
Who can live like that?
After not having a who for so many years, it’s strange to have one. It’s like standing up and stretching after sleeping on the couch all scrinched up.
And now I’ve gone into eight minutes, so I guess that’s the end. Thanks for coming to my stream-of-consciousness Ted Talk.
I guess I’m going to sneak this in there after the timer, after all. I had stopped writing, years and years ago. I just didn’t have anything in me to write with. All my spare energy and time was spent taking care of T, in order to avoid his rage. This writing challenge is a tiny act of rebellion and reclaiming of self.2