I try hard to embody my parents’ marriage, their love and caring for each other in day-to-day life. I regularly fall short of the mark. This weekend was a great example of how I am so not them, it isn’t I think that I don’t love my husband (I do) or that I lack compassion (I don’t); it is simply that I have a different way of showing it.
To understand this story it is first important to give some history. My most beloved and I have been together since 1997, we met when I was vacationing with a friend in the Bahamas. We maintained a long-distance friendship for nearly two years, until we married in 1999. He knows my physical limitations, stuck with me through multiple surgeries to address horrible chronic pain and try to repair the never-ending battles I fight to retain mobility and normalcy in my life despite my injuries.
It hasn’t always been easy, for either of us; beyond the obvious challenges of marriage, he and I chose some uncommon challenges to lay on the table. We have over the years figured out most aren’t all that steep a climb, some are funny and some are aggravating. Some have the added benefit of outside interference and color commentary (in-laws, otherwise known as outlaws) while others have the trial of social stigma (age and race). We mostly just shrug and wave it off. All of them seem to add spice to our marriage most of the time. The truth is he is the most moral, ethical man I know. He is funny and practical. He is also far too often unusually chauvinistic (I laugh at him) and can be stubborn sometimes to a fault.
Back to my story, my lack of compassion or maybe it isn’t so much, what I lack is how I express it.
“It hurts honey!” Can I just say, at this point
this is what I was thinking >>>>>>>
“Well, of course it hurts what would you like me to do?”
His response, “Rub my back and give me one of your pills!”
Let it be known, I have a regular cornucopia of muscle relaxers and painkillers in my personal pharmacy, I don’t use them in fact I hate them and regularly clear them out, flushing them down the toilet long before their expire dates. I do keep some on hand just in case, for those bad days when I can’t raise up out of bed without help.
Sooooo, I rubbed his poor back. I handed him a muscle relaxer (such a bad pusher woman) and left him to his sleep. Thinking to myself, what a crybaby (there goes that compassion thing). It would only go downhill from here, I didn’t know it but I would be sorely tested before the weekend was out.
Saturday was not a good day for my beloved, on many levels. I tried, believe me when I say I tried. Compassion though, well it doesn’t flow from me as water does over Angel Falls in the wet season. He whined, I stared and tried not to scream, “shut up you manly man!” Instead I said, sweetly and without a drip of sarcasm, “would you like an 800 Motrin, I can show you some of the exercises I do every day they will hurt but they will help.”
He looked at me with those lovely eyes of his; I do so love his eyes with his perfectly arched eyebrows and said in his softly accented voice, “Yes, show me the exercises I will do anything and please can I have the Motrin”.
Sooooo, I spent 15 minutes showing him stretches I do every single day, five times a day to keep my back loose and the pain manageable. He whined through it all, my big strong manly man. He told me his pain was 100 on a scale of 1-10, even after explaining to him there is only 1-10 on the standard medical rating scale, he insisted he was special and he was at 100, he is special alright. All I could say finally was, “Welcome to my world honey”.
It was then it dawned on him, this is what I feel every day. This is what I have felt every day since he has known me, sometimes worse than others, but this is my world. Right there in the middle of our bedroom he simply stared at me, not saying a word just staring.
Finally he said to me, “I don’t like your world”.
“Neither do I, but there is little I can do to change it”.
For the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday I followed my most loved about the house, telling him to do his stretches. He snapped and whined. I laughed at him when he did and told him to man up, I only whine at 10, his 100 is very likely somewhere in the 3-5 range. He whined some more, my compassion flooded the room with Motrin and snickers.
He went to the doctor today. He has a pinched nerve and now he has his own muscle relaxers. Gad.
Welcome to my world honey…I do so love him.