Untying the Knot

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Most of the time I write from instinct: feelings, thoughts, whatever the pen releases. I always wonder if I paint our situation worse or sometimes better, maybe just plain unrealistically. Then I remember the Dr. Philism, “perception is reality.”

Very often, to my surprise, Dave will comment like he’s been reading the blog. Very eerie. Perhaps it is the long marriage of two people whose thoughts begin to mimic each other. We don’t always need to talk to know what the other may be thinking.

Yesterday we were short with each other, or at least I felt so. Oh, how curt words cut right now. They come out of the air with no way to take them back. It is not the subject at hand, it is the pain of dying that talks. The “wish I could change yesterday so tomorrow would be better.” We both know it doesn’t matter, but some things need to find their way to the surface whether we want them to or not.

Things are breaking. The waffle iron (not like I use it very often), the Food Saver appliance (I use regularly), the shower door (critical). That’s three and perhaps enough for the week. But it indicates more things out of control, a drain on time and energy, and unexpected costs during an adjustment to finite retirement funds in an even more uncontrollable economy. It represents the tasks that are my responsibility, no longer shared. They were the foundation of edginess in our conversation, not necessarily conscious at the time.

His ties to being needed loosen, I noted yesterday.

He is not able to fix things, really, much of anything. He is not longer in control of being the active provider. No longer the curriculum builder. His roles in life are disappearing. There is an emotional transfer of duties.  His new losses must be acknowledged.

One of the things Dave mentioned was seeing an ad in the newspaper for a smaller home for me. Three bedrooms, reasonably priced, nearby, safe. He’s thinking about when he’s gone. He’s projecting what my life might look like; when I am here and he is not. How I can be comfortable and secure. How he can still provide. He wants me to, as we’ve always said, live the life to which we become accustomed, our goal for retirement. His description of the amenities in this new house could have been my own.

It’s a scenario I’ve had to consider many times, but have not shared with him. Maybe I’d make a brief statement about moving “sometime” as I worked on the financial planning. But there were no details. I want to protect him from the thoughts of me “moving” on, being without his physical presence.

It’s odd, but very natural. A little uncomfortable. I don’t like it. It’s the same part of the reflection from yesterday that recognizes there has been his life without me; and me without him. Before, of course, and in the foreseeable future, there will after, too.

So this time is not only about the ties to being needed, these are the ties to being that are loosening, for both of us.


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