Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Collateral Damage

My husband came to me the other day and said something that broke my heart and I hadn't given it much thought before that moment. He said,

"I am realizing that we are never going to be able to go away on a trip, just us, ever again."

This statement came after almost a year of marital discord surrounding Thomas' diagnosis and the fact that my dad needs constant care and we don't want to leave my mom alone to deal with it all. But more than anything what he was speaking about was our personal relationship in relation to the way our lives have become as a married couple raising a schizophrenic (now) young man.

I put some thought to this statement and agreed that, especially for the time being, I certainly wasn't going anywhere, anytime soon. Really, how can I as Thomas' mom, leave him alone in his world right now? As I sit here now and write I think about how just this morning Thomas woke up tired and depressed and in the course of about 3 minutes time asked for 2 hugs that were needed in an effort to lessen the depression. How can I not be here to make sure that there is someone for him to hug in the early morning hours before the work day when the night's memory still envelops him and he's fighting to the surface for light?

I will not leave him alone. I won't.

So what, then, does this mean for my marriage? Well, I assured my husband that using the word "never" is an awfully large statement and that we would be able to get away together but honestly? I don't see that happening anytime soon.

He knows this. That's why he said what he said. I know this too but in an effort to keep my marriage afloat I'm going to tell him that "never" isn't forever and that the time will come for us to get away.

So, I'm going to write about this part of my life too. My marriage and the rest of my relationships, the collateral damage that comes when a major often debilitating diagnosis comes down from on high and threatens to wipe everyone off the emotional map scattering us all apart to either find our way back to each other or to find our way on our own.

I know there are others of you out there that are seeing their marriage tested by their child's diagnosis, by a loved one's diagnosis or by their own diagnosis. Some of you are looking at imminent losses and some of you are like me, fighting to put bandaids on the cracks in the marriage. I am no expert on relationships and will never claim to be, but living my marriage and working on it for the 12 years that I have, has taught me a great deal about love and love's limits.

As life goes forward with Thomas' relatively new diagnosis I am warned that there are many trials ahead. I am not alone in this, Thomas is not alone in this, my husband is not alone in this. It's going to take all of us realizing that and then remembering in the hard times that what will keep us together is a love for each other, a compassion for each other as we face the trials in our lives in the only way we each know how to, the understanding that we each have secret desires for our lives inside with our hearts, and that we all had dreams for the future that now must be put on hold, or adjusted for what lies ahead.

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