Can I be honest here?
Can I say something horrible that no one would ever think to say?
Except that they might think it. Or they might think that I’m horrible for saying it. It could really go either way at this point.
But I pride myself on my brutal (and sometimes inappropriate) honesty. So here it goes…
It was easier when he was sick.
There I said it. And I haven’t been struck by lightening just yet so let me explain myself if you would.
It’s been almost a year since my husband was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma. It’s been about 8 months since he began chemo. And it’s been about 3 months since he’s been feeling somewhat “normal” and our lives have returned.
But it’s true. It was (in a horrible and twisted way) easier when he was sick.
People always tell you that “marriage is hard.” What they don’t tell you is that the hardest part of marriage is that you keep having the same darn argument over and over and always end at a stalemate. Every couple has that ONE thing that they can’t agree on.
For us it was his work schedule. He’s caught in this awkward position of being a small business owner where actual hours translate to actual dollars. Where the hours logged now are for a hope of the future. He’s building something for the family, for the years to come. My argument is that while he’s away building this future life for us he’s missing the present. And the battle ensues.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. We have fought about his incredible work ethic since we were dating when I was only 19. Isn’t that silly? To fight over his work ethic?
But alas it’s been the same argument, the same feelings (on both sides) for the last 17 years with no compromise in sight. And then he got sick. And all of the sudden everything became crystal clear. Our priorities aligned for the first time in 17 years. We spent the months leading up to his chemotherapy (in between surgeries) building memories and spending some much needed family time.
And then the chemo began. And although it was horrible and it was hard….it was simple. My priorities were decided for me. My job was to take care of him and to take care of the family. There was no question of whether or not I would take that work trip. It was simply out of the question.
The world simply faded away and we existed inside that bedroom. We fought together, we cried together. The world was this strange place that I would sometimes venture out into but my home was where I spent every spare second. It’s what HAD to be done. But it was more than that. It was all I WANTED to do.
And things got bad, and dark, and scary. But I always knew exactly what was expected of me. I always knew what was the most important.
And now- when things are so much better and he is healthy the world has begun creeping back in. Please don’t misunderstand me- I don’t want him to be sick, I don’t ever want him to have to endure that pain again. But I wish our lives could be simpler again.
You see now we are pulled and stretched in 1000 directions. We are passing each other in the night as we have both regained heavy travel schedules for work (and for play). We fell out of sync and we are fighting hard to get back.
I guess that’s how it goes. The pendulum always swings equally in each direction. I can feel us starting to find our center again though. Life is so complicated, this world is complicated. I guess I’ve just reached a point where I prefer “hard” over complicated.
So although I do not hope for a recurrence (not in a million years) I do hope that we can find the center again. Some common ground. We are all searching for that place in between the outside and the inside where we can exist in peace.