Archive | April, 2012

Life with Betty

9 Apr

“Do you ever sleep?”
“I sleep when you sleep, Betty.”

She recognizes me, reaches for my hand, and on her good days gives me shit as any other mother-in-law would but she cannot tell you my name. And no, I do not sleep. I nap between the care takers’ shifts, periodically checking up to make sure they are more alert than I am, which sadly, even for the money, they are not. I had one pulled from our schedule and among the many apologies I received from the supervisors I found myself repeating a disgustingly PC phrase I learned when fired from a law firm last year, “She’s just not a good fit”, I said after a third phone call.

Think back to a time you have gotten out of bed to see why the t.v. was on in another room, or who was quietly closing doors or walking through the house. Usually it is a family member or roommate and all is well and calm. Betty forgets she was just up 15mins before and for hours will do this.

“It’s still light outside.”
“And it will be for the rest of the day, Betty. It’s morning.”

The most painful is when she forgets why we are here and asks for her husband. We relive his death in re-breaking the news.

Flipping her schedule has been hard. Something was lost in the days she stayed alone. Recalibrating her while orientating the care takers while taking care of B.

“Here is the vacuum, the cleaning products are in the usual places, under the sink, in the laundry room, under the bathroom sink as well. Please open the blinds last/first thing of your shift if it has not been done by the person before you. Do not give out any information. Do not small talk my husband. He is too polite to say he does not feel like being social. Do not worry about our laundry. If she asks to call her husband or where he is, the answer is he is gone but B and I are here, then please get us.”

Of all of this quiet chaos, I miss my husband. More than our house, more than my friends. I miss our privacy, laughing, our quiet time, lovemaking. I miss opening my eyes to feel rested. I miss when he didn’t remember his dreams. I miss when I could make everything better. But still there is no time to be sad, only more errands and appointments. Piling on the fatigue which seems to be never ending.

The Turn around Trip

1 Apr

B was busy packing for his ski trip. I was washing clothes and working my schedule to have a solid two days of quality time before he left on Sunday. I was excited for him because he will most likely never get me to agree to a winter vacation. It was a win win. He got to have some guy time on a cold trip and I was left behind to have Happy Hours and a something in the vault that I could cash in later. Loving as I am, I am still a woman.

Friday came. I had a tentative plan. A movie matinee, wine tasting at East End, and the little new green restaurant that had just opened up by our house, Farmacy…something rather. Lots of going out of town sex. Then Sunday morning I would take him to the airport, have a brunch, come home to watch Desperate Housewives, drink some wine and cry a little because that’s what I do when we are apart.
As the week carried on I would make him feel a little guilty for having fun without me, even though I told myself I wouldn’t because he really did deserve the trip, and I was sincerely excited to see him so excited. My husband. My world. But I also needed the time to myself. I had been working so hard the house was a wreck and I hadn’t seen my friends in a while. Not to mention, not getting much sleep.

Things had been slowly settling down since the break in. From what we gathered, it was some kid. A grab and go. I had just bought those pillow cases. The fucker pulled one off to empty the change bucket, my jewelry, and B’s grandmother’s silver. It wasn’t what they took but what they left us with, worry. To be honest, I think B took it harder than me. That feeling of helplessness. Of feeling safe in our home only to realize a sheet of glass is not much of a shield. Our charmed lives interrupted by the ugly of the world, but I suppose anyone willing to take such a stupid risk needed those things more than we will ever.
We got the window replaced and some motion lights. Up and down, B checked them over and over, yelling at the dogs, “Charli!!! YOU’RE RUINING MY TEST!”
We had been looking forward to SXSW so tried to act normal the same week when it came around. As if we weren’t afraid to leave the house. But again, things were settling and the trip was only a day or so away.

Eager to get home I ran out the back door from work. While at the longest light ever, I scrolled through my Facebook feed, then feverishly dialed B. His dad was in the hospital, our sister-in-law had posted. He had just gotten off the phone with his brother. Even after, he didn’t know how bad it was, but B never asks the right questions.
I got home, sent him to a friend’s with our keys so I could gather my thoughts. A few laps around the house wondering what to take with no idea of how long we would be gone or if he needed his suit. No, that was too morbid too soon, right? I had to have it all ready before he came back. I had to have my shit together and be calm before he came back. That’s what I do. That is my job. To know what to do even when I am clueless.
The dogs and our bags were loaded quickly enough. Thank God I had put gas in the day before. They had called the chaplain, his sister-in-law said.

The day B would have gotten back from his trip, we were unloading what we could fit of our city lives into his mother’s house. She hadn’t asked about where her husband was yet. That was just yesterday; over a week later. Her routine disrupted because that was HIS job. To take care of her. To know what to do when the rest of us were clueless. We have invaded her space on a promise that was made. Although we both knew this day would come, I knew in my heart sooner than later, even still, I thought we would have more time. I thought it would be different. I thought B would have some time to grieve. I thought we would have time to grow up a little bit more. There is no time for that. There has been no time to cry. Only in spurts does a heavy sigh turn to a choke to hold back the tears, but there is much to be done.