Can we talk? I need to discuss with You how wretched I truly am. I know You know what I’m referring to. You were there after all. You saw him fall backwards, too. You watched me run towards him, yelling his name as he fell into the hamper. You were there as he lay confused, not knowing what had just happened. In that moment I didn’t know what to do…what to think. “Was he having a stroke? A seizure?” He looked so old and helpless and frail to me at that very moment. For a second I thought he pissed himself but it turned out to be spilled milk which was now all over the front of his underwear and all over the now drenched, filthy carpet. He just sat there within the bedroom doorway as I tried to assess what was happening and, as usual, I couldn’t get much feedback from him which, in turn, made me frustrated. I just wanted to know what was going on with him but he wasn’t able to tell me. He just wanted me to give him a minute. His face was so cold and clammy and ashen. “Do I need to call an ambulance?” I then looked around at my cluttered and dirty dwelling and began to think of what sort of apology I would give to the medics as they tried to maneuver through our mess. What would they think of me, of us, when they saw how dirty I had let my place become? But that’s not even the worst of it. In the midst of all this I did think to pray over him but chose not to. It did occur to me to seek God first and pray but I wasn’t sure of how to word it or if it would even make a difference or if it was even necessary. That is the worst. I chose not to pray. Shameful.
He had passed out a couple of times but I only witnessed the second episode. As I sat on the couch watching TV I heard some commotion coming from the kitchen but didn’t think much of it. I figured he had just dropped something or that a bunch of stuff fell out of the fridge. That’s not unheard of for us and has become an accustomed noise (typically followed up with cursing) in this crammed living space we call home, so I didn’t get up to check. I didn’t even call out a simple “You okay?” Then a couple minutes later I thought I heard him shut the bathroom door quite abruptly? Maybe? I decided to get up and check only to find him standing in the doorway of the bedroom. From across the room I asked if he was okay and as he was telling me that he had just fallen he proceeded to fall again. “RICKY!!!” I yelled as I ran towards him. “What’s wrong?!?”
A LOT of thoughts were going through my head at exactly the same time. I don’t think I felt emotion…only concern for what plan of action needed to be taken as I simultaneously processed internal questions such as, “Was he going to die?!?!” and “Is this really happening right now? …What would happen to me if he dies? … What would I do?” Angry, accusatory thoughts took over as I recalled the fact that he overworks himself EVERY SINGLE DAY never to get ahead and if he would just take better care of himself he wouldn’t be sitting on this disgusting carpet in a half naked daze right now…”I need him to be strong for me. How am I going to be strong for him?!?!” I’m completely dependent on this man and I would lose everything if he suddenly left this world, including my six beloved cats which he also adores” (well, he has his three favorites). The semi-subconscious thoughts continued…. “I can’t believe this is my life’s situation. It was never supposed to be this way. I’m mad at myself and I’m mad at him and I shouldn’t be feeling resentment as my husband sits helpless on the floor. I’m a wretch.”
My perturbation increased the longer Rick sat. I started to worry about how much money it was going to cost to go to the hospital with no insurance. We JUST finalized the bankruptcy and are FINALLY debt free. So much for that. “Should I go?” he asked. “Well, how do you feel?” He thought he was okay but we both felt it probably wasn’t a good idea to risk not getting checked out. So I gave him clean underwear to put on and we both got dressed at 2 am this morning and set out for yet another ER visit, braving the cold February air.
I tried to help Rick tell the doctor what had happened and filled in any gaps he had missed, like mentioning his MS just in case it was needed information. They hooked him up to machines and gave him an IV. Doc wanted to do an EKG, a chest x-ray, and a CT scan. I cringed at the thought of the size of THAT bill. When they had all left the room I reminded Rick of how he mentioned in the car not wanting all sorts of tests. After relaying to a nurse the fact that we have no health insurance the CT was put on hold and by the end of the stay it was determined that it wasn’t needed after all. He was going to be okay. His blood pressure was really low and labs showed his kidneys weren’t up to par which was most likely due to dehydration. Both issues were resolved with an IV of fluids.
There were a couple of moments when I felt tears trying to surface but I fought them off. I wasn’t interested in showing weakness. I wanted to hold on to the anger I had been feeling for days. I fumed as I sat in a chair across from the foot of his bed. I know it must have shown on my face and I was sure to express it at one point. “I’m mad at you. You scared me,” I said. The anger could not be hidden. Anger due to the fact that our marriage is far from what I had hoped it would be. Anger due to the fact that I have had to numb myself to the emotional needs that are never met…for fourteen years. Anger due to the fact that He has been at the Rod and Gun Club every night this week and was in fact there this night, binge smoking and drinking beer which has become a normalcy in our life. Anger due to the fact that I’ve become someone I never wanted to be and I can’t blame it all on him. Anger due to the fact that I feel stuck and helpless and hopeless. Anger due to the fact that this has become my life and the only thing that has changed, despite Rick’s repeated promises that change is just around the corner, are my weight gain and age which is slowly creeping up on my forty-two year old face. Anger due to the fact that he doesn’t even have a clue of how upset I have been or how much I struggle on a daily basis no matter how many times I try to tell him. Then again, maybe he does know. He just doesn’t talk.
I could go on but what’s the point? I’m not going anywhere. I do love him and I made a covenant with him and You. I just wish I could have some hope back that things will improve. I just wish that I could be the wife I know You want me to be, Lord. I fall so short. I wish this felt like a marriage instead of an arrangement. Despite the tension that seems to regularly occur between us, we are friends and know each other rather well…but don’t friends even hug once in a while? I hate that this is where we are and I don’t want this to be the extent of all it will ever be on this earth; I want the more abundant life You speak of. But, yes, I’m glad he is okay. Thank You, Jesus, that Rick is okay.
Please Lord Jesus, help me persevere and get through the trial, refined and triumphant.
After reading this back to myself today I came to the realization that I have to forgive my husband. It seems obvious to me now after reading all the resentments I have towards him…not sure why I couldn’t see it before. I guess when we hold on to anger it’s hard to see anything else. So now I have to learn how to forgive in the midst of the pain. I understand that I may not “feel” like I have forgiven him but speaking the words out loud carry a lot of weight with my Heavenly Father. The willingness and the action of speaking out the words are important first steps. And I’m sure forgiveness towards Rick may be something I have to practice on a regular basis as I persevere, but I’m convinced the feelings of freedom will be sure to follow in my intentionality.
Heavenly Father, I forgive my husband, Rick, for all that he can’t give me. I forgive him for all the things he does that anger me. I don’t want this anger anymore. Please forgive me for holding onto this anger, these resentments, and bitterness. I give it all up to you. Please release me from these strongholds in my life and set me free. Help me to keep a pure heart. Please set Rick free from his strongholds as well. I lift him up to You and ask that You do an amazing work in him and I thank You for him. In Jesus name, Amen.
I actually do feel a bit of a release after doing this. Like a burden I’ve been carrying is no longer there…Who knows what happens in the spiritual realm when we forgive!
Still angry. Still sleeping as long as I can. Skipped church service two weeks in a row so people wouldn’t have to see how miserable I am feeling. This forgiveness thing is a struggle…or maybe the forgiveness and the anger have nothing to do with each other? The frustration is real.