Monday, June 8, 2015

Because I know he'll stay.

I read an article today about a man who watched as his wife slowly died of cancer. In the piece, which is really remarkable both for it's laid-bare description of her illness and of his reaction to the loss, he discussed her anger. Her lashing out in frustration and confusion, and how she directed her anger towards him because, his friend told him, "She lashes out at you because she knows you'll stay."

Because I am able to make almost anything about me, narcissist that I am, I read that line and immediately felt this tremendous wave of guilt. This knowing. "I do that."

And I am not dying.

So what the fuck is my excuse?

 (I, me, my, mine..... narcissus, thy name is Daffodil. Oh man, it's all coming together for you right now, isn't it gentle reader?)

The point here is that if I took only one thing away from reading the article, it was not how fucking awful cancer is (but like I said, this article was eye-opening in that respect). I took away a reminder that I am going to carry with me for some time - if not forever - that I need to treat my husband well, every day.

Not because he will stay no matter what, but despite that fact.

My partner is a good man. A tremendous man. An excellent partner, a loving father, and my biggest cheerleader. He deserves to be treated not just with respect, but with kindness. No matter how fucking aggravated I am. No matter how tired, hungry, hot, stressed out or sad I am. No matter how much I need a cup of coffee, or how many loads of laundry I still have to do, or how many planes we still have to board to reach our destination.

No matter what.

This is not about cherishing the ones you love because who knows how much time we have. I get that. And that, quite frankly, doesn't really do it for me. I mean, carpe diem all you like. I am all about it. But to see a simple explanation for behavior that is clearly unnecessary and unhealthy and not a true reflection of myself or my feelings? Well. That one quote nailed it right to the wall for me.

All the same, I don't know what makes me think that this particular article is going to get me to change my passionate, bull-headed, hot-tempered ways. After all, I have seen friends experience the loss of their spouse. While it was shocking and heartbreaking at the time, it was pretty easy - too easy - to slip back into life-as-we-know-it. Which translates into me yelling and waving my hands in the air to express my frustration a great deal of the time. But today, I feel as though some invisible switch has been flipped.

I would so much rather be holding hands, then waving them around in the air.