Month Eighty-Six

Dear Husband,

This was a really hard month for me. And it was particularly hard for me because it was a complete bear for you. It felt like everything went wrong this month. Or rather, you felt like everything was going wrong this month.

For starters, you were sick. Not just man-flu slightly inconvenienced but more like the flu but not quite on your deathbed. You were exhausted and irritable. Very short tempered and somewhat sorry for yourself. Which is never a good place to be because I don’t get it. I mean I try to be sympathetic and helpful but ultimately, I don’t know what to do. Your reactions are completely foreign to me. When I am sick, I want to retreat into my own shell. Don’t touch me, don’t talk to me, leave me alone to get better. You want contact though. You want conversation. You want constant consideration. You want connection. You also reserve the right to be pissed off when you don’t get it and frequently, I don’t deliver.

It is of course not that I don’t care. I do. But its not on my radar to behave as I would believe to be out of character because I don’t want those things. And not only do I not want those things but I don’t place the same importance on circumstances as you do. Like the water situation. Our sunroom has been one long continuous saga of rivers across the floor when it rains and drought (which is the proper state of affairs for an indoors space) when it doesn’t. You have been doing a marvellous job of trying to progress the resolution with both the builder and the insurance company but it has been taking its toll. More than you realise. I know it frustrates you completely beyond measure but you also get angry. And not just at the situation or even just at third parties. So it was like adding insult to injury when this month, not only were we dealing with a river down one end of the house, we ended up with a pond up the other. You totally lost it.

After all that talk of reclaiming the bedroom last month, Elliot ended up back in our room for what felt like an indefinite period of time. Which probably just added to the stress that you were already going through. Stress that kept you up late at night watching tv then subsequently falling asleep on the couch until I woke you after one of Elliot’s night feeds. Stress that kept you tense and struggling to maintain your game face. Stress that was unfortunately added to by our car. Here was yet again another thing that was not as it should be and nobody could tell you why. You take the car in for what should be routine work but then you come out with another problem that doesn’t present for anyone but you. It was not a pretty sight. And then there was playgroup.

This was the culmination of months of dreaming and planning and petitioning and prepping. It was late nights taken up with tasks not in your wheelhouse and the constant feeling that you were going it alone. I know that rationally you could see that others were playing a part and that we were not without some tangible forms of support during this time but emotionally, you were not in that space. You couldn’t see the wood for the trees. If that makes sense? Probably not.

Emotionally, you told me you felt as if you were way out in front, trying to run slow enough that others weren’t left behind – or perhaps that was so you could drag us with you. You were swimming upstream. Trying to sow seed on solid ground. You told me you felt alone and you were struggling and it was devastating you. I have mentioned before that you often have two emotional states: everything is fine and my world is falling apart. Which would be fair enough up to a point if you reserved my world is falling apart for someone died or I can’t put three meals a day on the table for my family – not something just fell on my finger and damnit, it hurt.

Again, I just don’t understand. Like you cannot comprehend my seeming lack of a suitable reaction, I cannot make sense of what feels like an overreaction. Everywhere I looked I was hearing stories of people flying across the country to pay vigil at the bedside of a sick parent or other real tragedies and here we were in a nice house and relative good health with friends. Now I can accept that as good as things are for us, they are quite possibly as shit as they have ever been and our displeasure in that state of affairs should not be negated. I also know that you were sick of the Christian response to problems of everything happens for a reason or maybe its part of the plan. You just wanted someone to commiserate with you. Someone to just go yep, it sucks to be you…You wanted things you never told anyone else.

You want people to offer help off their own bat without you telling them what you need. If they were really your friends, they’d know, right? Except, I hate to break it to you, I’ve been married to you for over 7 years and I don’t know how to respond to you when you are in this headspace. Everything I said to you regarding our state of affairs was wrong. Everything. At least it felt that way. If I was responding it was patronising or irritating or stating the obvious or otherwise not helpful at all. If I didn’t respond, I was too wrapped up in myself and being insensitive. It felt like I couldn’t win. It felt like you were sinking deeper and I couldn’t do anything about it. I even started questioning whether you were beginning to fall into a spiral of depression. I’d ask myself when you would go and lie down in bed in the middle of the day if you were just tired and trying to recuperate or running away. I felt like I was letting you down because I can’t be the person you need me to be. I still do a bit.

The reality is, you may be way out in front trailblazing away because that is the type of person you are. Its not the person I am though. And to allow you that freedom, I totally have your back and can manage the kids and the house but I will never be right beside you doing that, I’ll always be behind you instead. And I know I’m not the best at communicating this with you either. I dislike confrontation and when you snap, I will sometimes withdraw. Ok, I usually withdraw. When I feel out of my depth, I hope you will be in a better frame of mind later and you are none the wiser that I am honestly concerned. I’m sorry if I don’t try hard enough…

To end on a positive note though. Despite all the stress leading up to the playgroup, at least so far, it has been a rip roaring success. Plenty of people have shown up and praised your efforts. As well they might cause everything was pretty awesome I thought. Of course, you hate the limelight and many of them have no idea that you are the playgroup and the whole thing has been your brainchild but it has been wonderful to see it so well received.

It was also wonderful to see you embrace your silly side at the circus. You got us front row seats for the opening night of Cirque Africa which in turn allowed you to get picked for audience participation. You were to mime being a band member and a guitarist no less and you hammed it up beautifully which was great. I know in your head that was purely for Genevieve’s benefit so that she would see it is ok get up and have a go but you got past your own head to do it and I know that. I also know that you were reluctant to let me publish the photos but you acquiesced to one of them so that was cool too.


Patiently yours,

Your Loving Wife


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