About a week ago I said that I had realised that maybe I should be writing a bit more about the effects of my illness on my relationships, especially the most important one between Adam and I, when I wrote that I didn’t realise just how front and center of every second of my waking day our relationship was suddenly going to become. Before I write anything about that though, I need to write a little about Adam himself, don’t cringe dear, it’s all good.
When I started writing my blog Adam was totally horrified to realise just how open and how much of myself I was prepared to just pour out here online, to him, my need and ability to do so were totally alien. Like many people, especially men in my experience, talking freely about thoughts, feelings and the effect they have, just isn’t something Adam really has ever done and without him saying anything there have been many times that I know I have written things that he must have cringed at, but that is just one of the great differences between me and him and also male and female. I have to admit that I have been guilty of occasionally writing things in here, as a way of getting him to either talk about it or in some cases do something about it, but mainly talk. We have always been able to talk for long periods about absolutely nothing, but neither of us have been great at talking about the things that matter. The more he refused to talk about us, rather than the world, the less I pushed and I learned to just let him be, as it was him and he was happy.
When I was first diagnosed clearly there was a long period of adjustments and new patterns were settled into our lives to allow for it, although I have to admit that I wasn’t that good at involving Adam in my medical care at all at that point. I had spent nearly my entire life standing on my own two feet since the age of 13, so the idea that I would bring someone with me to a doctor’s appointment, seemed mad, in fact it never entered my mind that he might even want to be there. I wasn’t hiding anything as I told him everything when I got home, I just didn’t see a need for him to be actually there. For me, having to bring Adam to a hospital appointment now, still feels odd but as we both now know, I can’t manage something like that alone, so slowly in the past few years he has become more and more involved and I can see it was what he had wanted all along. I guess in some ways that is the only thing that I have noticed where our age difference makes a difference, I come from the independent age of the 60’s and 70’s, combined with the upbringing of the 30’s and 40s, where your health was yours and yours alone and men never even wanted to know if their wives were ill, life for them just went on and we as wives just continued without question or complaint. Adam is from the much more enlightened generation, where they want to be involved in everything that happens to their wives and the word partnership means something. Having said all that, whenever I have asked how he is, the answer is always the same, “it’s you not me that is ill”. Some who have read for awhile, may well have picked up on a lot of this, for others I hope I have filled in a few blanks as to why I mention, but rarely truly write about Adam as a person, I know he just wouldn’t really like me writing about him in great detail, that is a trust that I am not going to break anytime soon. Clearly I am building up to something, well I am but not what you might think.
There wasn’t some earth-shattering event or something that made it happen on Sunday, but Adam and I started to talk about things we have both skated around for far too long. I had just published my post for the day and I was busy sending out my daily tweets, when suddenly he came across to my desk and asked if he could have a cuddle, nothing odd there, but this time he didn’t let go and didn’t seem to want to go anywhere either. We started to talk and it all went from there, we talked all day right through until I went to bed and on into Monday and yesterday as well. I did say on Sunday in my post that he isn’t very well, despite that he had gone into work on Monday and even went in on Tuesday morning but was sent home and is now on sick leave. It might be just because he wasn’t feeling well or maybe it had all been playing on his mind, but I don’t remember us ever talking like we have done in the last few days and for the first time, nothing is taboo. Those walls we had both built up in a hope of protecting each other are tumbling hour by hour and we are finding inside them a lot of pain on both sides and a lot of love as well. It is odd how love makes us build these stupid walls that we put there with all the right intentions only to find that what we are walling in, is ourselves rather than protecting anything or anyone. Thanks to my health, I know I have made excuses to myself for things that shouldn’t have ever happened, changes that appeared in our lives and we both just let happen, without realising it has been putting more stress on him than I had ever tried to protect him from and no, it isn’t all on my side, but as I said, he is private person and trusts me and that won’t be broken.
Just as Adam and I have smashed apart a million bricks, I am also smashing apart for everyone’s sakes the walls that stopped me from writing the finer lines of emotion that have been missing from here so far. I may have said many times that chronic illness isn’t just about the person who is ill, but I have never really taken it much past that, other than the odd comment, not have I either explained the stresses it put on a marriage, probably because I was avoiding a lot of the truth myself. So there is a lot of history to be covered and a lot more to come in our future, as I had already said before we started to talk, relationships change and are affected hugely regardless of which side of the partnership that is ill, or what illness it is they are both living with the daily fallout.
Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 21/01/13 – Pain right NOW!