Yesterday Mike and I were married for 22 years. This year, more than past, I had a difficult time dealing with the day. The night before I was dreading the day and I walked around pretty much all of yesterday in a funk. Maybe it's because of how difficult things have been lately, but for whatever reason, this anniversary made me much sadder than previous years.
We still have no washing machine so I spent my anniversary in the laundromat (the repairman came last week, but needed to order a part. He will be coming back on Tuesday). This is not at all where I pictured we would be back on that beautiful day 22 years ago. The future I had hoped for is no longer possible.
Brandon has also been having a difficult time with everything lately and I worry about him. I believe the reality of being a senior in high school and that he will be going off to college next September has really hit him. I also believe it's been hurting him even more when he realizes just how much of his life his dad has missed. The other day he said to me, "mom it's been almost 10 years. I was 7 when dad got sick!" That single statement put so much in prospective for me. I remembered when I was 17 and my parents divorced - I felt like my world had collapsed around me. I shared that thought with Brandon and he said to me, "at least you had both your parents until you were 17".. wow.. I began to second guess myself and the decision to keep Mike at home. Both Courtney and Brandon CONSTANTLY tell me that they wouldn't have it any other way, but did they realize at 7 & 9 years of age what they would have to sacrifice? Should I have made an executive decision to override their wishes? Once again I think about the two other woman who were in the same situation as I was. They took a different route - they divorced their husbands, placed them in assisted living facilities and remarried. Their children have countless opportunities that mine will never have. Just the other day Courtney went to the "study abroad" fair at school. She would love to study film in England. Her one friend from high school will be studying abroad in Italy for the second time next semester. Courtney just wants to go once, yet when she heard the fee was $17,000.00 PLUS, she knew it was impossible. I asked her to check and see if her financial aide and student loans could be applied but she doesn't believe so, but will be check it out anyway. Meanwhile one of the children in the other family has been to Europe twice. Once as part of a Student Ambassador program, the other with her family.
Brandon said to me, "mom something good HAS to happen soon". My heart broke for him. They see our family doing all the "right" things, but sinking deeper and deeper every day while those who took a different route (whether right or wrong) and chose not to devote their life to caring for their spouse, being rewarded.
"Faith" - I tell Brandon, and I explain to him how much I have been struggling lately.
Then it hits me, it's been 5 years since the kids and I have been on a vacation - I mean a REAL vacation. We have taken "trips" to DC and Pennsylvania, but with all the running around we did, I would hardly call them a "vacation". RESPITE - something imperative that we do not get. Five years of 24/7 caregiving with no rest and I believe we have finally reached our breaking point. Sad part is, there's no way for us to change that situation. I feel better knowing that we haven't "given up" and it's the simple fact that we are all tired, spent, worn out from giving so much yet not being able to rejuvinate ourselves. It could also be a contributing factor in why we have been arguing alot more lately.
Courtney is 19 and Brandon is 17 - they are teenagers. Teenagers who never had their dad the way most children do. Children who have devoted their lives to caring for their dad, when it should have been their dad caring for them.