December 12, 2012

He Struggles Too

This is my blog, named after me. This is where I write about life from my perspective.

My feelings, thoughts, revelations and struggles.

Also the light-hearted, fun, whimsical stuff.

But the meat of of it all is the REAL, somewhat intense stuff I share. That I NEED to express lest it bore a hole into my soul.

I talk about my husband Mark a lot. That is because he is chronically ill and everything that entails is difficult and unique, and talking about what we go through is therapeutic for me, and might help others.

What I have either failed to see for so long, or been in denial about, is that Mark has his own set of struggles. His own angst, fears, worries and trauma.

Mark is a man, so it can be very hard to see it. Men are not known for wearing their hearts on their sleeves. They are not known for being able to express themselves and their emotions.

Males are taught to suck it up, to be tough, not to cry, to hold it together. For as much as many women say they want a "sensitive" man, I've found that it can actually be disconcerting when a man cries. If we're really honest, we want them to be the tough ones, the rocks.

Mark has always been a "trooper". Positive and upbeat, a believer in "this too shall pass" and "they haven't found a way to kill me yet". He makes ER visits somehow fun. Despite his many health problems, Mark has always been able to make light, to find the funny, live in the moment and focus on the good.

There comes a point, however, when even a man can't "just hold it together" anymore, when he needs to express some shit too.

Since last March when Mark experienced arrhythmia and we thought he might be dying, the two of us have had some very frank and HARD talks. Talks during which I try to shut up about my own feelings a little bit, instead trying to draw him out. He really tries not to let me, but I stay quiet because I know he'll fill the silence. He often thinks what's bothering him is some inconsequential thing, but it turns out to really boil down to his health and mortality. Every fucking thing comes back to that!

Mark doubts that he is enough man because his body gives him such a hard time. He thinks he should be doing something more for the kids. He worries he's a burden. He wonders if it's worth it and he wonders about the afterlife. He wants to know what it's like after we die because he's scared.

I sit and listen to these things, my heart breaking. I reassure him that WE LOVE HIM WITH ALL OUR HEARTS, the kids are fine, he does enough and that I feel pretty certain he doesn't need to worry about what will happen to him after he dies.

It's all the truth. I think it helps some. But I don't really know. If these things needle at him even half as much as my crap needles at me....

All I can go on is what I see and feel. It comes and goes. Mostly comes. I think about some aspect of all of this every single day. I'm sure Mark does too.

It's hard. It sucks. It sucks hard.

Life itself doesn't suck and that is what we both cling to. We continue to make light, to find the funny, live in the moment and focus on the good. We laugh at each other and giggle with our kids. Shitty thoughts come and we will them away.

I implore Mark to not let the bad stuff win. We can't let it win.

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