ML and I have been through a lot together. We’ve suffered and battled through difficult times, and it’s made us stronger. Yes, we’ve had rare moments that very nearly tore us apart, but we’re still here and standing strong together.
But this, this strange time is different. Family illness has separated us in the past, but we got through it. We’ll get through this as well, but we are suffering.
ML is working through this pretty much on his own. I am of little to no help. I’m barely keeping my head above water. I’m shit at looking after myself properly and find myself slipping effortlessly into darkness. I’m struggling to sleep, to keep myself fed, hydrated and clean, to keep Milly fed, hydrated and clean. Such simple tasks, but my sick body and mind don’t do well on their own.
I miss him. I want to help him. I’m watching him watch his parents’ decline. I’ve been there. It’s horrible. You’re suddenly faced with parents who stop being the carers and become people who require care. You stand back and watch as the light dims just a little everyday.
We should have been better prepared. We should have had a plan in place. We’d discussed possibilities, but hadn’t put anything in motion. We failed. And now we’re scrambling.
I say we, but all I’m doing is lifting the burden of my care just enough so ML can concentrate on finding a way to keep his Mum and Dad safe and happy. All I can do is assure him I’m fine and provide emotional support.
That too has been hard. All of this has brought feelings and regrets screaming back. I didn’t handle the loss of my parents well. It was a very dark time for me, and when it was all over, I fell down a deep dark hole.
I fear the same will happen to ML. He adores his parents. My relationship with my Mom and Dad was difficult at best. Their passing filled me with regrets – years spent being angry and lonely. ML hasn’t felt that. I’m hoping the fact that there is a great deal of love between them will bring him some peace. I’m yet to find mine.
I love his parents too. They have been wonderful to me. They love me as one of their own. Watching them grow small and weak has been horrible. And there’s nothing I can do. I occasionally sit with Mum allowing ML a small window of time to run errands and attend appointments. It’s a tiny thing, but even that makes me tired. I can imagine how exhausted ML is.
I want to hold him and tell him everything will be OK. I want to let him sleep for hours and cook him good nourishing meals. I want him to not have to go through this. I’m hoping for miracles and coming up with nothing. There is no one who will take his hand and lead him through this. He’s on his own and so am I.
Will we survive this? Of course we will. Will we come through this unscathed? Probably not. It will leave a mark and it will change us. But I have enough faith in our love and commitment to each other to know we’ll be fine.
And I’m grateful.