Say It Scared

“I’m not sure how much longer I can do this…”

My very soul-worn Hubs uttered these words to me with his voice trembling + lips quivering.

I stood in our concrete basement transferring clothes from the washer to the dryer, then slowly trying to fold shirts, pants + my thong underwear (we know that’s not possible) as I took in his unsteady words.

I knew exactly what he was saying.

You could see it on his exhausted face.

My Hub’s nightly routine of getting up with my dad (not even his own flesh and blood) as he made sure this spry old guy made it to the bathroom without incident, hoping dad didn’t piss all over the floor or shit himself (because dad likes to use my Hubs favorite t-shirt to wipe down what looks like a giant chocolate bar exploded on him).

The daily stress of me – his wife – who was torn between wanting to escape a preschooler who rivals any ounce of rebel I thought I was and my favorite person in the whole world (The Vic/my dad) and all that entailed of dad’s raging dementia.

Yet simultaneously knowing this time period we’re in is temporary and it would literally kill me softly (or swiftly depending on the day) to see dad in a nursing home.

They call caregiving for Alzheimer’s the longest day.

And let me tell ‘ya those were some long-ass days.

I felt like I was floating between where I was and where I wanted to be.  

So when the Hubs utters, “I’m not sure how much longer I can do this…”

I knew it took every cell + atom in him to spew those words to me.

I only recall two other times in our marriage where we had a come-to-sweet-baby-Jesus talk like that and this one would make the third time.

But that’s what we do in our marriage –

We talk.

We communicate.

We say the brutal things that need to be said.

We don’t shirk the truth – we lay it all out like a toddler with toys; scattered everywhere and it’ll take some time for everything to find its way back home.

Because it eventually does.

My response to him letting me know he didn’t know how much longer he could do this caregiving thing, this stressful life thing, this holy-shit-I-had-no-idea-this-could-be-so-fucking-difficult thing was my equally heart-tearing yet filled to the brim, truth…

I let him off the hook – the “hook” of our marriage.

The “hook” of staying in this craziness of caregiving right now that had no foreseeable end in sight.

Because I couldn’t see beyond what was right in front of me.

He spoke his truth + I spoke mine.

Neither were easy to hear.

Neither made sense to the other.

Neither had euphoric solutions.

Speaking our truth – out loud + with purpose – allowed us to know the page each of us were on at that moment.

It also allowed us to choose what page we wanted to turn, what story we wanted to write or not write or what chapter of a book we wanted to open or close.

Truth gave us a blank slate.

We both stood there with figurative quill’s in our hand and began scribbling out what we each were willing to accept – or not accept – individually and together.

In true Hubs fashion – he bent…a lot.

He chose flexibility because he was able to hover above all the mirk and clouds I was flailing in with caregiving and being a mom to a tiny tyrant and trying to think about what I wanted from my life.

He saw glimpses of the future I couldn’t see because I was IN THE THICK OF LIFE RIGHT NOW (all caps for intensity, please).  

“Like I’ve said before, I’d rather be in hell with you than be in heaven without you and if this is our hell right now, I want to be in it with you.”

(Yes, cue the watery eyeballs and all the feels).

I don’t know if we could’ve come to that point if we didn’t speak our scary truth.

…If we didn’t say the hard thing.

…If we didn’t accept that the scattered toys may go back to different homes.

But I like playing hard and fast Truth Ball…

Because I’d much rather step up to the plate and know where the Truth Ball is going to land (is it a pop-fly? Grounder? Swing + miss? Outfielder? Or is this baby a home run?)…

Than playing some T-Ball with the hope I actually get one ball off the ground.

What kind of ball do you want to play?

Love + Stepping Up To The Plate,