I debated whether to share this in a blog, save it for my book, or simply keep it to myself. After thinking about it a few days, and talking it over with Steve, here it is.
As a caregiver, I found myself struggling with, "How do I address my needs from a relationship standpoint with Steve, when he's fighting for his life." Half of me would think, "Okay Hope shove this inside," and the other half, is just unable to fake anything in life, and would end up with little outbursts of true feelings coming out.
Of course this internal back and forth went on for some time, but always my truth would come out, whether in frustration with Steve needing me, to frustration for others needing me. Here's the truth, I was struggling with having a husband who had too little energy for a chat, or to have conversations at all aside from him communicating things he needed from me; but I would see him have energy to scroll through TV or chat with strangers on his sports sites.
If you've followed Steve and I long enough, spent more than just a few hours a year with us, watched our documentary, or even know a little about relationships; you probably already know that we aren't what appears to others on the outside, that perfect love story. Yes, we are my favorite love story, and some days we are that love and joy people see so much of from us; but other days we are screams, tears, and mean words; quickly coming to beg for forgiveness. We love hard, and cut deep because we know how. No matter where we stand that day, however, I still show up. So not hashing out what is truly bothering me, and brushing it off, as frustrations of the day, led to this.
I began resenting Steve for needing me.
Before y'all starting throwing the "Bitch" word at me, let me say this. Yes, Iwhile 've struggled for over a year with thinking, "I am a bitch he can't help but need me, what's wrong with me?"
What was wrong with me, was I was trying to shove all that was bothering me in; so deep into my soul, to the point where it effected my very being. My technique of ignoring my needs, struggles; hoping they would disappear led to this.
A month ago, I reached my explosion. Where I just let Steve have it all, all that I had been hiding deep down. I basically said, "I could leave right now and not look back, if I didn't feel so committed to you."
Yeah yeah, I know that B word is coming up again for y'all, trust me I'm there with you.
We are at a point in our world where we can no longer pretend everything's perfect. True in the end things turn out okay, and holding onto that feeling helps; but it doesn't stop you from having to address what's not okay in this moment.
Recognizing that gives us permission to speak our truths, and makes the really hard things in life work and mold into something epic.
If it's not a challenge, there's a chance it's not real. It's either not your real path, real feelings, real life. I don't want to participate in the "fake" anymore. I deeply love Steve, and it's that love, that pulls us through the rocky times. I know my taking care of Steve is much bigger than Steve or myself at this point, and I also know that moments of being deeply unhappy, are there to show us something. Not to try to hide in the depths of our being.
Just as Steve and I constantly fuel up to warrior on against ALS, we also do it for our love, and despite whatever dark we go through, we won't stop heading to that light. The very amazing Martin Luther King Jr. said it best, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light an do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
Now cracked wide open for Steve to see all of it, light can get in, to heal what I've been putting off for too long. It can heal me, it can heal Steve (let's be honest I've been making him feel like a burden, because I resented him for too long), and it can heal us.
Ignoring the problem, doesn't make it go away, it makes it messy. So here we are in our mess. It's a beautiful mess though, one that is bringing us lessons we need. Which is why I know it's important, and this blog is important. Because it's real.
Real life is what's important.