Can I just say that spending one’s life in a single room really sucks? Can I say that when you do this with your child who has cancer and your wife who is PMSing and yourself who is PMSing, it sucks even worse? Seriously.
J and I have been doing pretty well for awhile. We’ve been working hard on our relationship over the past year, working to find new healthy behaviors, and it has been working well. We’re stronger in some ways than we’ve ever been. Other things we’re still addressing–or were. You see, a child with leukemia changes everything. There is no working on one’s relationship in a hospital room when one person needs to sleep by the child’s side while the other sleeps in a house hosted by a nonprofit almost a mile away–or when nurses and doctors and nurses’ assistants and respiratory therapists and janitors and social workers and med students are coming in and out at all hours of the day and night. It’s really maddening.
When we first got BG’s diagnosis, I couldn’t imagine how people split up during a child’s illness. Now I’m understanding that it happens because an illness like this creates so much distance between a couple, some of it physical, some of it emotional, all of it detrimental. It doesn’t seem fair. But that’s my mantra these days, isn’t it? Nope, none of this is fair. Not one little part of it–well, except for all the beautiful support we’re getting; I really can’t go more than a few minutes without mentioning this–but the rest of it isn’t fair, and I don’t really know how to change that, how to shift the balance. Now I’m beginning to wonder how relationships survive this.
Perhaps one of the biggest issues we’re facing right now is that BG is outright rejecting J on a regular basis. He says to her, “No Mama. I don’t want Mama,” and then turns to me and says, “I need you! Mommy, I need you!” It’s heartbreaking. He lashes out at her physically too. Our theory is that he needs someone safe to be mad at, that she’s that person, and this is yet another of those extraordinarily unfair scenarios. She tries to keep it all in perspective, but I know he also breaks her heart at least once a day. There are those days when he reaches for her readily, but those days are few right now, and I know it’s taking a toll on her. I wish I could fix it, that I could tell him she’s not the one to be mad at, but he doesn’t get that, and he won’t until he’s older. That’s just our reality. All I can really do is step out sometimes, give them their space to find their way again. I’m going to try to spend a night a week at the house where my wife is now to give her an opportunity to feel less like the outsider and me a chance to get some uninterrupted sleep.
These are such tough waters to navigate, and I’m guessing they’re difficult no matter who you are. I hope we can pull from our strengths to get through this.