When you're going through something that involves the whole family, it becomes very tricky to talk about who's struggling through what without slandering someone. This is why I don't write very often. But I could definitely find something to say every. single. day. And it would be easier when I write my book to just go back to my blog posts and glean information rather than try to sort out the giant junk drawer that is my brain. I really do want to write a book some day, but that is ambitious considering the fact that I don't know if I'll make it through each day alive, let alone the number of days, months, and years it may take to "go through" whatever you would like the call the challenge we're having in these parts.
Let me sum up:
Financially: Money is tight. We filed for bankruptcy and have our final hearing on June 3 - yeah! Now we have no credit (yeah?) and no source of emergency money - boo! Also, the kids and I will be dumped off of Al's insurance in July - boo. I shouldn't say that in such a negative way. His Long-Term Disability coverage through his company has been more than generous in covering our entire family for 2 1/2 years. But it's still another financial unknown.
Therapy: Not really happening. The big guy is discouraged. Or disillusioned. Not sure which. He is getting a new switch put into his electrostim sleeve, which will allow him to grasp an object at will, so that may be a helpful start. It's still hard for him to look past the fact that he has to have a bionic arm to do the work for him. Walking is still functional, but at a minimum in terms of stamina. He came with us to the kids' science fair at school and had to sit down most of the time. A week later, the girls and I went to the East Lansing Art Festival without the boys, and I felt nostalgic for the times when Al was able to join us on such family ventures. I get a little choked up thinking, "He may never come sledding with us again," or "we may never go camping again."
The good news is that Al is finally back in the driver's seat with the SOS stamp of approval, and with the additional help of a turn signal adaptor and spinner knob. Turns out it's illegal for me to use the knob, so I'll just have to drive my own car. Too bad, it looks like fun!
I am in the ever-present state of feeling overwhelmed. Too much to handle and not enough brain or time. I work 2-3 days a week, do the laundry & dishes, get the groceries and gas, clean the house (on occasion, at least), try to be a parent to 4 - sometimes 5 - kids. Not intending too much offense - I suspect that most married women would lump their husbands in with the kids on occasion, too!
I'm trying to "help" Al with a new budget, too, but from the look on his face I have just bewildered him. I just want to figure out how to live within a budget. We always thought we did it before, but we really didn't. We had X amount of money budgeted for groceries, for example. I would buy the groceries. And maybe a hanging plant or two. And some new sandals. Oh and we needed a new trash can for the kitchen. So when the grocery money was out, I would just ask for more, and my husband would make it appear. Now, I am obsessively aware of where every last penny is going, and it's not fun yet. I was hoping it would ease my anxiety about bankruptcy, but it hasn't. I'm a control freak. So when I budget something, I simply cannot tolerate a $350 fix on the shower that wasn't in my budget to begin with! Al would have handled it differently, but he is graciously letting me get involved so theoretically, if I see where the money all goes, I can have more peace about it.
Finally, I would say I've never experienced a time like this in our marriage before. Marriage was always very easy for me. I adored my husband (and I still do). I found it easy to speak well of him, and I did that regularly, often to people's surprise, since so many women bad-mouth their boys. I had fun with him, and I trusted him. I'm writing all of these things in the past tense, not because they're not true any more, but just to try to demonstrate how easy marriage was for me. Since the stroke, marriage has become difficult. Exceedingly difficult. Not difficult as in we're signing divorce papers or anything. We continually reassure each other that we're committed to each other for life. But our roles, responsibilities, and even our personalities have been changed, and we are learning how to love and be loved as new people. I don't exactly know how to be a wife to a man who isn't the provider in the way he used to be and wants to be. I don't know how much to push him to go beyond what he's comfortable doing - will he fall (literally or figuratively), or will he succeed and be thankful that I gave him that nudge? How much do I force him to do, entrust him with? And how much do I choose to do, not grudgingly, but because I want to serve my husband and family?
If you're still reading, thanks for being with me. I don't have many people that I talk to in depth about these things, but it's good to get some catharsis from time to time.