How can you hold onto resentments when someone’s health isn’t at its best, when someone’s lost a loved one or when human tragedy has touched someone? It’s hard, and when it happens all at once, you start looking outside your own picture.
My lover is in terrible pain with an abscess in his tooth, claiming that it’s the second worst pain he’s ever experienced. It’s hard for him to eat, hard for him to lie down and painkillers give him mild relief, but nothing so much as to take away the pain completely. I worry so much about him being so far away and not being able to help him. He tried to see an endodonist to get it checked out, they called him in too late for him to make the 3 hour drive in time, so he has to wait another 24 hours.
In the meanwhile, he is at home with his wife for the first time in over a week, and she has a bad knee plus is the primary carer for her dying mother in their home. They are afraid the mother won’t make it through to the weekend, a long weekend where most their family and some friends will be coming over for a few days. Even though I usually resent the wife for just being ‘the wife’, I do actually feel sorry for her at this time. She has a lot on her plate emotionally to deal with, and I’m sure the physical pain isn’t helping either.
Before I knew about the state of the mother-in-law, I told my lover that I would be on the next plane to see him to look after him – be his chauffeur while he’s on a cocktail of medication, massage out his bodily aches, prepare meals for him that are easy to eat and jokingly suggested that this weekend would be a good time to introduce me as his ‘lover’ to his family. Even though I explained that it was a joke about the family introduction, but not a joke that I would look after him if I didn’t have legal issues to deal with, he told me that he’s dreamed of the day that he could actually introduce me to everyone, because I mean so much to him. It touched my heart that the thought has crossed his mind. I told him that there will be a day that it will happen, but it won’t happen this weekend, it’s not fair on his wife…
So even though he is in physical pain with his tooth and the emotional pain associated with the verge of losing a family member and needing to be strong to console his wife when she needs him most, he still has time to dedicate his love for me and show me that I have a very special place in his heart, at a time for me where I’m on a path to uncertainty with my own financial and legal situation through a bitter divorce.
It’s funny though, but I seem to have more compassion for his family and their situations that I do my own family. My parents are people who tend to hide their illnesses and physical incompetencies because they are essentially too proud to tell people, don’t want to be fussed about and despise others who sound woeful about their aches and pains. My boys have their school concert this week and my parents agreed to come and my older sister said she will take them for reasons unknown to me. But today, my sister has reneged on the concert because she has been given a better offer to do something she’s always dreamed of doing, and asked me to take care of my Dad. My Dad has emphysema (never smoked a day in his life), and struggles to walk any lengths, especially at night in the cold air, so essentially needs to be picked up and dropped off outside the concert hall door, rather than walk through the carpark. It surprised me when she told me, as I didn’t think it was that bad, because neither Mum nor Dad have told me. So am I less compassionate because I haven’t been told by the source? I don’t know, but there just seems to be a lot of information that my family are afraid to reveal to me, making me feel less like I’m part of the family. I appreciate that my parents are making the effort to come to my boys’ concert, I just don’t understand why they are so secretive about their weaknesses, especially when they reveal it to others.
That’s what love does… for my lover, it brings us closer together in unexpected and most profound ways, and my family it makes me question my role in it.