January 29, 2017 Sunday
Sacred Sunday, that’s usually what Sundays are for. Chris doesn’t work, we go out to breakfast and we just do a lot of nothing.
This Sacred Sunday is different. No money to eat out after getting the carry-out and breakfast yesterday. We start off with yoga and then I made a modest breakfast. No groceries, remember? Melissa and Cathy were coming today and I was super excited…then not.
No one in my circle will ever tell you I am a good housekeeper. I’m not awful, but it is not on my list of priorities. I like things clean, but they can be messy, if that makes sense. Dishes get done everyday. Toilets scrubbed when there are ‘visibles’. Sinks get scrubbed when there is a layer of soap residue and too many toothpaste tracks. My tub (yes, mine, I am the only one who uses it) gets scrubbed before I get in if there is scum of any kind. My vacuuming, dusting, floor washing etc…that gets done if I’m having planned company.
None of that has happened in awhile, so I made haste to tidy up just a bit before Melissa and Cathy arrived. Chris kept telling me not to worry about it, but I had to do something. I mean, the place was a mess by even my standards! I rushed to do as much as I could and get in the shower before they came. In my speed cleaning, they had to let themselves in because I didn’t hear their knock over the vacuum cleaner.
When they said they were going to be stocking our fridge they meant it; with every item the thought instilled into it was evident. They didn’t just bring food they brought garbage bags, toilet paper and paper towels. They didn’t just bring food to make they brought food already prepared. They kept in mind that I am gluten intolerant and that Chris, though he loves his sugar, shouldn’t have so much.
They bought things that go together so that with a few variations I could make several different kinds of meals. And they brought enough to last awhile. As I put away item after item I was overcome with the realization that I could’ve never done this. I really could not have gone to the grocery store and made all these decisions. I just don’t have the capacity for such things right now. I had just spent a week making decisions about how to get Chris to cooperate when he wasn’t inclined to; what to do instead of physical therapy; where we are going to get his meds; what doctor can we get to manage the meds.
Groceries, as small as it sounds was too much. Way too much. The next time such a tragedy strikes a friend of mine, and if we are in the financial space to do it, this is what I’m going to do for them. Seriously, the gift of not having to make any of those decisions was bigger than the value of the groceries themselves.
In some ways I had it easier when Chris was in the hospital. I would go home to the house and could just let down my guard a little. Yes, always running in the background was the worry that the phone was going to ring with the news that he’d had another stroke, but when I was home, I wasn’t responsible. I didn’t have to be on guard, ask questions, seek answers, alert nurses, listen to doctors, retain information etc…
Now, I was the nurse, the wait staff, the housekeeper, the doctor, the social worker, the wife, the friend, the personal care aide, the empathizer, the cook, the dishwasher, the dog walker and the woman in love.
It was all on me. There was no call button for him to bring in support. There was no automatic delivery of meds. No bedside therapy services. And no food delivery with just a phone call.
It was all me.