Friday, July 11, 2014

Marriage 601, Lecture 763: After I'm gone

So I just finished reading this book called "Stars Go Blue" by Laura Pritchett and you guys need to read this book now. It is not very long but it will make you cry and cry and cry. It's about an older couple. The husband has Alzheimer's. Their daughter was murdered by her husband a few years before. It's told from both the husband's and the wife's point of view. The wife gets very frustrated with the husband because of his disease and of course because this is not the life she imagined. That's all I'm going to say except it is very good.

So I was reading the book and crying at the end - it is that kind of book - and SH saw me crying. SH never reads fiction. Wait. He has read three works of fiction since we met: "The Kite Runner" while we were flying from Morocco to the US, "The Gathering Storm" when we were on vacation, and then the books our friend from college Jeff Abbott writes. He has read one and a half of Jeff's recent books and refuses to read more until Mila and Sam sleep together.

SH doesn't get being moved by fiction. He gets cranky about non-fiction and political stuff,  but I try to avoid those conversations with him and with everyone. There are enough things to talk about without beating the dead horse of political opinions that are impervious to change.

But I was moved. I saw our future together. I will be old and probably healthy for a long time, because although I got the chubby thigh/flat chest/facial bones that don't age well/can't accessorize genes, I also got the live until I am 96 genes.

SH, on the other hand, does not have the best of genes, although part of his mother's problem is that she was a long-term smoker.

That said, so was my Granma Sylvia and she lived to 96. So smoking isn't the only thing.

Anyhow, I was thinking about SH and being old with him and worrying about his perhaps having poor health and my having to take care of him.

My family had a friend who had Alzheimer's. The worst part about it was that Mr S knew he had it and alternated between lucidity and confusion. During his lucid moments, he would sit with Mrs S to show her all the financial stuff and the house stuff and everything he had handled over the years. His last lucid thoughts were of how to make life easier for his wife. Mrs S is a nurse and did everything she could to care for Mr S, but eventually she had to put him in assisted care.

But SH was vacuuming the house while I was thinking this and I was feeling particularly warm toward him because I hate vacuuming and am so glad that he has taken over that responsibility. I come home to a house where the  bed is made and the dishes have been done and I don't have to vacuum, which is not too shabby, although of course I would prefer it if SH did even more of the chores, but poco a poco is what I say.

So with this warmth and emotion, I began a conversation.

Me: Even if you get Alzheimer's, I won't stop loving you.

SH: If I get Alzheimer's, you may take a lover.

Me: I don't want a lover!

SH: But you could. That's what I'm saying.

Me: But that's not what I would miss about you!

SH: But you could. You might start to miss it.

Me: I would miss your companionship. I wouldn't miss your being annoying, but I would miss you.

SH: You might want a lover. I wouldn't want you to be stuck with me and not have that kind of companionship.

Me: Oh! OK. If I get Alzheimer's, then you may have a lover.

SH: OK.


1 comment:

webb said...

Am with you on both the fiction, and facing the possibility of caring for an ill husband. It's a difficult reality, but one you are wise enough to think about now and then.

But who the heck wants to have to break in a new lover late in life? with post- menopausal belly THAT ain't gonna happen!!