For My Boyfriend

It takes a strong, patient, loving and kind man to have a girlfriend with chronic pain, a history of abuse and numerous mental health issues.

When I met my boyfriend Steven on June 3rd, 2018, I had no idea that we’d end up in a relationship. What were the chances that my FIRST DATE in over 15 years would introduce me to the man that I’d fall in love with?

It was a shock and quite a surprise. To both of us, might I add.

Things haven’t been as smooth as buttermilk, though. I’m easily triggered and due to this, I’d convince myself time and again that he was also abusive; that I’m only able to attract toxic men.

I was so afraid to let my guard down and allow him to get too close.

I’ll sometimes think that there’s no way that he truly loves me, because how could anyone?

I’m poor, on disability, experience depressive episodes, have recurring anxiety attacks and I’m often unable to go anywhere because I’m just too fatigued or in pain because fibromyalgia is an asshole.

On those days, he comes over and we play Pac-Man. Or we’ll cuddle up on the couch and watch TV together.

He plays with my hair and kisses me on the forehead. We both enjoy the little things in life and that makes me happy.

He also brings me food and in return, I love to cook for him as often as I can.

He’s the opposite of what I’d grown so accustomed to.

He’s reliable. Honest. He’s respectful of my distaste for overtly sexual talk. He’s affectionate and holds my hand in public. He even pushes me in my transport chair when we go someplace where there’s a lot of walking involved, without any complaint.

It gave my mother some peace knowing that I had him in my life now. They got along well and I’m glad that they were able to meet before she passed away.

He carried her casket.

He also has a strong faith in God, which is extremely important to me.

He buys me flowers each 3rd of the month. He hasn’t missed a single one. He tells me how much he loves me every day, but it’s not just words, it’s in his actions.

There are days when I’m just amazed at how much my life has changed because of him. He makes me smile and feel like perhaps I am lovable, after all.

Although there’s no way to know what the future holds, right now I feel so blessed and I pray that he’ll be a part of my life for many more years to come.

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The Touch of Your Hand

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I was afraid to go up to my father’s casket and say goodbye. I was a kid, having just turned 12 years old the day before he passed away from a sudden heart attack on a family trip to an amusement park.

From afar, it looked to me like he was just taking a nap on the couch, but the problem was, his chest was no longer rising and falling.

My mother put her arm comfortingly around me. “Come on,” she’d said, “I’ll go with you. It’s okay, honey.”

I was so scared, but I trusted her without a doubt.

We knelt there together, the two of us. I stared down at his handsome face, a slight smile playing on his lips, like he was planting green peppers and tomatoes in the most amazing garden up in heaven.

“You can touch his hand.”

I hesitated for a moment, but then I went ahead and tentatively touched him lightly with my fingertips. His skin felt like cold marble, icy and extremely disturbing to such a young girl who loved her daddy as much as I did. I quickly took my hand back before I started crying.

“He’s so cold,” I’d admonished to my mother, a bit queasy.

“Yes,” she’d replied softly. She didn’t need to explain further.

I’ve never forgotten that significant moment in my life, going on close to 33 years ago.


Now at the adult age of 44, although her hand was indeed bitterly cold, I hadn’t wanted to let go of it. I was the last one to leave my mom before we journeyed to the cemetery for her interment next to my dad.

Someone called my name, I don’t recall who, but I hesitated before I finally placed her hand back where it belonged and somberly walked away.

The emotionally distraught part of me wanted to jump inside the casket with her, but the logical part instinctively knew that I had to continue to live my life.

My job here isn’t done.

I’d promised her before they took her back to surgery, which I think we all knew wasn’t going to end well, that I’d fight my fucking hardest to stick around this place, even when my mind lies, telling me that everyone would be better off without me. She truly understood that it wasn’t my fault, but an unfortunate symptom of my mental illnesses.

If she could suffer as she did for so many years and could continue to keep breathing for over 12 hours without machinery, how could I not see that as a clear indication (sign) that life is precious and worth fighting for?


I asked my daughter if she wanted me to go up with her to say goodbye and to hold the gentle hand of her gramma one last time. She shook her head.

“I held her hand while you went to go rest in the family lounge,” she’d replied, tears welling up in her doleful blue eyes. “I even fell asleep for a bit. I’ll never forget how she felt, like I just couldn’t get her to warm up.”

Lukewarm is better than glacial, isn’t it?


Life is often filled with full circle moments.

A mother comforting her daughter decades later, offering to go up with her to say a final farewell to her beloved gramma. To protect her by offering solace and unconditional love during such a grief-stricken time, even when her own heart was pulverized.

I’ve never realized until now how much we must have given our mother a renewed purpose in life after my father passed away, leaving her with two young children to raise by herself. I’m sure that she must’ve had a desperate moment or two of wanting to give up, but she stuck around because it wasn’t her time to go yet.

I’ll strive to carry on her legacy of grace and courage.

Thank You For Being With Me

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“I don’t care that all you can do right now is sit in your chair, I love you. You’re not six feet under and you’re here with me, that’s all that matters.”

Hot tears slipped down my flushed cheeks as I looked away from him, the ugly truth of one of my biggest fears uncovered.

Will he cheat too? Decide that I’m too sick for him to deal with as well and end up regarding me as a worthless, mentally ill cripple?

(Who doesn’t sexually please him well enough?)

It’s a real demon of mine and my boyfriend knows that.

“From all that you’ve told me about your past, you should be patting yourself on the back, honey. Don’t even get me started on the first one who put you in the hospital and then the second one, who did you even worse if you ask me…”

Which one is worse? Abusive relationship A or abusive relationship B?

Flip a coin?

As hard as I try to run from my two abusers, they continue to seep into my current reality. I’m just a middle-aged woman with a love of fuzzy socks, not a sorceress who can cast a magical spell, abolishing the memories of my past traumas.

It takes time, people tell me.

How long?

Everyone is different.

Are all men nasty, evil swine?

No, of course not.

Is there something wrong with me that I found not only one, but two of them?

No, I was just asleep for a long time.

My boyfriend kisses me on the forehead and smiles at me.

“Thank you for being with me.” I reach out to take his hand.

“No, thank you for being with me.”