Originally titled: Fuck You, I’m Not Interested in Warming Your Heart
Never published. Written 5/15.
Let’s get this straight: I practice gratitude. I am grateful that Pat is alive, grateful that he can walk when they thought he never would, grateful that he can talk and be with us and we can all laugh together. Grateful for our amazing children together. Grateful for our supportive friends and family, grateful for financial security, even if it has been altered, our safe home and neighborhood, my rewarding career, the sun, the warmth, beautiful flowers and new experiences every day. Grateful that we have options.
That said, my least favorite part of our neighborhood strolls is walking past people who we kind of know—you know, those we know enough to smile and wave, but who really have no insight into our lives. People who don’t know that no, Pat isn’t back at work. And likely will not ever be. That things are very different and that change is painful and slow. That this walk isn’t just a part of our day together, then we both get back to work. This is what he can do right now.
I have to tell you this:
Please stop giving us the thumbs-up. Fuck that shit. Please stop telling us how amazing Pat is doing. Please stop putting your hand to your heart or your mouth with the involuntary expression of inspiration that you are feeling when you see him (us) out there day after day, striving to improve. I don’t want to be your inspiration. I don’t want my husband to be be your inspiration. I don’t want our struggle to be your inspiration.
Especially during our walks. They are challenging for me—time to actually think. These days thinking =bad. Especially when our situation is right in my face. Our slow pace. The repetition. The things that are obvious to me but not to Pat. His lack of judgment in terms of avoiding rocks and potholes. His wheezing. His talking to himself. The fact that this may be the only thing he really does today.
It’s completely irrational, but I feel like your heart being warmed has come at the expense of my life. Of my options. I want my life back. And you look at it and somehow it inspires you. I guess more than anything, I wish I had that inspiration that your body shows me you are feeling.