I am a hypocrite

I have been irritated for a long time with old friends who do not want to see Barry as he is now. They have told me they want to keep the memory of how he was before he got sick in their minds. To be honest, this has really bothered me for the past couple of years.

In fact, it ate at me until I became an angry, wild woman one evening and guilted a couple of friends into going to see Barry. I now am sorry about that. Because early one morning, I found myself sitting outside Barry’s care center at 3:45 a.m. unable to go in.

I was there very early that morning because I thought I might be able to see the northern lights. News reports said they may be visible from as far south as Minneapolis. So I set my alarm for 3 a.m. I drove to Bush Lake near to where we used to live and where I had once seen the northern lights years ago when our kids were still very young.

Back then, I rose at 4:45 a.m. nearly every morning to go for a run. Barry left for work at 6:30 a.m. so I needed to run before he left. I would run for an hour or so and then climb back into bed and doze until the first child came in to wake me up. Many cold winter mornings after my run while Barry dressed for work, I would hop into his side of the bed because it was still nice and warm. Being on his side of the bed seemed so cozy and intimate as I lay there half asleep
watching Barry and hoping the kids would sleep a bit longer.
I saw lots of cool things on those early morning runs with our dog Daisy. One morning, I saw the northern lights as I ran through Bush Lake Park. It was beautiful. I remember stopping and saying to Daisy, “Look at that!” But she just wanted to keep running. Now I was at the same spot but could not see the northern lights because too many new homes and streetlights had been added since then.

I thought about driving farther north on Highway 169, maybe about an hour, to see the northern lights, but I had a busy day ahead. So I pulled off at the exit near Barry’s care center, drove into the parking lot and thought about going in. What is the place like at this time of day? What is Barry doing at 3:30 a.m.? Is he walking around looking for us?  Is he asleep? Is he snoring?  Is he scared? Does he feel forgotten in these early morning hours?

I wanted to go in but chickened out! I was not ready to have the image of him sleeping or wandering around in my head just yet. I don’t want to think about him as he is now in the care center. Instead, I want the memories of the early days of our marriage. I now understand what our friends feel about seeing Barry as he is now. I am a hypocrite because I am feeling the exact same thing. I turned around and headed back to my apartment. It was about 4:30 a.m. when I crawled into bed, trying to warm up from my cool, early morning wanderings. But there was no warm spot to roll onto. We are husband and wife miles — and years apart.

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14 comments on “MY JOURNEY
  1. Marlys Nitchals says:

    The last sentence says it all for me. Thank you for putting into words what I often feel

  2. Beth-Ann Bloom says:

    Your true devotion absolve you of all guilt that leads you to choose happy memories over current struggles.

  3. Kris Sandoz says:

    Dear Nancy, please know that there are so many of us pulling for you, thinking of you and praying for you and Barry during this journey. We wish we could wave a magic wand and fix it and make it all better!!!

  4. Linda Frankenstein says:

    I need to learn to choose happy memories rather than to think of difficult past struggles. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Deb Rankin-Moore says:

    Instant tears for you, Barry and everyone impacted by this tragic turn of events. Terribly sad path you are encountering.

  6. Margaret Mazzaferro says:

    Nancy, I can’t think of a journey more difficult than the one you’re on. Keep in mind that you’re doing the best you can. You didn’t suddenly turn into a saint the moment Barry got ill. Give yourself permission to feel what you feel, and don’t berate yourself for moments of despair or less than perfection. You’re human with all that that entails.

  7. Cheryl says:

    Tears, with a huge lump in my throat.
    Kenny has been gone for just four years, and you transport me back in a second.
    I also struggled with family and friends who couldn’t spend time with him. And yet
    I look back now wondering how I did it. How I got through all of the idiosyncrasies this disease presents to our loved ones. But we do.
    Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

  8. Joan Bonello says:

    Nancy, You are not a hypocrite. You are human. Take care of yourself too.

  9. Kathy Klis says:

    Nancy, I can feel the love you have for Barry in your story. It is a beautiful love affair, one filled with happiness, sadness, anger and now even stronger love for the man he once was. We only met once (when you hosted homecoming pictures in your beautiful backyard) and I never had the opportunity to meet Barry, but I would love to be his friend now, visit and share his journey. I have been blessed not to experience what you are going through, but I have spent many long days and nights in nursing homes with parents and in-laws. Please let me know how I can help you on your journey.
    Kathy Klis

  10. This is the most honest, and beautiful post, and a tribute to a marriage and friendship and all the things we sometimes might take for granted with our spouse/mate. The intimacy of that warm spot he used to leave you..

  11. Beth Held says:

    I love how you love❤️

  12. Mary Beckman Woodward says:

    your struggle and mine are almost identical. My husband has been in a nursing home since aneurysms took his bright life. Many friends and relatives wanted to just remember him. I too was hurt they didn’t want to share my life as it was at present which including visiting a person who in no way resembled the clever Phd full of wit. I felt quite alone until a similar day when I could no longer visit that person who had ceased being husband, father or Grampy. I stopped putting expectations on myself, our kids, grand girls or friends. I realized that person had died 8 years ago with his braincells during the massive aneurysm. We had a little ceremony and adopted this new guy who is still part of our family but not husband, dad or Grampy . We preserved the old Harry in our memories. And I put no expectations on us or our friends. We are finally getting to live life in fullness again, without dragging guilt into our lives or friends. Thank you Nancy. No one can understand this perpetual limbo unless they’ve been there.we’re moving forward and not putting any expectations on others or ourselves. Our Harry is gone and this new guy is there to visit ( one way) when we can. The lives of our family and friends are changed but they’re no longer on hold. We’re loving life again. Thanks Nancy – you put in words exactly my journey. Mary Beckman Woodward

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