Death of an Ex
A Long and Challenge Marriage Endeth
It was never a perfect marriage - there were many challenges that I initially believed that I could manage "till death do us part". I was old school, married in 1967, in a church, with the old promises. It had it's ups and downs - and some of the downs were very challenging, but I would remind myself that I had made a commitment, and I had no right to opt out.
We met after I returned to the country town where I had done my nursing training after a stint in the city. I was booked to do "Midwifery" but the course was cancelled. We met in the February and married in the December, and went to live in a country town where he was a local sales representative for a company whose products were sold in supermarkets.
I did do some nursing there, but our first child put an end to that, and some time later we moved to a city, and a second child was born. In those days I didn't even drive a car, let alone have one! But I took lessons, bought an old car, and went back nursing - night duty 3 - 4 nights a week at a local hospital.
And at the same time looked after 3 other children some days - another nursing friend had tried to commit suicide and needed a carer for her children.
We moved several more times - in fact, lived in3 capital cities in Australia - as my husband was promoted. I did feel somewhat a loner - we had no family living nearby. While I made friends, night duty was a lonely existence - as I kept up my part-time, and sometimes full time nursing to help with the family finances.
In fact, there were times when I had two or three jobs at a time, including a business which I ran. Crazy, but I did it because I could.
I did learn early on that my husband was not a good money manager, but I had no idea how bad. That I was to learn later. While working I went to university and ended up doing a university degree, and eventually taught overseas. That was of course after the children had grown up and married.
When I returned from a contract in China in 2010, I found he had sold my car. I also learned that for some reason all our money was gone. To this day I have no explanation - we suspect he gambled it all away. He had been an alcoholic for many years - we knew he loved his drink, but until that time we were not aware of his diagnosis. In any case, with no money and no car, I decided to depart.
With little more initially, than my computer, my clothes and some household items I left. We divorced a couple of years later. Did I get any money? Some $8000 dollars for 43 years of marriage!!! Should I sue him? He had no more money, so it would have cost me my money to sue him.
So I did house sitting for a few years and went back to university. I've not managed to get rich, but I've managed to have a good life.
2017 was a big year in many ways but it was very challenging. The ex-husband was deep in debt, and the family had to help him. He'd now added a raft of health issues to his already big list of medical issues. He was told that his days were numbered - something that he didn't accept. As an alcoholic he was told not to drink wine or beer - but he never stopped. As a diabetic, he was told not to eat sugar etc - but he never stopped a daily dose of chocolates and candy. He was told not to eat salt - he only sprinkled it on his food, he says. He had a pacemaker - and a list of other medical conditions. How he has survived this far is a surprise to his medical team.
Despite the marriage break-up, I've been there for him. I've tolerated him at family events, taking him to doctors, friend's funeral, and other events, and I've loaned him money. Our two children have done their best for him - still loving their father as if he had done nothing wrong. The grandchildren still love him too.
Now he is in hospital - with maybe weeks to live. I visit him, but it is with strange emotions. I don't love him, but I tear up sometimes. I am angry that much of his problem is self-inflicted. The grog. The sugar. And there's more, but I won't go into it. I am angry that his children and grandchildren are subject to spending time and money to visit, to support him.
Watching him decline is hard to do. I'd rather not be there - but he does appreciate my visits. He has no idea how uncomfortable it makes me.
His days are numbered and today, for the first time, a doctor has told him clear and simple - you will never go back to living on your own. It's a nursing home/palliative care home for his last days. Oh, it's not nice to be there, but his two children and their families are for him.
Oh, and who do I have to help me through these tough times. I am the supporter of the children and grandchildren. I am alone.
Dying is not easy
I have spent time with a number of folk as they died. As a nurse it is part of life. But watching a family member decline is hard. Especially when they are told that their days are numbered. I'm not sure I would like to go that way. So hard, and so hard for the loved ones too.
Photo from Unsplash by Ashim Da'Silva
© 2018 Di