Thursday, July 1, 2010


So, today was one of the days Amazing Handy Man did not show up.  And Greg is clearly feeling the effects of being housebound all day.  He wanted to go to a movie, but just about the only movies in wide release we haven't seen is The Last Airbender (which I do want to see, but am a little leery of with such horrible reviews) and Eclipse (which I am going to see tomorrow with a lot of women and Marissa's boyfriend - man, is he going to feel awkward).  Frankly, I don't see Greg as wanting to see either of those.  And, I'm tired and a bit dizzy tonight (sort of a problem I've had over the last week or so), so I really didn't want to trek out to the arthouse theater to see Cyrus, which I would only do to placate Greg.  I don't really want to see that one in the theater; I'm more than happy to wait for the Pay-per-View.  So, after a lot of hemming and hawing and awkward moments, we finally agreed not to go out, but I could tell he was disappointed.  Now he's watching some documentary on Johnny Cash.  He settled on it after channel surfing for what seemed like forever.  That's not really weird, I guess, but he doesn't listen to his music and never has shown any particular interest in the man.  At least he's stopped on one channel!

All night I've felt awkward and uncomfortable about picking up one of the dozen books I'm part of the way through, or surfing the computer.  I felt half obligated to amuse him.  Finally, he released me from that responsibility, and I know he didn't want me to feel uncomfortable.  But, the whole evening has put an emphasis on how doing nothing has not been the balm Greg thought or hoped it would be.  Of course, he could volunteer for things, and there are certainly things around the house he wouldn't need an Amazing Handy Man to achieve, but while he's highly motivated on the days AHM is around, he's the opposite on the days when he's not.  It's like AHM winds him up, and then takes the key with him when he goes.

This is how I see it.  I don't know if I'm right, but I would pretty much bet the farm on it.  However, I'm not sure how to talk to him about it.  When I ask how he's doing or how he's feeling, I get a dismissive "fine" or a harumph.  Fine.  Don't talk to me.  But talk to someone.  I don't think he has anyone to talk to, though.  He has a lot of friends.  Some of them are deep, abiding, long term friendships with men who would walk through fire for him and vice-versa.  But, talking about their feelings is somehow worse than walking through fire, so they don't go there.  They would probably sit and listen to Greg if he wanted to open up, although I doubt they would be particularly comfortable doing it, but Greg, I'd bet another farm and someone's ranch, wouldn't do it.

We don't go to grief counseling any longer.  It's one of the financial pull backs we had to do when he quit work (although the movie tickets we've bought since have probably about evened it out!).  But, even when we did go, I always ended up dominating the conversation.  As a result, sometimes I wouldn't go so he could have some time just for his needs.  I have no idea how that went, he wouldn't talk about it!  People encouraged us to go to support groups.  There is one that meets not too far north of here, but he's always resisted.  I've offered to go too.  I've offered not to go.  He just won't do it.  So it just festers.  All that grief, all that anger, all that horrible sense of loss he just can't reconcile.

And, I'd bet the farm, the ranch and the White House that he is not alone.  I would imagine, as men go, he is very typical.  One of the other initial appeals for me when I met young Greg was that he was emotionally open compared to other men I'd dated.  He hasn't changed that much, surely.  I think it's more likely that modern American society, with all the social upheaval that's taken place in the last half century, still expects the male of the species to be stoic and  above the fray of emotional outpourings.  Emoting is a feminine trait and a sign of weakness.  So, he may be more open than most, but that's not all that open at all compared to the likes of me - the "weaker" sex.  The problem is, they still feel what my gender feels.  They still feel pain and joy.  So, ladies, how do we get them to the point where they can feel their emotions without shame, express them, and work through them?

At some point, my savings is going to be gone, I may or may not have a house capable of putting on the market, depending upon the schedule AHM feels like keeping, and the thing that needs repaired the most, my husband's broken heart, may still be totally shattered.  It's enough to make one dizzy.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry to hear that Greg is still in the "abyss". I would suggest coaching, as I think Greg would be a great coach, or getting his teacher license, as I think Greg would be a great teacher - but I am sure you have already thought of those things and said as much. I don't really understand men. It seems to us, that we always feel better after we talk, and we just can't understand why they don't get that, and to hear them tell it, they don't understand why nattering away helps anything. We say "couldn't hurt" they say "wouldn't help". I wish I could give you a fix, but if I could do that, I would be living off the interest of my off shore account in Tuscany.