Monday, October 11, 2010

Why G-d, why? Grandmother died. I feel horrible. :(

Wow, it can only go from bad to worse, can't it?

I've been waiting to hear back from my wife about the status of her grandmother.  When I asked her over a Skype conversation on Sunday, she shrugged, rolled her eyes and said, "don't ask."  Our conversation was superficial; I supposed she was stressed.  It kind of hurt that she was taking so much pleasure in talking to our kids, but she really had nothing to say to me.  You might answer, "well why would she want to speak to you, Zoe?  You're an asshole and you're slime for saying the things you have."  True, no doubt.  But this is the way she is even when things are good.

I was saddened that she didn't have much to say to me, if anything, and that she didn't lean on me or confide in me.  With the exception of our fights which you read about from my perspective only [via this blog], I'm really a hard-working, caring and loving husband who is an amazing father to our children.  No doubt, there are issues which have lingered throughout our marriage that I've been nudging to work out, the subject of our last fight being one of them.  [A piece of challah just got stuck to my arm as I was writing this, and when I turned my arm over, I saw it and I thought it was a scorpion and I jumped and screamed.  Luckily I'm alone and the kids are asleep as I'm writing this.]

Anyway, after not hearing from my wife all day -- her last day in Israel -- I figured that she would at least call me to arrange for her to be picked up from the airport.  She didn't call, and she didn't leave a forwarding number while she was in Israel, so all I had was the grandmother's phone number from her last two trips at whom she was not staying this time around (and that phone number rang and rang and rang with nobody picking up.)  I waited a few hours and hearing nothing, I sent her an e-mail telling her that I want to wish her well on her flight back and that she should call me so we can arrange for her arrival.

I got no phone call.

Then, hours later, her brother called me asking me if I could pick her up from the airport.  I told him I haven't heard from her and I was wondering how his grandmother was.  "Our grandmother died last night... Nobody told you?  We all knew about it first thing this morning.  The funeral was this morning."  Nobody told me.

Then my first thought was, "Thank G-d I called her up and convinced her to go after our fight, or else we would have gotten divorced over this."

I agreed to pick her up, and in fact, I insisted on picking her up.  Regardless of the hours of work I will necessarily miss for this, it is not even a consideration knowing that my wife just went through the death of her grandmother and a funeral!  I cannot even begin to imagine what kind of pain she is in.

I also cannot believe how dumb I feel for fighting with her about her going to Israel in the first place.  I am sure she will fault me for her grandmother's death, and she will fault me for stopping her from going and visiting, even though I was never opposed to her going.  I am so upset and crushed that her grandmother died, but even more so, I feel like such a fool that she died right as we fought days before about her going to Israel. I promise you world, I had NO IDEA she was this sick, and I thought she had many months of life left!  Many people get cancer!  They don't keel over and die overnight!  What happened to the whole "6 months to live" death sentence? AND EVEN THEN people live out years beyond that making jokes about the doctors ultra-conservative prognosis!

I knew that her brother said that she was doing very poorly when he visited just a week ago, but I didn't realize that meant their grandmother was imminently dying!  I had NO IDEA this was what was happening!  If so, I would never have instigated a fight over the text messages.  [They were half jokes that turned into a fight after she over and over misconstrued my words into something disgusting and ugly!  I was just making a point in the texts.  I didn't have any intention of her not going.  I was just feeling unloved and ignored, and I wanted some attention, appreciation, or acknowledgement that I was and am doing well in being a good husband and father].  I could just as easily take my $50K/yr on our single income and law school debt, rent, and daycare for two kids and I could watch movies every afternoon and evening sitting outside with a beer achieving absolutely nothing like so many people do who don't care to make a life for themselves.  But no!  I stay out until 10pm sometimes working my ass off learning new materials so that I can properly give my wife and my family what they want and need!  And when I am home, I AM HOME!  I don't take my work home with me.  I am playful with the kids, present and dominant as a parent, helpful in the home, and I am a good husband to my wife.  Now I'm the piece of shit who almost stopped her from seeing her grandmother just a few days before she left this earth forever.

I don't know how I can ever salvage this one.


Ahuva said...

Okay-- here's how you try to salvage this one.

You need to convince your wife that you want to go in to marriage counseling with her so that you can learn how to be the kind of husband she needs and deserves-- so that you can learn how to understand her and communicate with her effectively. Don't bring up her faults.

Honestly, Zoe, I can't reconcile "caring and loving husband" with someone who-- even in anger-- says the kind of things you tell us you say. I think the worst thing I ever said to a man I cared about was "I'm trying really hard, but sometimes you're a hard person to love." And, honestly, I don't think I EVER managed to completely undo the damage that caused to the relationship. Words have power. Words HURT.

I can't imagine saying-- or even thinking-- the things you texted to your wife in that last fight.

If she's misconstruing your "half jokes"-- then there is a problem with the way you two are communicating that needs to be resolved.

Also-- there ARE people who get cancer and then are nifter a matter of weeks after diagnosis. It happens. Please do yourself a favor and don't bring up the "6 months to live" death sentence and "many people get cancer; they don't keel over and die overnight." The only thing you can do is say that you're sorry over and over again. Just let her mourn. Don't worry about getting out of anything-- just be a good husband and let her work through her feelings.

Ahuva said...

Sorry for the double comment...

"But this is the way she is even when things are good."

Umm.. this means that things AREN'T good. If your wife is always delighted to see the kids but never delighted to see you, then something is wrong. If she always has something to say to the kids and never has anything to say to you, then something is wrong.

"I was just feeling unloved and ignored, and I wanted some attention, appreciation, or acknowledgement that I was and am doing well in being a good husband and father"

The fact that you were feeling unloved and ignored means that something is wrong. The fact that you needed attention/appreciation when her thoughts were completely focused on her dying grandmother (and dying is, by nature, unpredictable. she could have hung on for months or died while your wife was en route) means that something is really really wrong.

The fact that you were reaching out for attention and approval by insulting her DEFINITELY means that something is wrong.

roy said...

I feel really bad that you and you wife hate each other so much :(
Hopefully a therapist/counselor could help you guys out, for your children's sake at least.

Rae Macklyn said...

I don't buy your naive thoughts about cancer and longevity (especially as I have been a cancer researcher for 15+ years)'s a very diverse story, and I think most of us got the idea that her grandmother didn't have much longer to live at all based upon whatever stage and anatomical location was being attacked.