This one is not only hard to write about but until recently, which you’ll discover shortly, is even harder to admit to myself.
I was a devoted husband, father and carer throughout Renee’s fight with kidney cancer. In my mind I was only doing what I would expect any other loving Dad and partner would do. I was by Renee’s side at every appointment, every tear, every triumph. I read books at bedtime, went to school events, took kids to birthday parties and represented us at social outings. I ran my business, albeit barely, and looked after the running of the house (with help from amazing family!)
We all ran on adrenaline. I felt like we had it all under control. Yes it was harder, both physically and emotionally than anything we had ever done. But we managed.
And then the inevitable happened; the cancer won. Fucking cancer..🤬
The first few weeks, indeed months, were everything you imagine. Horrible, devastating, surreal. I could not fathom how life would ever resume with any sort of normality again.
And I found myself at a loss of what to do. For so long was life hectic and busy. Three years of constant activity, always juggling, always on the go. And now life, apparently and maddeningly, seemed to simply go on as though nothing had ever happened.
This drove me mad. How could everything, indeed everyone, just continue on? Where was the quantum shift in the universe that I felt was necessary to offset the catastrophic experience we had just been through?! It never came. Twisted, psychopathic universe…
Tangential thoughts aside, something else began to dawn on me. Apart from the normal routines of work and children, I now had something so many long for and I hadn’t tasted for years: freedom.
I could do whatever I wanted whenever I pleased. Lie on the couch watching The Matrix trilogy in my boxers and eat a whole tub of ice-cream? Why not! Go out to a friends for dinner and come home 2 days later? Hell yeah! So many options and possibilities.
Not that I went all fuck-you-world rebellious or anything, in fact as much as I could’ve taken full advantage of the situation, the overriding guilt and self-loathing at acting like this as a result of losing my sweetheart was more than enough to reign me in 99% of the time. But jesus, that 1%…😳😜😂😱
And this is the core of this article. Freedom. Or more to the point, our perception of freedom when in a relationship.
We dream of it. We rue the fact that we are tied down, locked in, subservient to the behest of family order and social expectation.
But this, my furry friends, is a ruse. A fantastical dream that once realised, has no substance. If nothing else; it’s a poisoned chalice.
You see for all my elation at being able to decide my own fate, to do as I pleased, there came the realisation that it was simply hollow, shallow even. Every triumphant return, every end to a binge; entailed just me. Alone. Again; still.
And that is not enjoyable at all. Not when you’re used to having someone to share it with. Even if “sharing” meant being berated and tortured for days after for your efforts. Even if your new home was the couch for a few days until things settled down. No, the aftermath is nothing on your own..
So I don’t know where this will lead for me. Perhaps to an enlightened state of being. Perhaps to a more responsible phase of life. 😂😂😂😂
But please, do me a favour. Don’t think for a second that the grass is any greener on the solo side of the fence. Don’t wish for freedom of self over the comfort, reliability and companionship of the family unit. I can assure you that it sucks balls 99% of the time.
But then again.. that 1%… 😜😱😳