I had today off, and woke filled with thoughts of doing a number of pleasing creative projects, having just jumped over the hump of bill-paying, bookkeeping and account reckoning (three weeks tardy for this month, but all caught up and recorded through next month. Enormous relief.)
Then went out to A's garden with him to weed. A. used to be a talented and enthusiastic gardener. I have never been a gardener. Although I have always appreciated his beautiful garden, I have always preferred to walk, take photos, listen to birds, watch the clouds. A. has taught me the little I know about the garden. Today the weeds were extensive, and they were confusing to me, as I really don't know what I am doing. A. no longer recognizes any of his plants, does not know how to tend them, and cannot distinguish between what is a weed and what are the plants.
This is painful for both of us--it has brought each of us to tears many times.
Today I set him near some weeds and showed him how to pull them, then started in the garden myself. Spent about 1 1/2 hours there. I had started to weed last weekend, and today managed to get around to about two thirds of the garden. So many dense, long lateral-trailing roots to remove. Unsure if I was pulling up good plants in the process. It is certain this garden has not been weeded in at least two years.
I looked over after about 1/2 hour of our quietly working together in different areas, only to find A pulling out grass by clumps outside the stones that ring the garden, leaving a large dirt area where the grass should be. I re-directed him to the weeds inside the stone ring, but he had no idea what I was talking about when I referred to "inside" the stone border. Explaining this took about 10 repetitions, and I could tell he still did not understand. Much of the time he was not even looking where I was pointing. Twice I put a stone marker where there were numerous weeds. He said he still could not "see" them. Didn't know what I was referring to when I said, "Pull out these plants here."
When I thought he was finally in an appropriate place, I went back to weeding, only to look over and find him pulling up grass again outside the garden.
I re-directed him again, but he kept losing focus, interest, or his place. Said he didn't want to do this, he doesn't know how to do it, and he "doesn't have to". I got him a scissors and encouraged him to cut the grass shorter at the edge of the stones where the mower can't reach, as this appeared to be upsetting to him and likely was the cause of his pulling up the lawn. He settled down to it, like a hair stylist creating a punk "do"--cutting one blade at a time, leaving adjacent blades long. Then he abruptly went inside, leaving all weeds, tools and containers for me to deal with.
I came inside about a half hour later and found him sound asleep in his chair.
My free day for creativity was shot. Not wanting to face all those further interruptions, I just lay in bed, awake. Trying to capture some peace, if not creativity, in the day.
This is how I spend my life. Doing the best I can to be loving and supportive to this man who looks like the man I married, but is actually anywhere from 10 years old to 2--in an old man's body.
I miss my husband, my partner, MY helper and supporter. He has gone away. For good.
...and left me alone with this often-helpless man-child to love and to find a way to cherish.