Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Matters of the heart

On Saturday, my father was admitted to the hospital after having a heart attack. When my mum called me to let me know, I was strangely not surprised. It wasn't as if I was expecting the news, but I have feared this call for quite some time. Dad is certainly not the picture of good health, although he has made great strides in improving his lifestyle over recent years.

I'm happy to share that he has been diagnosed and treated with two stents to relieve the blockages in his arteries. No open heart surgery or lifetime supply of medication, thank god. He is recovering well and is now resting at home with my mum as his nurse.

Like a cheap metaphor, I find that whenever I get these calls of illness or accident, I view life a little differently. You don't know what you have until you lose it, right? I've always been more than open about my love for my family and I live a relatively healthy life, so I'm not tempted to drastically change how I live. It's my husband I obsess about...

Adam treats his body the same way that most young men do - with reckless abandon. He smokes a pack a day and indulges in more than his fair share of wine at the end of a long day. Given his crazy schedule, he doesn't get much of an opportunity to exercise. (And he definitely doesn't share my enthusiasm for walking.) He never wears sunscreen and has battered his bones and muscles over the years with hard labour jobs.

Mentally, Adam is a high stress kind of man. He internalizes a lot of things and takes life pretty personally. Although he lives in the moment with his body, his mind jogs ahead of time, constantly dreaming of new ideas and wishing for the day when our struggles are finally behind us. He wants to be the 50's dad who went to work and brought home enough bacon to pay the bills and allow his trophy wife to stay home and raise babies (which just happens to be my dream). Adam keeps me hopeful about our perfect future through his fantasies. But my realist side sometimes doubts that he'll ever see that rosy time...

I worry that someday I'll be the one calling our children to deliver the news that their father is in the hospital. Or worse, I'll come home some afternoon to find him expired.

He is my other half in the most literal of ways. He understands and loves me like no other has. Through his tenderness, love and thoughtful nature, his essence is tattooed on my soul. How does one ever recover if their soul marker is taken away? I don't think I would. I think I would dry up and fold into myself like a leaf in autumn.

I tried to tell Adam all of this last night, but instead it somehow came out as a hideous nag about his smoking and drinking habits. It seemed that I couldn't put into words the fear and anxiety behind the matter. I couldn't express that I never want Hayden to worry about losing his father the same way that I do. That I'm not the unwavering rock my mother has become; staying strong for everyone and keeping us from seeing her pain or trepidation. Instead we argued and I pointed out his faults like barbs. But bless his heart, he somehow saw through my verbal assault. Although my intentions and dread remained unspoken, this morning he wrapped me in his arms and promised to live a healthier life. He had pushed through my angry insults and found the cowering child silently hiding within. I suppose words are just noise when you live in someones soul.

1 comment:

The W.O.W. factor said...

My heart goes out to you! And I relate to your "It's my husband I obsess about..."
Sounds like my Hubby years ago...and he is paying the price now. Health seems to be good, but body? That's diff...
Good luck and keep loving the way you do...
This thought "..hopeful about our perfect future through his fantasies" may never come, but it's not so bad either! Trust me!