Love is always thought of as that…

cute warm fuzzy fantasy. Full of hugs and hands held. Buddhists know the truth though. Love is greedy, selfish and torturous. We will leave the greed and selfishness for another post. I just don’t have the resources handy for that post right now.

Torture though, that I saw today. My eyes opened and I couldn’t un-see it. The first impression I had of the couple had been so far from the painful reality. Had only my first thoughts of this couple been true I might not have been so haunted.

Most wouldn’t expect such an empathetic post from me. Hell I would be better off being as cold about this as most people would assume of me. To be able to laugh about it would be a blessing.

I am still wishing to be wrong on the reality of this situation, but as it stands all seems figured out. My first impression was hasty and what many would have assumed. It is a common enough situation when the elderly are quickly beginning to outnumber the rest.

The first time I saw them it looked like a haggard (possibly drunk) man pushing an elderly woman’s wheelchair along the sidewalk in absolutely heartless-unforgiving heat. She was bundled up as if it were winter. The elderly, as they lose their coherence, tend to not voice when they are too hot.  Some uncaring relative, not realizing that he pushes a valuable link to the past and precious knowledge, figured he was stuck with her and was probably annoyed at the lack of beer at her house. This of course followed by a sigh of come on grama I can’t leave you here unattended and an insane trip to the gas station was began.

Today, up earlier than i should be, lacking sleep, choking on vomit and in pain from head to toe (try not breathing in your sleep for a long enough period and you get these strange pains throughout your body), I saw them again. Oh god I really saw them. He was ridiculously bundled at this time too. She I noticed was his age. He was a broken man.

From questioning some locals I have figured out this much (not doctors, just locals so hopefully I got misinformed) At one time this was a Normal happy couple. Now she is paralyzed and unresponsive, to the point where she can’t hold her head up when it flops forward, no more life than a corpse, yes even corpses relieve their bowels when positioned upright. He used to ride the bus and would take her with him to the park. This was probably when he still had a job and was trying to juggle caring for her with making sure the bills got paid.

It gets much worse. With time they were on the bus more and more. They started smelling worse and worse too. This was probably due to trying to save money on bills. Maybe their water got shut off.

Eventually they could not afford the bus ride anymore. Now he walks her clear across town to the park. Still taking her to get out of the house and see the park.

She may not be there mentally. He may really be alone. Everything seems to have been lost and sacrificed for her care, even though he will never hear her voice again, or even get a look of recognition.

Watching the one you love deteriorate slowly. Knowing you will never be able to speak to them again. Losing everything as you try to care for them. A losing battle with no hope.

He doesn’t seem to get sympathy, or help from anyone. He is alone. Ridiculed for his hygiene and look. He is doing something noble for someone he loves and is receiving hate-filled scowls from those around him.

When she is gone and he has lost everything, then what? What is really left of her in the frail thing in the chair? It certainly couldn’t look like how he fondly remembers her. Or is his fond memory fading and being replaced by the slipping struggling slowly dying form?

Love can trap you. It can hold you in its grip. In this grip it can and will, given the opportunity slowly torture you for as long as you draw breath.

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