I am a hypocrite
I have been irritated for a long time with old friends who do not want to see Barry as he is now. They have told me they want to keep the memory of how he was before he got sick in their minds. To be honest, this has really bothered me for the past couple of years.
In fact, it ate at me until I became an angry, wild woman one evening and guilted a couple of friends into going to see Barry. I now am sorry about that. Because early one morning, I found myself sitting outside Barry’s care center at 3:45 a.m. unable to go in.
I was there very early that morning because I thought I might be able to see the northern lights. News reports said they may be visible from as far south as Minneapolis. So I set my alarm for 3 a.m. I drove to Bush Lake near to where we used to live and where I had once seen the northern lights years ago when our kids were still very young.
Back then, I rose at 4:45 a.m. nearly every morning to go for a run. Barry left for work at 6:30 a.m. so I needed to run before he left. I would run for an hour or so and then climb back into bed and doze until the first child came in to wake me up. Many cold winter mornings after my run while Barry dressed for work, I would hop into his side of the bed because it was still nice and warm. Being on his side of the bed seemed so cozy and intimate as I lay there half asleep
watching Barry and hoping the kids would sleep a bit longer.
I saw lots of cool things on those early morning runs with our dog Daisy. One morning, I saw the northern lights as I ran through Bush Lake Park. It was beautiful. I remember stopping and saying to Daisy, “Look at that!” But she just wanted to keep running. Now I was at the same spot but could not see the northern lights because too many new homes and streetlights had been added since then.
I thought about driving farther north on Highway 169, maybe about an hour, to see the northern lights, but I had a busy day ahead. So I pulled off at the exit near Barry’s care center, drove into the parking lot and thought about going in. What is the place like at this time of day? What is Barry doing at 3:30 a.m.? Is he walking around looking for us? Is he asleep? Is he snoring? Is he scared? Does he feel forgotten in these early morning hours?
I wanted to go in but chickened out! I was not ready to have the image of him sleeping or wandering around in my head just yet. I don’t want to think about him as he is now in the care center. Instead, I want the memories of the early days of our marriage. I now understand what our friends feel about seeing Barry as he is now. I am a hypocrite because I am feeling the exact same thing. I turned around and headed back to my apartment. It was about 4:30 a.m. when I crawled into bed, trying to warm up from my cool, early morning wanderings. But there was no warm spot to roll onto. We are husband and wife miles — and years apart.