My friends and family if asked to describe me would say I am nice, easy to talk to, honest, as well as brutally honest, cool, strong, indecisive, firm, laid back, detached, generous, talkative, discreet, non-judgmental, accepting, sarcastic, indifferent, have a good sense of humor, can have a temper, do not take myself seriously, sometimes self-centered, tells it like it is, compassionate. There is one more description: positive. There are many more descriptions but I think this covers most of what they would list to tell someone about me.
They are correct in their perceptions of me. I possess all those traits, an example could be that when told something and told to keep it to myself, though I am very talkative, I would never repeat what was told in confidence to anyone under any circumstance. Though I love a good laugh, if it is told at a time I do not want to laugh, I will be indifferent. There are three more qualities I possess that I am not sure anyone would list or even be aware of, I am unemotional, insecure and controlling. I think anyone that has been reading this will realize I am controlling from how I describe my life and how I deal with it. I think the insecurities also are evident by how much I relied on my husband. But the unemotional might not show through in my writings. Maybe in fact my description of unemotional is not really correct, rather another way to control.
But back to the unemotional. I think my husband would agree that to some extent I am unemotional or at the least he would say I control my emotions. When told of good things that have happened I do not show much emotion. When told of something bad or even terrible, I do not show much emotion. It is not that I do not care, rather I am uncomfortable with emotions. There are times I wonder to myself if I have any emotions. The answer is yes, I have emotions. But that pesky controlling side does not want the world to see my emotions. Through my husband’s illness, his doctors would say how impressed they were with me and how I was handling everything. They truly were, they were not just saying it. Nurses told me the same. Some of the nurses even went so far as to say if they were ill, they would want me as their advocate. When my husband died, many doctors and nurses emailed me expressing their sympathy. One doctor, whom my husband and I really trusted and admired, went so far as to say that he was not the one that kept my husband alive, I was, he only prescribed the medications needed. It was very nice to hear these things, but I showed no emotions through any of it, in fact It made me uncomfortable to hear this, as emotion was expected from me. Also the need to hear these things was not needed. I knew I did everything I could to keep my husband alive for as long as could be. No matter how hard it was at times, it was worth every moment.
Next the insecure. Those around me would be surprised at that one. But it is true. I am not insecure about myself. I know who I am. I am not insecure living alone. I like to be alone, I do not like to be lonely, but that is not what this is. Through my life, my strength and security have always been a part of me. With my husband dying, all that I have come to rely on is no longer here. That is where the insecurities I am so unfamiliar with have taken hold. I mentioned how everyone was amazed at how well I cared for my husband. I told people while I was the strong one, my husband was my rock. I am not sure they understood. Being indecisive is tough, I cannot decide the simple things, like what to have for dinner. My husband made these every day decisions for me, giving me the sense of security. Now that he is gone the insecurity is much more noticeable to me.
Controlling, it might sound like a good quality. It is not. It is hard. Non-controlling people do not understand it, they accept what they cannot control. Those of us who control, have our own reasons for the need to control. I do not accept what I cannot control. If anything I might spend endless, sleepless nights trying to find a way to control whatever is not under control. My control is probably something that helped keep my husband alive. When we were told he would not live much longer, I still felt like I had to control.I made sure they gave him pain medications, tranquilizers, any medication or treatment that would keep him comfortable. I controlled until he died. Now I have nothing to control other than my own life. But I have to figure out what my own life is before I can gain control again.
If you were to ask my husband’s family my qualities, they may be similar to the ones listed above, they would probably include care giver, advocate, loving wife. But they would also list negative.
That is where they are wrong. I have never been negative. They think because every time they talked with my husband on the phone he was so positive, that he was the one upbeat, not letting illness get him down. They are wrong. My husband worried most of his life about something or other. Much like his hopes and dreams, I told him worrying was a waste of time. That whatever he might be worried about, if it happened, he should handle it after it happened, worrying before just wasted his life. It was not until he became very sick he understood what I meant. In the beginning he was negative. I would not allow it, after all, I am controlling. I told him he needed to control his emotions and allow himself time to be down, sad, upset, mad, whatever he wanted to feel, but after the period of time he allotted himself, he had to be positive and upbeat. He had to get up each morning, even if I was the one having to help him up when he wanted to be able to himself, put a smile on his face and accept that he was still himself. The illness had not taken his inner self away I would tell him. He was still the man I fell in love with. No sickness could take that away. As the time went by, that is how he became to live his life, allowing me to control all the things out of his control, but controlling the only thing he had control over, his attitude. There were some slips, but for the most part my constant teaching him of laughter and life he had never known were what kept him upbeat. I screened his phone calls or decided when he could make a phone call. I wanted his family and friends to know he was doing as well as could be expected, that he was upbeat, not feeling like why is this happening to me, a victim. His family did not visit in the beginning of his illness when he was so close to death. I have never faulted them for that, in fact I made excuses for them when the doctors would ask me where they were. I did not tell his family of the doctors always asking where they were, nor of the doctors negative views of them for not visiting my husband. His family had legitimate reasons of their own for not being there. I did not tell them when my husband had episodes of delirium and he wanted to talk to them, I would not make the phone call. I shielded them from all the ugliness of his illness. I allowed them only to see a happy, upbeat man who was dealing with his illness with dignity.
While my family sees me as positive, my husband’s family sees me as negative. What would a mirror reflect of me? Definitely positivity, no negativity allowed. I am a lot of the things that each family sees but do not put the label of negativity on me, as I am not now nor have I ever been negative.