Going it Alone
I’ve put off writing about this for some time. It’s tricky. I have wanted to work it through in my head but I don’t want to upset anyone with what I say. I’m going to write about my recent decision to do something many people have thought is ridiculous, rash, stupid and completely crazy.
You see, to the world I was happily married. We were the perfect couple. A bit mismatched in areas, but they say that makes things interesting. My husband was supportive and kind. I had no reason to actually find paid employment and enjoyed looking after my children at home.
Yet I was unhappy.
My husband was – is – a good man. He’s a great father and is a very kind person. Yet we were moving in opposite directions. For a long time, but especially since I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s I felt as though I wanted to grab life by the horns and run with it as fast as I could. Experience everything. Feel the wind in my hair. Watch the sunset on the beach. Swim in the sea, ride my bike as fast as I could along long sweeping pathways. Climb mountains (well I do live in New Zealand). Yet I realised my husband did not want any of these things. He likes to do different things.
You know what? That’s OK. It really is. But as the years went on I realised with growing horror that even though I loved this man, I cared deeply for him and I enjoyed his company, I could not stay with him as his wife. Even as I write this, I feel a deep sadness that I actually had it all. Yet he didn’t share my desire to do the crazy stuff.
I had counselling. I talked at length about my feelings and my deep sadness. I eventually told my dear husband that I could not go on and I wanted us to separate. I didn’t know how, I didn’t know quite when, but I’d tried to change myself and I couldn’t. It didn’t seem fair to continue to try to change him.
And so I find myself living somewhere else. Only ten minutes from my beloved marital home, but two townships away. I only have my children 50% of the time, as we share their care, and of course, being the one that instigated the change, I’m the villain of the piece to people looking in.
One of the first things people say to me is “but I thought he was supportive?” I reply “He was. He is.” But as I keep repeating I’m more than just a disease. I want a life. I want someone that shares the crazy ideas and laughs with me about them. I need to be pushed. I need to be challenged and encouraged to get out there and do this stuff. I need to actively get out there and experience as much as I can without feeling guilty that I should be sat at home instead.
Our children say that we’re both happier and that it’s good. They wish we were still together, but they also tell me that we spend more time with them now. Bizarrely only seeing my children 50% of the time has made us both improved parents. We’re still a family, and I get on so much better with my husband … ex-husband than I have in years. I think it will feel very strange for some time to say ‘ex’ in front of the word ‘husband’.
Do I worry about the future? Sure. Do I sometimes worry about my Parkinson’s and that I’ve thrown away the safety and security that I had? Yes. Of course I do. Yet I feel more me. I feel that I have made the right decision and I’m happier as a result. Money is a concern, I have to be clever to make ends meet and I’m now a budgeting queen. Yet it’s OK. It’s been worth it. Even my ex-husband tells me he’s happier and more settled now. We get on better than ever and our children are planning our Christmas together.
So there it is. I’ve confessed. I suppose I wanted to do this because I’m constantly asked about the impact it has on my health, but the fact I have Parkinson’s shouldn’t stop me from trying to get out there and enjoy life. I will persevere and continue to embrace as much of this as possible. I will continue to do good in my community, volunteer and help others. Until I draw my last breath I will try to be the best I can be.
Until next time, Kitty.
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