- Disabilities & the Disabled
A Note To Diary Part 3. Decisions
The Way Forward
On the 5th February 1995 my husband died. The man that returned to me was not my husband. This stranger amidst our family was pulling us apart. Hour after hour, day after day the whole family struggled with emotions, and the normal every day living was never to be the same. Glenn continued to drink to try and drown his sorrows, he tried to take his own life on 3 separate occasions, he wanted to die.
Social worker after social worker came and went. Each one not able to handle Glenn's moods. I would see their faces as they left the house feeling sorry for me, not knowing any words of comfort. I wanted to shout after them, "you can see Glenn's disability, touch it, but what about me?" I am in prison. I know I must sound very selfish, terribly self centred, but not at all. I wanted my husband back. I needed a shoulder to cry on too. Being strong for the whole family was putting me under immense pressure. Day and night I struggled with my feelings. Compassion and hatred, frustration and self pity. All I could be certain of, was my love for my son.
Craig began to have a bad time at school, he was getting bullied and cruel comments taunted him every day. The teachers, adding more pressure with their constant questions, just didn't understand at all. People came and went on a daily basis, full of sympathy for Glenn. But who was I? I was Glenn's wife, Craig's mum, dad's daughter, but who was I?. One close family friend described me as a tight lipped old woman with hands permanently pushed in my pockets. I was 37 years old and felt like I had no future.
As Glenn's frustrations got worse, Craig was the one to suffer. I knew I had to make a decision. I loved my husband and was living in the past. A time full of happy memories, but that had all gone. I tossed and turned in bed at night fighting with my own demons. I tried to talk to Glenn, tell him how I felt, but he wouldn't listen. I was his wife, I had chosen to take the vows. I was committed. All my senses told me to look after my son, at 8 years old he needed me more.
Eventually Glenn decided to go back to England for 6 weeks barrier nursing, he had come home from hospital with a pressure sore containing MRSA, and unbelievably, the same hospital would not take him back.
In many ways, although dismayed, Glenn gave me strength. He gave me time to think. I took Craig to the beach, rode the horse down country lanes and visited friends. I made the decision to ask Glenn to leave. I phoned his parents to discuss the matter first. Ken was very understanding, Pat, Glenn's mum told me she had brought her family up when they where young, she would not be prepared to look after her son now at this time of his life. I could not believe what I was hearing. I had spent the past two years trying, devoted to Glenn, hoping to keep my family together, but I would not sacrifice my young son's life.
I packed all Glenn's belongings, dad kept looking in on me shaking his head. He could offer no words of encouragement either. Nor did he disagree with my choice. I felt like the executioner. I boarded the ferry and returned to England to tell Glenn of my decision. He was heartbroken, and very defensive. That decision was the hardest I have ever made in my life. I was to lose my husband for the second time.
Glenn and I had spent a further two years together. Most of his rehabilitation was aided by me. Back wheel balancing of his wheelchair to allow him to negotiate curbs. A vehicle specially modified for his independence so as he could drive. Physiotherapy to keep his muscles in his legs supple. Special diets to keep his bowel and kidneys in good condition. Weeks of counselling. The list was endless. It was all about to stop.
I now had another challenge, to bring my son up as a single parent, I prayed that God would help me to do this, and to make my dads last years happy, he was 82. I had to be the sole bread winner for the household and knew I could not do it running the stud farm. I sold most of my animals and rented the barn to a friend to store her hay crop. I found a full time job working in advertising sales for an Enniskillen based publisher. A drive of 32 miles over the border into Northern Ireland each day. The days where long, but life was picking up and I now had a new routine.
Slowly I began to heal. Glenn has never spoken to me since, and seldom speaks to Craig. But he re-married and has a large extended family and a beautiful house near the beech. He won an award of £600,000.00,from the forestry commission, he offered me £40,000.00 to provide for Craig until he was 18. I turned it down. Glenn is now very happy. Life is still a strain for him as he continues to have operation after operation, chasing what will never happen. A chance to walk again. This is the only way he can survive, and who am I to begrudge him a better way of life.
As for me, it is 16 years on now. I still take the anti-depressants, still have the nightmares and live with a guilt of being week every day of my life. I have a settled relationship but will not get married. I was married to Glenn, until death do us part. Fate dealt us a blow so hard that we couldn't survive together.