Reggie showed up without his wife.
The wife was a short woman. She had some practices that usually increased the space she occupied – the smell of tobacco, the size in her chair, the volume she laughed with, her large wiry curly bouffant, and her hope-filled aura.
“Where’s your wife Reggie?”
Reggie had sat down with his usual socially acceptable moderate expression.
It was common for his wife to accompany him to my clinic and if she wasn’t there, it was only for purposes of work. She prioritized him, it was clear. However, her work was inconsistent, money was always tight, and she would most often have to travel when the opportunities arose. Being a temp in nursing was like that. Reggie was so proud of her and looked at her in that mix-matched role that any relationship between one person and another always is. In Reggie’s case, sometimes she was his parent, lover, friend, enemy, caregiver, and now, what?
If you’ve been reading this blog for long, you know I love the concept of Time. I fantasize a little about separating Time from space and yes, at some moments, think I am all that. (Wink.) When I asked Reggie, “Where’s your wife?” I might have done it, though not pleasantly. Something happened there that was inter-dimensional. Because he was transformed. His face didn’t melt or droop. There wasn’t a process to it. Rather he was sitting like a normal Reggie and then he was wasn’t. Between normal and transformed, to me, reality changed. The between was a crack that was a different reality. A black space without Time.
“She left me. She left me. I begged her not to, and she did.”
Reggie’s wife had done something personal. She went and died.
Even when Reggie stopped crying, he looked bewildered, raw and like the faucet was going to poor a lot more. We did get to start talking a bit about how much his wife loved him. We speculated about the love remaining after she died.
“I wish I knew! I wish I knew she was somewhere good and I wish I knew if she could see me.…”
Reggie wished he could remain connected to the love.
During our treatment together for over a decade, Reggie complied with our medical treatment in the context of that love. Reggie honored his wife by taking care of himself. He even lifted up his illnesses like an offering to her. I was struck with the concern of what kind of treatment compliance Reggie would shift to if he thought he was living without love. I was concerned that he would not value himself, including the respect he was able to show his illness without the company of his wife’s value and respect
The way that we honor those we love and those who love us, is by honoring our own selves.
It is intuitive in our nature to believe that we can’t live without love. Where does love go when we die?
This brings us to another premise in, “God and self-care,” – there is no self-care without Love.
The argument psychiatry has with the concept of Love is that sensing it, knowing it, perceiving it, is all a part of our modular brain, therefore no more than grey matter. Thus implied that it is diminished.
Question: Does it diminish Love for you, knowing that our perception of Love is as mapped out as that, even able to be man-handled, turned on or off by neuronal signals?
Please tell us your thoughts. Keep on.
Self-care Tip: Find Love for self-care.