Kelzi, one of the regulars on our MHB message boards, wrote a piece about what it’s like to be a couple going through transition that resounded pretty strongly for me (& for others):
Lately, I haven’t had much to say, and when I do, I just journal it. However, when I stop by to catch up here and there, I often find that I should have posted. My recent M.O. What’s different about tonight is that I find the warm and fuzzy stories about couples who stay together way too inflated, heart warmed and fuzzed that they become unrecognizable as a point of reference. Except, every once and a while someone cleans the pig. MG wrote:
….And Jenn and I didn’t survive anything. Everyday we make a decision to continue to stay together. That in no way means we survived anything. It only means that, for today, we still want to be together. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll both make the same decision.
Two nights ago, D and I just celebrated (and I use the word figuratively, it certainly was not a celebration. miss O was genuinely upset we didn’t go out and celebrate. Upon querying us as to the reason, D quickly replied ‘what’s to celebrate?’ to which miss O responded ‘Oh yeah, that man and wife thing.’) our 14th year as husband and wife. It was also our 8th year since my transition.
MG is painfully right, couples that choose to stay together, after the transition of a spouse, are not survivors, we have just found a couple of compelling reasons to stick it out together for one more day. A couple of reasons to let ourselves think that the cultural and social stigmata that tattoo our lives will disappear in the morning. That in the frighteningly few moments where we get to forget the realities of our lives together and embrace as lovers, only to have the moments shattered when we remember that we no longer make love as we once did, we both agree to stick it out for one more day.
I wish I could understand why we choose this way. It not a path that I’d wish on any couple. Its hard and it hurts and the longer we stay together, the more I’m convinced that the pain will never really go away. Its true that we still love each other. We cuddle on the sofa, sleep in the same bed (depending on the intensity of our hot flashes or the weather) and continue to revel in the joys of raising our daughter, together. But we have also become much more reclusive. We’re hurt by the simple slip of a pronoun. I being reminded of what I am, she remembering who she was. We look at the photo from that night 14 years ago and wonder what happened to that couple, where did they go? Why aren’t they here? Will they ever come back? Perhaps what hurts most of all, we miss our simple displays of affection, that kiss on the street, holding hands as we walk, a long embrace under a street lamp, that we so often freely gifted. Yeah, we miss the simplicity of man and woman, husband and wife, mother and father. We tire of the attitudes from the public and parents and friends and family. They, thinking their thoughts of us. We, conflicted by wanting to right the assumptions they make of us, wanting to correct, explain, share and then we remember the results of our previous disclosures. Who has that kind of time and energy? For the last 8 years, it has taken all the energy plus some that we borrowed, just to stay together just one more day.
There are days, too often it seems, where making the best of a trying situation, makes no sense. How I long for those days where my sweetie’s resting head gradually, gently drifts to my chest and there we drift into our world of pleasant dreams. Now a days her head comes to rest at my boob. She awakes and is reminded of the indignities she endures, the loss she has suffered, unfulfilled dreams that may never return. Could our lives be much better if we said enough is enough? We’d be free to experience our lives as we once dreamt they would be. In love. In public. Innocuous. Together, silently, without ever saying it to each other, we ask, ‘Really, is it really worth it? Can I do this for one more day?’
Usually I don’t know.
Its part of our unspoken agreement to each other. Oh, there have been times where I thought we wouldn’t be able to do it. We leave each other. We look for clarity. We seek advise and usually we wake up in the morning ready for one more day.
Next year, if we get that far, it’ll be our crystal anniversary. Maybe things will be clearer by then. Maybe we’ll be gifted a crystal ball that will show us were to go, how to get there. Maybe I’ll be able to clearly explain why we stay together. Except with our luck, Coyote would come along and want it for himself, steal it before we even got to peak into it. I bet that he would eat it, to illuminate his inner self, only to see that he was really full of shit. Maybe that’s the point, we have to see thru all the shit find what we really are looking for. When asked on how we’re doing, we’ve often say, ‘We’re taking it day by day’. It comforting to know that at least for now, that hasn’t changed. At the end of the day, we both are saying, ‘I think I can do this for another day.’