I knew immediately that I couldn’t tell my 90-year-old mother. Her move, after living in the same town (on the same piece of ground!) for 90 years, was spectacularly brave. How could I upset her with this terrible news? She’s a natural worrier; this would be too much to carry. To this day, I haven’t told her, but I know she suspects something is wrong with Bo.
That first fall and winter we each reacted differently. Bo spent much of his time in our basement. He accelerated his love of model airplane building and radio control flying … bought his “dream” plane, with a wing span of 8 feet- – and watched his favorite western and war movies every day. He golfed alone almost daily until the weather was bad , and then he went to the casino in Atlantic City a couple of times a week to play the craps and blackjack that he loves. He’s always been more of a loner, so it was no surprise that he continued in the same way. He’s always been an extremely active man, waking up at 6 am and asking, “What are we doing today?” always wanting to do at least three different activities daily.
I reacted differently. I was nearly paralyzed with fear of the future. I stopped sleeping and wandered the house for hours at night, cleaning, cooking, sitting at the computer. I couldn’t concentrate on reading. I’d lie down to sleep and immediately the dark thoughts would come into my head. Then I’d try to replay one of my favorite light movies, beginning-to-end, to keep from thinking the worst. Most nights, I just gave up and got up.
What did I worry about? Everything. And I’m ashamed to say, very selfish thoughts. Most of that early worry was about me. We have no children. I would be alone. Where would I go? Who would help me? How would I find a place to live? If something happened to me and I had to be put into a home, would I have a Tempurpedic mattress? Should I buy another one now? Could I manage the finances? Could I afford the proper care for Bo? How would I take care of the cars? Would I have enough money for me? And so it went. If you could worry about it, I worried about it. And I had the cleanest house in New Jersey.
Worst of all, I couldn’t tell Boris what was happening to me. I didn’t want to make him feel guilty or worry about me. He had enough to worry about. I felt as if I had a rock in my chest. I confided in a couple of close friends. After a month or so I went to our doctor and asked for meds — sleeping pills, antidepressants. He wrote a prescription and I filled it, but I never took it; the bottles lie in a drawer. I didn’t want the side effects.
But what didn’t happen was any discussion between the two of us. Boris is a solitary man. He doesn’t discuss things with anyone except perhaps his brother, who doesn’t live near us. He’s not a man to have buddies. He described himself to me once when we were dating as steadfast and loyal. And he is. But his feelings were never exposed. I, on the other hand, am a people person so I kept a busy calendar of lunches and activities with friends. When I was busy I couldn’t think.
And so, each of us in our way, got through that first winter.
Next blog: The first thing we did