Hanging in the Balance

The scales of my life are quite weighty at the moment, with more and more things piling into them on a daily basis it seems.  Over the past several days, my mother in law (who has been suffering from progressive dementia for the past six years) slipped into renal failure and is now in hospice care.  In the process of making all these arrangements, checking on her daily, trying to complete the car repairs from the minor accident I was involved in a couple of weeks ago, and also deal with an ever increasing work load at the office, it’s been a bit difficult to achieve any kind of balance in my life.  And although my husband is the Libra in the family, I’m the one who really craves things to be on an even keel and to have my ducks in a row at all times.

I’ve been thinking about the balance in relationships, especially in marriage, for I think a natural division of labor and responsibility usually develops between a couple, often unspoken, but simply mutually agreed upon by experience and preference.  This week I’ve been handling the medical details, since I’m more comfortable in that arena and speak that language, while Jim has been in charge of the car repair since he’s the most experienced in that realm.  We fell into those activities quite naturally, it seemed, without discussion.  He knows I hate making phone calls, so he’s done all the talking with insurance adjusters and mechanics.  I know he’s uncomfortable with illness, so I’ve spent the most time with his mother, talking to the hospice staff and trying to make sure she was comfortable.

Of course, inequities will occur, even in the best of systems.  Housework is usually one of them, isn’t it?  Men seem to be missing the gene that causes anxiety when the laundy piles up, the dishes aren’t done, and cobwebs hang from all the corners.   Alternatively, I can’t muster much enthusiasm for watching auto racing in stereo surround sound.  So, occasionally even the most evenly matched couples become out of balance. Perhaps a new circumstance comes into play, one that neither party has ever dealt with before. 

Sometimes, adjustments must be made. 

Through it all, keeping a good balance is key – in relationships, and in life in general.

So wish me luck, as I keep working to even the scales.

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11 thoughts on “Hanging in the Balance

  1. I’m so sorry! I can only imagine how time and energy consuming it must be to take care of an aging relative. You really are an angel for helping your husband do it (and by helping I mean doing most of the work!). Can you hire someone to come clean your house for the next few weeks? That might free up a lot of mental and physical energy, knowing that there was one huge thing checked off your list. We have someone who comes 2x/month, and it is by far the best money we spend.

  2. Becca, your post made a lot of sense to me. It is about a balanced, mature relationship.

    I am undergoing upheveal of sorts and at times, I have felt just to let it all go. Along with myself…

    My tuesday post is so muh about depression…

    Sorry if I ramble. I think I just need to have a meaningless talk.

  3. Becca, finding a way to stay balanced when life becomes turbulent is hard, and shifting the weight to the one who can carry it easiest makes sense. Your husband is so lucky to have you there to work with the medical people (and his Mum too). You really describe the way the best relationships do seem to work – each doing things for the other in the spirit of doing it for “us”. Nice.

  4. Becca, you have an awful lot in front of you right now. Simplify whatever you can. And hug your husband. Finding your balance depends on having good support. Sending thoughts and prayers speeding your way.

  5. Dear Becca, Your post here really spoke to me. My parents are gone now but I very much recall the same fluctuations and responsibilities, the balancing act that you are now going through. Balance is always something to be strived for. I don’t think it is ever really perfect. A teeter-totter is probably more like it. But please know that I am wishing you all good thoughts and prayers for strength as you make you way down this final path. Blessings, Annie

  6. Oh, Becca. You have a lot on your plate. This is one of the times I can say that I truly understand what you have in front of you. Accept help where you find it, and just try to get through it the best you can. I’m thinking of you and wishing you strength. You and Jim take care of one another.

  7. I’m sure Jim must say a prayer of thanks for you each day. Wishing you moments of peace sprinkled in with the many stressors in your life right now.

  8. First time here.. and loved your introspection!

    “Men seem to be missing the gene that causes anxiety when the laundy piles up, the dishes aren’t done, and cobwebs hang from all the corners. ”

    Why is that? How I wish when the dishes pile up his hands would get itchy too like mine gets. But he says “Let it lie I will do it tomorrow ” 😛 What?

  9. Sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. I know it i a difficult time. My husband and I are the same way … pitching in for each other when the work gets hard and time is short. It’s a wonderful thing and although there are differences too, in the long run I think it all works out.

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