This is his story...
My Husband hates injustice. He will stand up for his rights and defend anyone who he feels is being taken advantage of. He is very passionate about what he believes is right. Most people find him to be a bit confrontational, or rude. But if you knew him and his life story, you would know why he is like this, and why I love the man to bits.
His early child hood started out like any other. He had two parents who had married quite young. You could say they loved their first born in their own different ways. The new baby was a tool for his mothers own need to be the centre of attention. His father, uncomfortable with showing any emotion, devoted his life to bringing home the income. That was his contribution. The bread winner.
Soon baby two came along. A girl. Hubby had just started school, and his father had settled into a great job managing the local bank. But then Hubby started feeling sick. Desperately sick. In fact he could barely walk. His mother said he was faking it and was trying to get out of going to school. Finally they took him to the hospital. The diagnosis was Leukaemia. Their lives were now consumed with hospitals and chemo and uncertainty. His mother took every opportunity to divert the attention back to her. Faking a fainting spell, or some sort of illness, anything to grab the attention away from her deathly sick boy, lying there with tubes in his arms, having chemicals pumped into his little body. My husband has all of his medical files. They are in large white folders. Every single detail of his treatments are recorded in them. His mothers little episodes are in them to. Including the day when she had to be physically escorted out of the treatment room for being a nuisance.
The treatments were a nightmare for my Husband. Back then, a scared little boy, angry at everyone and everything. Too young to fully understand what was going on, even though it was explained to him multiple times. At one stage he refused the treatments, wanted instead to just die. It took them three days to convince him to start back on the chemo.
The treatments proved to be successful and he went into remission. After he was released from hospital, he was able to go back to school. This was to be a new horror for him. The cancer he had was testicular cancer. The chemo treatments killing off the cells that made testosterone and growth hormones. So even though he was older than his class mates, he was extremely small for his age. He was always the bald sickly kid. The easy target for cruel jokes. One teacher would make him take off his beanie in class, forcing him to sit there with his bald head. Listening to the muffled giggles behind him. On sports days he would be placed in his own age group for the running races. Imagine, healthy kids racing along the tracks, and last of all the bald little sick kid, bringing up the rear.
Life at home was no picnic either. His mothers’ behaviour was getting worse. She would lie to her husband, steal money from him, blame the kids for things she’d done, and bad mouth him to the kids behind his back. Turning them against him. Manipulating everything to suit her. When her husband refused to have another child, she secretly stopped taking her pills, and fell pregnant with baby three. Money was very tight back then, being on the one wage. She was given a weekly budget and would buy the bare essentials with it, blowing the rest on herself. The kids would get the simplest of meals and a single sandwich for school lunches. No ham and certainly no fruit.
It was while his second sister was still a baby that my Husband relapsed. The leukaemia had returned. So the family had to move to be closer to the hospital, and his father had to change jobs. Hubby had to go through all the chemo treatments one again. This did not suit his mother at all. It interfered with her selfish plans and she resented him for it. His father, meanwhile grew even more distant, fearing his son would die. He receded within himself. The marriage, what there was of it, began to crumble. There would be heated arguments. His mother would throw dishes. His dad would lose it and hit the wall. Her conniving, sneaky ways were starting to wear him down. He had had enough. Soon after my husband miraculously defeated this second bout of leukaemia, his father left the family.
His mother, ever the drama queen, called the police and told them that he was a mad man and had guns and threatened to shoot her and the kids. He never said any such things, but his mother had a way of manipulating people into believing her. The poor thing having to raise three children by herself. Of course we believe you.
His father left with nothing. Meanwhile she got everything, including their family home. After the divorce, his mother thought it within her rights to have boyfriend after boyfriend. Sometimes leaving the kids for days to fend for themselves. She would leave a small amount of money with them for food. At first they ate nothing but takeaway. But they soon got sick of the fatty food and so they would go to the local supermarket and buy groceries to make their own meals. These small intervals of time without their mother proved to be a bonding experience for the three siblings. This is the time when Hubby discovered his love of cooking that he still has to this day.
Hubby was just out of high school when, on a visit to the hospital one day he went into cardiac arrest. He had developed cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart). A terminal disease of the heart muscles caused by the chemotherapy drugs they used on him when he was a child. He was in an induced coma for some time. He was only 16. The recovery was long and soon he was finally able to go home. But everything had changed for him. To add to the testosterone patches he had to have, he now had to take dozens of meds every day to keep him alive.
His mother was still doing her own thing. Sometimes a boyfriend would move in. Some of them were nice. But then there were others that resented the kids. My Husband was the target of abuse at the hands of many of his mothers’ boyfriends. After one particularly nasty incident on which his mother blamed my husband, she threw him out with nothing but the clothes he was wearing. Not even shoes on his feet. This was merely weeks after he came home from hospital after a major heart attack. She then proceeded to ring all of his friends’ parents and told them the same lie. That he had been violent towards her and not to take him in. She even rang all the local youth shelters. And of course everyone believed her. My husband had nowhere to go. He spent a cold night on a railway bench and the next morning walked for miles until he came to a youth shelter his mother had not rung. He stayed there for a while and did what street kids did. Smoked, stole cars. He would shoplift just for the thrill, leaving the stolen items at the door to be found the next morning by staff.
His mother sold the family home for far less than what it was worth, also selling my husbands’ things, including his prized antique key collection. Of course, she immediately blew the money.
His life of crime finally caught up with him and after that, he decided to clean up his act, and with the help from one of the youth councillors, got a job and a flat. He finally had his own place, he was dependant on no-one. But what of his sisters? Hubby was very worried about them, so in spite of the way he had been treated, decided that his sisters well being was more important. At this time the older sister was still in high school. His mother had met a man crazy enough to want to marry her. Her new fiancé pulled hubby aside one day and told him that his mother was about to kick his sister out as well. So hubby approached her and asked her if she wanted to come live with him. She accepted, and so it was my husband who looked after her and put her through high school. A kid himself. To this day she does not know that it was in fact her mother that had kicked her out. My husband took extra shifts at work and bought her an expensive violin, because she had shown a natural talent for music. He taught her how to drive. Helped her buy her first car and did it up for her (not that she showed any gratitude).
When she finished high school, she moved out with her boyfriend but then she fell pregnant. Sadly she lost the baby, nearly dying herself. Naturally their mother made a scene in the ward, diverting the attention to herself. While her daughter lay dying in a bed, having just lost a child. His sister stayed with her boyfriend and became pregnant again. After she had the baby her boyfriend left her. Once again my Husband was the one to take her in and looked after her and the baby. He had to quit his job and his University course to look after the baby so that his sister could go to Uni to study nursing. She graduated with high honours. She moved out but my husband continued looking after her baby when she was working late shifts.
My husband was enjoying life once again. He had met a nice lady at the grocery store one day (he gave her some cooking advice) who had recently become a single mum herself. She had two boys and a girl. She took my Husband in as one of her own. My husband baby sat and home schooled her two boys. Then tragedy struck again when he had a terrible accident on his motorbike. A careless driver cut him off coming off a bridge and to avoid plunging to his death over the side, he had to swerve violently the other way, hitting a cement block, causing the bike to flip. My husband was in such a bad way that two ambulances were called, along with the coroners. His leg was wrapped around his body. He spent months in hospital, undergoing many surgeries where he had a titanium rod put in to replace his shattered femur (upper leg bone). This still gives him constant pain. He has three enormous scars running down his leg. He had 110 staples. Needless to say he did not ride again. While he was recovering in hospital his beloved Grandmother died, and he was not able to go to the funeral. His grandmother was the one who gave him the money to buy the bike in the first place. After he was released from hospital he had to move back in with his mother for a time as he had lost his unit. He hated having to rely on this woman once again. As soon as his leg was good enough he moved out into his own place.
Hubby decided that he wanted to do some more with his life and having studied IT for that short time at Uni and having a talent for all technical things, he decided to start up his own IT business with a $500 grant from the government. He was quite successful with his church connections. He was becoming a valued member of the church, studying to become a youth pastor and teaching immigrants and teenagers to use computers and learn to drive. Meanwhile he was still babysitting his niece for his sister. When the child was 5, his sister met and married a military man. My husband had started up karate and was doing really well until, during a competition he snapped his ACL ( anterior cruciate ligament), which if you don’t know is really really painful. The doctors told him it would need surgery.
Meanwhile, his sister and her new husband had had another baby. His sister almost died in the process, haemorrhaging quite badly after the birth. When the baby was six months old her husband was deployed overseas. In steps my Husband to babysit two children now so that his sister can continue working. Driving for hours to her house every week. Taking the little girl to school in the mornings.
He was fired from a job for having a disability. He successfully sued this huge international company for discrimination.
This was just after we meet. On an online dating site. We were both going out with other people. It didn’t work out for either of us, so we decided to meet...and the rest of that story is history.
Not long after we met, my then fiancé had his knee surgery. I can tell you now that he is one loopy bunny on pain meds. Trouble is, is that he doesn’t remember a thing. Then that is probably a good thing. He went through months of physio to get his wasted leg muscles back to normal. He has to wear a custom knee brace if he does any exercise, including karate.
We have had a couple of scares during our marriage so far. One time he had to call the ambulance to take him to the hospital. On the way they had to stop for a more experienced officer to attend. They said later that he was going into cardiac arrest again.
Because of the chemo he had when he was young, it killed his dream of being able to father a child. Because of the money he had won in the law suit we started married life completely debt free, and we were able to try IVF. Our first attempt was unsuccessful. Hubby blamed himself for it, even though I reassured him that is wasn't his fault. How could it be. We waited for a while to recover financially and emotionally and gave the IVF another go, but devastatingly, we were unsuccessful with this second attempt. We have now accepted that this is just not to be.
We have one child. He is eleven now. He was eight when I met my husband and they bonded instantly. You would never know they were not biological father and son. All the more so because they both have Aspergers syndrome. Yes it is fun living with two of them. But I understand why Hubby is the way he is. I accept him for who he is. I would not have married him if I didn’t. I waited 34 years for him. He tells me often that we are what he lives for.
He has been in and out of hospital a few times. Each time brings home the reality that one day he will need that heart transplant, and that anytime, anywhere, his heart could give out and he could drop dead on the spot.
We try to not let it dictate our lives. As I type this he is putting new break shoes on our car, after coming back from a writer’s seminar. He has his good days and his bad days. On the good days we try to do as much as we can, but not too much because he pays for it for a few days after.
People don’t get it. If you can’t see the disability, then it must not be so bad. But there are days when it’s all he can do to get himself out of bed. He has been on a pension for many years. He can never work a normal job, exercise like a normal healthy person. People don’t get his daily struggles that we take for granted. Even his own sister thinks he is just being lazy (she has never once thanked him for all the help he gave to her. He got nothing from her).
Now His mother is back in his sisters’ life and she is the new flavour of the month. She even lives with them! Babysitting their kids. I get mad when I think about how my husband was treated and that his sister doesn’t even care. Pretends like nothing ever happened. My husband has to put up with being at least civil to his mother whenever we have a family occasion at his sister’s house.
All of these events in his life could have left him a bitter and broken person. I marvel every day at his strength and his fighting spirit. He won’t take anything lying down. He once stood up to a huge leather clad bikie because he was smoking near a kids playground. He will always be outspoken, be the person in the room who says or asks what everyone else is thinking, but is too afraid to do it. He has no inner monologue, and has to say what he is thinking due to his short term memory loss. Sometimes it’s embarrassing. And yes sometimes it is rude, but wouldn’t you love to be that person who had the guts to stand up for what you believe in and take action?
I know I would.
Thank you to those who stuck with this till the end. (hugs)