I am constantly amazed at my wife’s ability to remain sane as a woman with all the struggles she has faced in life. From the pressures of society to the unique attributes of being female, she has dealt with so much in every season of life and remained someone I constantly am inspired by and look up to. Indeed, I am proud to be her husband and best friend in this life and the next.
Of late, she has had to endure a cruel and unjust phase of life for no other reason than she is a woman, menopause. What’s interesting to me is that we have read up on and listened to so many points of view of what women go through when that dreaded day comes and menopause becomes part of everyday life, but it’s all from a woman’s perspective, and most assuredly should be, as they are the ones dealing with it on such a deep personal level, physically and mentally.
Rarely, if ever, do I hear from the men. And when I do it’s generally in a joking manner laden with so much ignorance, and sad to say is quite insensitive. The last thing a woman needs to hear is some quick and insincere response to her heartfelt needs.
Though I can joke about it, and do at times, but from a position of knowing and understanding what my wife is going through. Perhaps as a way to shed light on her struggles, let her know I do understand, am listening and am willing to help. Is it frustrating? Very much so. But I’m learning.
One of the most difficult aspects I deal with are her repetitive questions that seek reassurance. At first it was maddening to me to be asked the same question over and over…within a short period of time, sometimes within the same hour. But seriously, that’s one of the cruelest conditions of menopause, she normally would never need constant reassurance, but for some ungodly reason menopause does! I finally made the recommendation to her, jokingly, that I would make her a set of flash cards with her questions and my answers.
Reliving all the difficult memories of past experiences in life with her is tough, too. While she gets to go back through all the past emotions again, and not just as they were, we’re talking an “erectile dysfunction pill” for emotions, they will last more than four hours and be much harder than before! Those memories can be difficult to deal with all over again. Moreover, her memories of times I wasn’t a part of, how am I supposed to be a support when I don’t even know the trigger source of the emotion.
Indeed, to me, menopause is far more a traumatic mental affliction than it is physical.
That is not to say the physical is any walk in the park. My wife is hot…and cold, and hot, and cold. If you see a woman with her head out the window driving down the highway in the middle of winter with sweat running down her face, well, that’s us.
Sleeping at night is like an aerobics class. We start off all snugly and the next thing I know it’s like someone put an electric blanket between us set on ultra-high! Blankets flying, not to mention our little dog somewhere lost in the now flying blankets, we’re seeking the cool air away from the sauna of our not so distant quiet and relaxing sleep. Sleep? In short spurts, maybe. This was no gradual warm up either, instant heat. Perfect I think for winter camping in the mountains. But just as soon as you’re looking to turn the ceiling fan on high, open all the windows [mind you it’s 20 degrees outside] she’s grabbing for the blankets as the heat dissipates and the grueling cold moves back in. Talking about AC/DC!
Where does all this leave me? Hoping I can at the very least bring some peace to her life during this rather evil punishment she must go through, that we’re going through. It does affect me, not as it does her, but indeed, it does affect me, we’re going through this together, like every other stage in our 33 years together.
As crazy as it sounds I love going through it with her. But that’s just as it should be, we should always be there for each other. The key being, together. We are doing this, we are finding ways to cope and we are holding strong against what life throws at us not willing to let the negative penetration of life’s dark side destroy what we’ve made together.
I love the picture above. I love to see her finding, if for just a moment, peace. Be it meditating, staring blankly into the sunrise or just absorbing the short time when menopause leaves her alone, I just want to go up and grab her from behind, wrap my arms around her and encourage, embrace and relish in the moment with her. Unfortunately I fear that it might trigger something that would somehow reverse the bliss she is enjoying.
Alas, I stand back and have my own moment of seeing the most beautiful person in the world creating a special and most unbelievably serene setting with her physical and spiritual energy aligned with the universe at peace.
The “M” in MAD