Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward. Kurt Vonnegut
Imagine for a second, you’ve spent three days spring cleaning your house to make it glow before your viewings this weekend. As your busy cleaning the final room you ask your partner to do one, relatively simple task but it doesn’t get done. Frustrating right? Now imagine that you can’t even blame him for it because he hasn’t ignored the instruction intentionally, he simply didn’t understand what you meant. For me that adds another level of frustration. Not with him directly, just a general feeling of frustration and exasperation for the situation we have found ourselves in.
“Can you put this mat in front of the utility room door please?” Those were my words this morning. I spoke slowly and I pointed towards the mat and the utility room as I spoke. Finn smiled and grabbed the mat from me. He headed towards the utility room but two minutes later came back with the mat in hand. “Sorry Finn, please leave it in the utility room. To keep the floor clean.” He gave me a look as if to say “why would you do that?” and pointed towards the floor where the mat had come from. Again, I spoke slowly and tried to explain that I wanted to keep the utility floor from getting dirty. “No, prosecco mat” he said (the mat says come in if you have prosecco) again pointing to the floor. I took another few minutes explaining why I wanted to move it and eventually I thought we had agreed that he would put this mat at the front door and put a plain one in the utility. I was wrong.
Once I’d finished cleaning and Finn had taken himself off for a rest I went into the utility room. No mat to be seen. Turns out he had swapped the mats but put the second one in the garage. I never once mentioned the garage so I have no idea how he reached that conclusion. It doesn’t end there either. This starts another conversation explaining what I had meant yet again so that Finn could understand why he had misunderstood. What started out as a simple request to help me turned into an energy sapping task skirting dangerously close to an argument.
It seems like such a small thing to get worked up over. I’m aware of that. Yet, this happens so often and all these small things just build up. None of it is his fault of course. Nor is it mine. The stroke has taken so much from him and I know how frustrated he gets when he can’t help me as much as he would like to. Before the stroke he would have helped me clean and we would have gotten it done in half the time. These days that just isn’t an option. He will help where he can but it doesn’t take long before the fatigue sets in and he has to rest.
A lot of the time we try and laugh about things like this. See the funny side and remain positive as much as possible. It’s pretty much the only way to stay sane. Some times though you can’t help but snap at each other. There is so much frustration on both sides because of this new language barrier between us. It wasn’t until our ability to communicate effectively was taken from us that I realised how much I took it for granted. There is no point in questioning why this happened though. We can choose to dwell on the negative thoughts and emotions or we can choose to look forward with hope in our hearts that things will continue to improve. I try to appreciate my health and abilities so much more these days and remember all the things I still have that I can be grateful for.