Being the Shoulder

Today is going to be a bit more heavy of a post, and I am not really sure where to start, so bare with me for a moment.

Over the holiday Amber and I had Christmas with her family and with mine.  I was feeling very giving because I had gone up to visit Amber’s family early and had been as helpful as I possibly could.  Amber’s father has ALS and it is not a good situation.  There are always things to do and never enough time to get them done.  With Amber’s mother so busy with taking care of her father, neither one of them had had time to get their presents wrapped, or even purchased all of them by Christmas Eve.  So I was sent out, and did various other jobs in my time up there.

Then it came time to go down to see my family and do all of the things down there.  I got so caught up in the holiday, seeing family and friends, that I did not take the time to stop and think about how Amber was feeling.  She always has a very tough time after seeing her parents.  I was in such a good mood that I didn’t even contemplate that she might not be.

And yesterday, everyone was going sledding.  Amber didn’t want to.  I pushed and tried hard to get her to go.  I was going to skip because I wanted to be with Amber.  But after I had made that decision, I just couldn’t stop thinking about sledding. So I asked Amber if I could go, she said yes and that she still just wanted to stay home.  I wrote it off as her just simply not wanting to be cold, and went and had a great time.

When I got back, I found that she had been very productive and was now just relaxing and reading.  We went to yet another dinner and over to a friend’s place who was in from out of town.  And when we got there they were giving her a hard time for not coming sledding with everyone else.  And her reply was “I just needed some time at home.”  I could tell that that meant that she was just not in a ‘have fun’ mode and it got me thinking.

I usually can read Amber like a book.  And for the two years since we found out that her father is sick and going to pass long before he should, I have made it my duty to keep her as happy and upbeat as possible.  Usually, she breaks down hard after seeing her parents, and the next couple of days are difficult.  She had been with them for a week.  That is a week of hard realities and harder thoughts.  And when we got home she was able to hide her pain much better than she ever has before.

In a (possibly sick) way it makes me kind of proud that she has obviously been listening to everything that I have said and she is taking more control of her emotional state.  But at the same time I am saddened that she has had to.  Life can be extremely hard.  Amber is dealing with one of the worst things that can happen to a person, and it is happening to her father.   Part of me is even sad that she is taking over the role of making her life better and protecting me from the pain that she is dealing with.  Lessening my burden is not at all what my aim is, helping her with her burden is my goal.  But I just had not thought all the way through to where that would lead when she did take that control.

I guess my point is that it is my goal to make her life better and as easy, good, smooth, happy etc as possible.  That is my goal with every single person I meet, work with, sell to.  I just never thought I would miss the role of shoulder to lean on.