It’s been a long time coming!
Finally, after years of being over protective, attempting to be proactive, at times becoming combative, I have learned the art of backing off, or as some males would put it, getting off his back. Backing off, or getting off one’s back, is a term used to describe a woman who is leaving her man alone. She is not nagging him or pestering him about any one thing. Many women had a hard time mastering this skill, especially women like myself, whose husbands have Parkinson’s Disease. But, ladies and gentlemen, I am please to announce that I have officially backed off!
It was long over due. For years I held the opinion that Keith had no clue as to what was best for his health. I believed that just didn’t care about whether or not the PD progressed. I cared. I believed. I care and believed a little too hard, according to some. I tried to fix PD, as if that’s even possible. I tried to fix Keith’s attitude about it - even less possible. I resented, festered, burned, yelled, begged, and cried. I did all the normal things a nagging wife would do when met with opposition. And although we have always maintained a good, healthy and happy marriage, I would be lying if I said that it did not affect our relationship. For about a year we just weren’t as happy as we used to be. I decided to take action. I backed off.
It can be hard to get off someone’s back when sometimes you don’t intend to be there at all. Often times you end up there quite by accident. You realize suddenly, usually by the way the PWP is looking at you, that somehow you have crossed the line, said something you shouldn’t have said. You are now accidentally on his back. You have nagged him, or maybe even simply reminded him of something that should have gone unsaid. Like the time Keith and I were discussing adding on to the house. I casually mentioned that a much large, wheelchair accessible bathroom would be a good idea. The look on his face clearly said Gee, thanks for reminding that I have a degenerative disease, as if I could ever forget, and for taking all the fun out of building an addition to the house! Oops! Then there was the year-long fight about moving out of the house or not moving out. I never intended to upset him each and every time I brought it up. I never intended to make him feel like an invalid or that he had nothing to look forward to. I never intended to make him feel like he had no say in his own health or in our future together. Somehow, just by being me and wanting to help and fix everything, that’s what happened. I rode his back for a solid year thinking I new better. But not anymore.
Being married to a PWP is a long and very educational journey. I never stop learning. Because the disease is ever changing and always evolving, so is our need to change and evolve with it. Sometimes that means changing what we have always believed to be, methods we have utilized in the past, perceptions of what should be. If Keith is my teacher and PD my classroom, then I have many more years of study ahead of me. As always, I am learning as I go. Though I struggled with this particular class more than any other, I am happy to know that I have finally passed with flying colors.