Thursday, June 18, 2009

Say it, sister

One of the workers at the care home where Fred lives now has been reading my blog and finding it pertinent to her situation. Her situation is the opposite of ours. She's 45 and has two sons. Recently divorced and stop-traffic gorgeous, she finds herself dating younger men or even men her own age who still want to have children. She believes she could get pregnant but worries about the risks of pregnancy so late in life. Plus, she has done the math. She'd be over 50 when the child started kindergarten, in her 60s when he graduated from high school, in her 70s when he finished college and/or married and had children . . . No. She doesn't want to do that. Nor does she want to cheat her dates out of something they really want. So, she says, "I gently set them free."

She wanted to know how I came to be childless. Fred was sitting there with me as I explained that I had married two husbands who wouldn't or couldn't father my children. "I was one of them," Fred piped up. She turned to me. "How old were you when you got married?" "33." And then she gave Fred such a look, a look that said, You dog, you bastard, how could you do that to her? I wanted to jump up and hug her.

Where was she when I was 33?

You're on your own

It has been almost a month since I blogged here, so I'm doing it twice today. I have been in the midst of finding a new place for my husband, who has Alzheimer's. The home where he had been staying was not working out. He was so miserable he tried to run away. So now, with help from a great organization called A Place for Mom, I have moved him to Timberwood Court in Albany Oregon. It's a lot farther from home, but a much better place.

What does this have to do with childlessness? Mainly that I wouldn't have been doing all this alone if I had children or if his children really understood how hard this is. There's the physical part of it: Fred's room came unfurnished, so I had to buy furniture and get it to Albany. I carried a carload of stuff when we moved and last week, I single-handledly shoved two heavy easy chairs into the back of the car and drove them over. This week I'm getting a phone hooked up. I'm dealing with insurance and doctors and staggering bills. Perhaps worst is the strain of making all these decisions on my own. Fred can't help anymore, and no one else is here.

If you're considering a marriage without children, especially to a much older man, think about the possibility that he will get sick and suddenly you'll be handling everything alone.