I met my soulmate when he was only 18, and I was twice married, twice divorced, from two cheating, abusive, drunk, drugged men. I was also 8 years older than this new friend of mine and had a little boy to raise.
We met at work. Ironically, I was one of his bosses. We became friends and would go places together as friends, always taking my son. Since I didn't have that much time off from work, everywhere I went, my son went as well. It was so important to me and always will be, to spend as much time with him as I could. Mark understood that and planned fun things like Mystic Aquarium and other kids-type things that Davie could enjoy. We stayed friends for a long while. Then it began to feel like more.
One thing I never wanted to do again, was get married, after the horrible experiences I'd already gone through, and at some level, I blamed myself for choosing so badly. I was afraid it would happen again, though Mark gave me no reason to feel that way.
Finally, we did decide to get married, with Dave right between us, in the small house I lived in. Mom and Dad (mine), who Mark also called Mom and Dad, confusing everyone, were our witnesses. It was a private, lovely ceremony and it meant a lot to us both.
The years went by and I left the job that I'd been putting close to 80 hours in for the past 15 years and found a job that worked around Dave's school hours and Mark's work hours. Life was good.
Sometime in that time-frame, Mark was the one working way too many hours, and then his company sent him to Barbados to cover for a supervisor there, right after I'd had my second surgery. He didn't want to go and they threatened his job over it. He went and came back a different man.
Exhausted all the time, irritable, depressed, so many symptoms nobody knew what was going on. To make it all that much worse, his memory was getting awful. That's never changed. Lost is the memory of our marriage, lost is the memory of all the holidays we spent together, the family gatherings, always at our home. Those are gone for good, not to mention most of all his childhood memorys too. He would sleep 24 hours or more at a time and get up when I woke him for his asthma meds or to eat. He'd had severe asthma since birth, but this was something scary and different.
Finally, the diagnosis came. Bi-polar. And possibly something else, though nobody is quite sure what yet. By adjusting different medicines, he's somewhat better, but not the same as he was and probably never will be. He's on disability and we do the best we can, as I'm also disabled, though my case hasn't gone through yet. I was always afraid to apply. We get by and do as much as we can, volunteer-wise and try our best at whatever we can.
He has some very bad days and some ok days, the good days aren't really there anymore.
One thing that's never changed is our love for each other, disabilitys don't change that; in fact, they can reinforce it, as you care and become a caretaker in any way you can or know how or can figure out. Our son, who Mark adopted, understands and is right there for his Dad. As I have among other things, panic disorder and have had it for years, Mark understands that now better than he ever did - as he now has panic attacks, which I wouldn't wish on anyone. After going on 22 years of marriage, we can't imagine a world without each other, disabilitys or not. We "are" each others world and also each others soulmates. Our son is so close to us both. We are grateful for what we do have and make the best of what we don't.
We are lucky. Our apartment is full of love.
mn - 2006