Thursday, February 28, 2019

Come together. Right now.

"Come together right now. . .over me." - The Beatles

Partner: "Can I speak with you in private for a moment?"
Parents: "Can we speak with you in private for a moment?"
Partner: "Don't mention anything to his parents about this but. . ."
Parents: "Don't mention anything about this to his girlfriend but. . ."
Me: 😬

One person expressed one thing. Somebody else expressed something altogether different. Everybody loves him. But the messed up part is that those people that all agree on loving him, agree on very little else.


Are they rude? Nope. Screaming and hollering? Not so much. But mostly, the room is just filled with this icy coolness when I walk in. If everyone is there at the same time, count on it to be filled to the brim with passive-aggressive nice-nastiness.


Partner: "I just don't even try with them anymore. They think they know what he wants and needs but they don't. They barely know him."
Me: "How long have you all been together?"
Partner: "Oh goodness. Easily ten years. We might as well be married.”
Me: "Gotcha."
Partner: "Essentially, they don't like me and I don't like them. So we never talk. I mean, he talks to them, but I don't. I steer clear of them as much as I can."
Me: "I see."


Partner: "Well I know they're saying they want to do one thing when he leaves here. But that's not what I want to do. I want something else and I think he'd want me to make that decision."
Me: "Have y'all talked about it? You and his parents?"
Partner: "I tried to be polite. But they always thought he could do better than me. Like they wanted him to get married and have a wife who was skinny and went to college somewhere and who don't got any kind of background."
Me: "Hmmm."
Partner: "That ain't me. So far as I was concerned they could kiss my ass."
Me: "Dang."
Partner: "Now since he can't speak for himself, they all high on they horse. That's some bullshit."

*later in the same day*

Parents: "Thanks for talking to us."
Me: "No problem."
Parents: "We plan to take him home with us after this. We have a lot of good things to assist him on getting back on his feet."
Me: "I see. I know he has a live-in partner. Have you all talked to her?"
Parents: *eyeroll* "No. And we don't need to either."
Me: "Umm. . okay. Well I know he can't speak for himself right now. But what do you think would be his preference?"
Parents: "Well. Seeing as he has no insurance and not much else? I hope his preference would be to go with whatever is best for him."
Me: *silence*

Damn damn damn.

There was drama later. Major drama. Those hushed voices began to escalate. In the hallway. In the room. Near the elevator. And probably some other places that I don't even know about. But it was sticky and yucky and contentious and just. . .yeah. I did my best to stay out of it. But it isn't as easy to do that as it sounds.


*steps onto soapbox*

Look here, man:

Everything--and I do mean EVERYTHING--is about relationships. Working at them. Clarifying them. Solidifying them. And, when possible, taking necessary actions to seal them as legal.

For real.

Those almost in-laws you don't mess with? That estranged spouse that "might as well be divorced" from someone? Those siblings with whom you're at war? That parent that you don't talk to at all anymore over some kind of petty disagreement or even some major disagreement? Look man. I implore you to do whatever it takes to get on the other side of that complicated.


If you fall ill and can't speak for yourself? Guess who gets to call the shots? Your legal power of attorney. Married? Your spouse. Not married but without a power of attorney? Your parents. Or your siblings. Would you be cool with the person who would legally get to be the shot-caller for you as of this very moment doing so? If not, I suggest you do something about it. Stat.

And even if you DO have the legal parts all copasetic and such? Still work at the relationships. Because if illness falls, it WILL call for y'all to interact. A lot. Grown siblings. Grown grandkids. Long-term boo-thangs. Those folks want to have a say. And even if you make up your mind that they can't have one, you might lose a few years of your life through angst and worry just trying to stiff-arm the ones who want a seat at the table.


The good news is that I see lots of long term partners who navigate life-threatening illnesses well with families. But that is always when it is anchored in some kind of respectful understanding of their position. With this patient? That wasn't the case.

And that? That sucks, man.

*steps off of soapbox*

Come together. Right now.

Or else.


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