05:54:40 am on
Thursday 25 Jul 2024

A Loveless Life
M Alan Roberts

I know a man, a friend of mine who we shall leave anonymous, who tells me everyday that he loves his wife. I have known him for only 3 months. He works hard and tries everyday to let her and his two sons know that he loves them. He tells me that although he loves his wife very much, "she hates the hell out of" him. And sometimes he tears up and almost cries when he says that.

The painful realization that your love is not being returned cuts to the bone and makes you feel a barrage of unpleasant emotions to say the least. Of course, many couples have their problems - we all do. However, in my friend's case, it's a little different. About a year ago, he had his second heart attack. He's a 47 year old Georgia man who grew up eating things like fatback, fresh butter, sausage gravy and lots of other high-fat foods. He was always a very active, hardworking man, yet his heart could not withstand the abuse of poor dietary choices.

One day, at work, he had a heart attack while sitting beside his co-worker in the company truck. He moves mobile homes for a living in the Georgia sunshine - not the easiest job in the world. He woke up in the hospital recovery room and wondered where his family was. His daughter finally showed up and he asked her where his wife of 21 years was. 21 years and 4 children later, she was not willing to even give him a visit on what could have easily been his deathbed. Likewise, his two sons didn't show.

When he was released from the hospital several days later, he returned to his home, but was unable to work his laborious job. He had to recover. His wife works full-time at a chicken farm, but she has never contributed to the family's finances. Her money stays with her, in an account that he has no rights to. During his stay at the hospital, he was also told that he is a diabetic. He needed medication. He needed insulin. He needed test strips to monitor his glucose levels.

There was no help offered from his family. There were no meals prepared for him - no heart healthy snacks for nourishment. Of course, being a typical American construction worker, he had no health insurance; no savings and no credit. The trailer that he owns and lives in is too old to borrow against. Without choices, but being a survivor, he proceeded to go out in his yard every day and scoot around on his butt to gather pecans to sell. He scooted out to the barn and made a sign. He scooted out to the street and placed the sign. He sold Georgia pecans for a dollar per pound until he scraped enough money together to afford his medications - with no help.

Months later, he had regained enough strength to start back to work moving mobile homes. He lost most all of his muscle to atrophy and now has a very difficult time performing his duties. Still he goes, 6 days per week, out in the heat and tears down and sets up the homes - for $60 per day. When he comes home, there is no dinner waiting for him. There is no clean home to relax in. His wife and children refuse to clean or do anything whatsoever to make life better for him - or for themselves. He stops by the grocery every day and gets food to bring home - and then he prepares it for them and serves it to them.

He tells me that, for 21 years, he has done everything in his power to take care of them, yet they still treat him with blatant disrespect. His children cuss at him and threaten to beat him. None of them lift a finger to cut the grass; take out the trash; do the dishes; get a job (besides the wife) or anything else that is required to just keep life moving along. His sons are 17 and 18. I tell him to leave. I tell him to demand respect. He admits that he doesn't have the heart to leave them and that he still believes in them - in his family.

Sometimes, in the evening, after his familial duties are completed, he comes over to sit outside with me a drink a few beers. He is such a nice man that I can't believe that his family treats him the way that they do. I can hear them in the background if we speak on the phone - yelling obscenities and belittling him. I can see the effects on him and in his voice when he tells me about them. He is a strong man, but broken from within.

My friend, unfortunately, is one of the many abused people on this planet. I often wonder how it must feel - how destructive it really is - to be degraded and threatened by your own family. I wonder how people can be so cruel to someone that has provided for them for decades and still does. I wonder where compassion lives and where love resides. My friend, 47 years old, is working on heart attack number 3 - and he no longer eats fatback and butter. His next heart attack will be caused by the constant stress of degradation and disrespect - not knowing how to make his situation better.

He wants to live. He wants to be here - for his family.

M Alan Roberts is a radical thinker. He has a gimlet eye for injustice, much as did Frederich Engels, a century and a half before. Still, Roberts finds a way to write effective SEO copy. This suggests both sides of his brain, his mind, work equally well.

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