Unfortunately, this morning on the way to church, a minor conversation disturbed me greatly. I've been thinking on it all day.
We typically leave a few minutes early when heading to church. In case the rain lets up enough to fill my gas tank at Costco. Today it was a good day to fill up, and we stopped to do so.
I got out of the car to fill it up, nodded to the attendant who was standing there, and put my card into the pump. The attendant looks at me, ducks down for a second to glance inside the car at the Man, and says, "why are you getting out of the car to pump gas?"
The judgment against my husband was clear... and hurt deeply.
I managed to reply graciously. I said, "my husband is disabled."
From the attendant, "I can accept that."
Everything in me wanted to lash out at this man that he had no right to judge my husband... that he knows nothing of our circumstances... that his acceptance doesn't mean squat to me...
...that the Man can't remember how the gas pump works because he has dementia and my heart is breaking because of that thoughtless comment.
There were a lot of things I could have lashed out at the attendant this morning, including some words that I would have been embarrassed to use just a few minutes later at church. (sinner... human... thanking God for forgiveness!)
I'm grateful that God held my tongue for me and gave me the grace to respond gently instead of with some of what was in my head. That as I got back in my car, I smiled at the attendant and wished him a good day.
There is also a larger level of thankful that the Man didn't hear any of it.
Right now is the hardest part of the dementia for the Man. The part where he knows exactly what is happening to him. That he forgets way too much. That he can't do multi-step tasks like driving... or filling the gas tank.
But he wants to. Oh, mercyandgrace, but he wants to do those things that he has always done for me like filling my gas tank.
Usually, I tell him that it's too cold outside for him to do it, and that I'm having a hot flash... to save his pride because he wants to pump gas for me, so badly, but is demoralized each time he forgets the process. Since the Man gets so very cold and very quickly, he accepts this and we go about our business.
But the judgment from others who do not have any clue is hard to accept.
At times it is a bitter pill, especially when I know the Man's heart is to be my protector and a provider. I remember the days when he was the strong one for me. Now I have to be all that, and more, for both of us.
I know that a random comment from a stranger shouldn't bother me so much... but that judgment sits heavy on my heart this evening. My emotions get the best of me at times, and apparently this is one of them.
...may there be mercy and God's graciousness ...