Sing it Patti, "I'm feeling good from my hat to my shoe, know where I am going and I know what to do, I've tidied up my point of view, I've got a new attitude."

Lorna feels dizzy but liberated. How does her new lease on life affect her marriage?

In 2007, some pretty important events happened:

  1. A 2,100 year-old melon is discovered in Japan on June 1. It wasn’t the juiciest melon the Japanese ever tasted.
  2. The Vatican beatifies 498 Spanish victims of religious persecution from before and during the Spanish Civil War. And you thought you were behind on your “To Do” list.
  3. Anna Nicole Smith, Rev. Jerry Falwell, and Charles Nelson Reilly all died, but not in the same hotel room.
  4. I turned 50 years old.

Unlike most gerontophobic people, I was happy to be fifty and not dead. Sure, I had one extra hole in my head and a foot-flop, but I was here to talk about it. Given my new Buddhist attitude, I gave myself a gift for the first time in my life. I thought my idea was inspirational and revolutionary. With the serenity and glow of a woman from a Calgon commercial, I told Chuck, “From this day forward, I will speak my truth with kindness.”

Ah. It's marvelous when you're inspirationally revolutionary.

I waited for a supportive “that’s my Lorna” response. He seemed to need some time to process my declaration. After a moment, his brows started knitting so furtively, I thought a scarf was in the making. Finally he said, “What do you mean by ‘your’ truth?” Emphasizing the kindness part, I explained that I was an adult and gave myself the permission to express my thoughts and feelings—with kindness.

I do not think this is wise. You are not being logical.

My first act of speaking my kind truth flopped. In Chuck’s world, there was only one truth and mine wasn’t it. He took my announcement as an indictment of our relationship and his treatment of me. I was talking about me; he was hearing me criticize him. Being kindly truthful to him was tricky.

As it turned out, kindness didn’t matter, no disrespect to Jewel. Chuck didn’t like his kind but candid wife. He avoided me by being more busy and away from home. His allergies kept him sleeping in a recliner downstairs so “our” bedroom was pretty much “my” bedroom. I periodically brought up our intimacy “communication” problem. Invariably I would listen to how I made him feel like a failure. My suggestions about trying counseling again (because it helped so much the first time) fell flat.

I dove back into my Buddhist books and found renewed inspiration to continue practicing loving kindness. This just frustrated him more. The more kind I was, the more resentful he became. It was the Vicious Cycle of Kindness you rarely hear about in Buddhist teachings.

I've had it with all your blasted kindness, Woman. Stop before I do something you'll regret.

In early 2008, I thought maybe things were turning around. Chuck always surprised me. That was the year of our 25th wedding anniversary. We had purchased a time-share on Waikiki  Beach and he suggested we take the honeymoon we never really had. Great! Then he started naming people he wanted to invite to share “paradise” with us. Huh? Telling him “No freaken way!” would’ve seemed selfish. Chuck was delighted that his mother-in-law was able to accompany us on our honeymoon. I’m glad that Mom got to see Hawaii. It was a nice family trip, but it was no honeymoon in the Biblical sense.

There’s a Buddhist Temple on Oahu. I suggested well before we went that we renew our wedding vows. Normally Chuck planned and made fancy  arrangements for special events. Chuck’s approach to my renewal suggestion was flaccid agreeable but nonchalant. We picked “our” day that morning, went up to the temple, and said our heartfelt vows to each other off the top of our heads. My mom videotaped the “ceremony” but the wind was blowing so hard that the picture quality was great but the words were lost. Prophetic. Then we had lunch at Chili’s.

What's that you say Lorna, you vow to love me forever? I seem to have lost my connection...

Chuck turned 50 in May. He embraced 50 like it was the Grim Reaper. No party. No mention of his age. He got himself a gift, though: a 1970-something El Dorado convertible. It was white—being a female, I remember specific automotive details like that. He knew that I couldn’t ride in convertibles because all the sensory stimulation made my dizziness worse. If this was a game of poker, he saw “my truth” and raised it with “his convertible.” I don’t know which one cost us more.

That summer was the worse summer for my health in the 7 years since CFIDS. After a 12-day migraine, I was desperate. Something had to give before I did. Praying came to mind. I wasn’t on my knees, all angelic-like. I was pounding my thighs,  shouting pleading loudly though sobs of pure self-pity to Anyone Out There Who Would Listen. (I wanted to cover all bases.) Being friends with my condition was one thing, but my friend was beating me up. I asked for relief, just from the headache. I was in a bargaining mood, so I offered to “run toward anything that was positive and run away from anything that was negative” if only this malaise would lift.

Buddhists don't generally pray, but you can see why I resorted to an alternate plan.

I knew, deep down, I was playing with matches in an oil refinery. But I also figured the chances of “just ask and ye shall receive” were pretty slim, even though you read about it all the time in the Bible.

Never underestimate the power of thigh-thumping and pity-partying…

Don’t leave us hanging. What happened?