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Why Men Run

handA Man’s Definition of Caregiving: where every man’s greatest fears of failure are confirmed on a daily basis.

If given the right training and appropriate gear, I could stroll the surface of Mars. In fact, I could walk into a suicide mission if I was convinced that my sacrifice would weaken the enemy and save innocent lives. In short, if given a moral purpose, I can shut the gates of hell against the absolute power of Satan.

But please don’t ask me to cook. I am deeply frustrated by the insatiable appetite of the dishwasher; the same goes for the washer and dryer. Damn, aren’t these machines ever satisfied?

I was born to swing my sword in noble battle and climb insurmountable mountain peaks, how did I end up folding laundry, the same laundry I folded days ago?

The tyranny of everyday life kills me. Surviving an attack from a pride of lions is simple. Reheating at 350 degrees or until bubbly is hard. Which is it, 350 degrees or bubbly?

I can’t explain how or why the mundane tasks of an average family kill me in small degrees and little pieces. These are the injuries and insults I find hardest to recover from. My mortal enemy is redundancy, the day-to-day tasks that become a marathon of wills. I promised to keep her in the highest quality of comfort and dignity I could provide, my boredom and perceived lack of worth don’t factor into the equation. I made a promise, and I will keep it.

But damn, pushing this rock uphill just to watch it roll back down into the valley is hard, sometimes soul-crushing. Alcohol does not numb this; neither does food or prayer. The real life threatening battles are simple compared to the mundane; heroism is easy, consistent strength reluctantly applied is depressing, sometimes soul-crushing.

Add to this the continued slow decline of your loved one, and you can begin to imagine a male caregiver’s perspective; an innate frustration, a losing battle.

Lack of comfort plus lack of confidence plus a perceived meaningless redundancy adds up to a challenge that most men would give their souls to escape. This is the core of a man’s caregiving soul.

This is why men run.

About Bob Marcotte

Avatar of Bob Marcotte
WHAT ABOUT BOB? My name is Bob Marcotte, and I am a musician, photographer, author and caregiver. Unlike my other job titles, the caregiver job title came without training and with little notice. Now, it’s the job title I am most proud of. I live in California with my wife, Carole, who is still recovering from her massive surgeries. We are guarded and kept company by our two dogs and a cat, all rescued animals. After the Stanford medical miracle, perhaps Carole can be considered ‘rescued’, too. You can contact us at bob@besidesthecancer.org . ABOUT THE BOOK If everyone's life is a book, and every day a page, then there are some days that deserve to be dog-eared. Your high school graduation, your wedding day, the birth of your children, and the day that your doctor discusses cancer with you for the first time. I wrote "You Mean, Besides the Cancer?" to vent frustration, to keep hold of my sanity, and hopefully help future caregivers. If you are a caregiver, or about to be one, this book can hopefully shortcut the learning curve that sliced me to shreds. This book is the story of my wife's cancer and our journey through the medical system that eventually led us to one of the most cutting edge, lifesaving surgeries on earth. You can buy the book on our blog or online at the usual online bookstores. The price of the e-book is $1.99. It's as low as they'd let be price it. This book was not written to make money. Our blog is http://besidesthecancer.org.

3 comments

  1. Avatar of Becki

    OH BOB…… I am a nurturing mother of 3 grown daughters. And I can completely understand where you are coming from on your blog, Why Men Run!
    I get it, I suspect there is a fair amount of ‘man’ in me (and I don’t mean in a weird way). I too can not handle the rote. Putting all your effort into making that boulder sit up on top of the hill, where it is most useful and helpful….. only to see it at the bottom again. UGH.
    It is the loved one we do it for!

  2. Avatar of Larry

    Bob, In a way I get where you are coming from but I for one find a sense of accomplishment when I have completed a task such as laundry, dishes, or cooking. I find some sense of lack of accomplishment on long run projects until they are completely done as I do not see the little steps as accomplishments.

  3. Avatar of ejourneys

    Bob, I also get where you are coming from, from a psychological angle. My partner’s brain damage has her spinning her wheels, especially with emotional dysfunction and delusions. If I don’t watch myself I feel trapped in repeated conversations that seem both unduly upsetting and meaningless.

    I’ve had to learn to let the world just stop, for however long it takes. This is a complete 180 from how I led my life before. I’ve had to find ways to nurture myself while surrendering past ways of being. It’s meant finding new ways to give my life meaning, to keep my own soul from being crushed.

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