Thursday, February 6, 2014

In which we wonder what to do about Isabel

You guys know that Isabel has had cancer for years, right?

And now, because of the chemo, which has not cured her cancer, she also has acute leukemia.

And because the chemo has so battered her, she keeps getting other sicknesses - pneumonia, whatever.

She has been very, very sick recently. A friend of Primo's who has been helping Isabel called Primo the other night to tell him that Isabel was in the ICU.

Now Primo doesn't know what to do.

"She only calls me when she needs something," he said.

Which is true. She needed money to pay her taxes last year and we helped her. She needed money for the cat's medication and we helped her. When she needs work on her computer, Primo helped.

But she only calls when she wants something.

When Primo wants something, like to walk his stepdaughter down the aisle, he doesn't get it. Isabel kept him from going to the wedding, which I still think was really, really mean.

"You loved her for a long time," I said. "Maybe you should call her. She's a good person."

Primo snorted. "You've never had anything nice to say about her before."

I paused. "I am not happy with many of the things that she has done, but I don't think she deserves to die like this. I don't think she deserves to have cancer. All I wanted was for her not to be a factor in our lives."

"I don't know if I should call her," he said. "She has never wanted to hear anything about my life. She doesn't even want to hear about our cats. All I wanted was for her to move on and be happy - maybe meet someone who was a better match. I stayed with her longer than I should have, but I wanted to wait until I got the girls out of college. Maybe I'll just call the girls."

Which he does.

And then, a few days later, he gets an email that Isabel's condition has worsened - she is in a non-responsive state - and that it is not going to be long now.

"I didn't even call her!" he says.

I don't know what to say. I didn't like Isabel just because of the way she treated Primo, but I can understand why she would be upset that he didn't want to be married to her any more and wouldn't want to hear about his new life without her. I would be bothered by anyone wanting to divorce me, but Primo is a really good guy. He's a good person with a big heart and it had to have been a big blow to Isabel to lose him. (For those of you new to this blog, I did not meet Primo until after he filed for divorce, so I am not the proximate cause of that breakup.)

So now he feels guilty but he's still a little bit angry that she wouldn't let him come to M's wedding. And that she only calls when she wants money.

And we are just waiting for the call that she has died.


  1. This sounds like a very hard situation, especially for your husband. I wonder what his daughters make of the whole situation?

    1. I know Primo's stepdaughters were not pleased with how Bertha acted a few years ago, when she was well enough to work but didn't try to find a job.

      They are both very close to Primo, as is Bertha's mother. He visits all of them any time he goes to California for work. Bertha's mom thinks Bertha is the one who blew it with the marriage. I think they never should have been married in the first place!

    2. Thank God there's no bad blood between him and his daughters! That would only make things worse all the way around.

  2. This is really hard. But I think he ought to go out there and see the stepdaughters and former mother-in-law. If she is as close to the end as you think, they will need support.

  3. My guess is her calling for money or computer help was a way to keep him in her life. I would hazard a guess that she did know what she lost.
    As long as the relationship with his step-daughters stays healthy, sadly I don't think he owes his ex any guilt or remorse, that just takes up emotional space that could be used for more positive things, like supporting his step daughters.
    Take care.

  4. I'd contact the daughters. They will need emotional sjupport a lot now and need to know that Primo will be there for them when she is gone. Any man who stays married so that he can educate stepdaughters is a really good guy. Sounds like the girls appreciate his effort and need him now.

  5. Thanks for writing this - Primo's relationship with his stepdaughters is really wonderful - I'm glad that they're in touch during all of this, and hope that things go as well as they can (since you can't really hope for any outcome that falls into the 'good' category for stuff like this).

  6. I'm sorry about Bertha. I'm sure the girls must appreciate knowing that Primo is there for them.