how can stephanie klein keep blogging when her husband is sick?

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What exactly am I supposed to do? Do you think it would be easier for him to be around a wife who’s constantly doting and asking how he feels? Reminding him, each time, that he can’t relax and should instead worry. Last night we all went to dinner, and when we raised our glasses for a toast, I wanted to say, "To good health," but I KNEW it would piss Phil off. He doesn’t want to be reminded at every turn about the recent turn of his health. That he’s now, officially 97% dependent on his Freshmaker and back in atrial fibrillation as of two weeks ago. It’s not as if he can control it. I made a toast to family, to love, to life! And I felt like Topol. "And to good HEALTH!" Phil’s mother spit out with an exclamation point. 

Phil turned his head slightly to me. A deflated look washed over him, and he rolled his eyes as if to say, does this have to come with us everywhere we go?

"How can Stephanie Klein be blogging when her husband is sick?"
"How can she be posting about rings and diamonds when there’s his health to think about? Where are her priorities?"
"It’s like she uses his health for attention. What a narcissist."
"I refuse to read her blog. Refuse, refuse, refuse!"
"You’d think her perspective would change after what she’s just been through, that her priorities would realign, and she’d focus on things that matter."

It’s all crap, except for the narcissist bit, because let’s face it, I am. I’m also very much a hedonist, and a slew of other ists I don’t have time to ponder, considering all I should really allow is thoughts of my husband’s well-being. Right? That’s what I’m supposed to do? Talk about it all the time? Forget about my engagement ring, and just not wear it anymore because it’s broken? I shouldn’t think about clothes or food or movies because of what I’ve been through. And I certainly shouldn’t have the time or desire to blog about any of it because my one and only focus should be on sulking. Make everything stop and only focus on that? Do you even realize that it’s hard for him to discuss, that he hates when anyone brings it up, that he asks me if I’ll videotape him, "You know, so one day the kids will understand what happened to me." That he suddenly wants a notebook to capture every thought for when he’s no longer here? Is that what I should be writing? Go on and tell me. You think it benefits him somehow to have me sulking and constantly wanting to speak of game plans and next steps? Of ifs?

Life doesn’t stop when we worry. Everything else doesn’t disappear when we’re concerned. I don’t stop thinking or writing because I’m in pain. I do what I always do and hope beyond any hope I know how to stir up that the universe will take care of us.

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COMMENTS:

  1. Good for you, Stephanie. Do not let anyone out here make you feel bad in any way. The best thing that you can do for Phil is show him that this is just a bump and that life will go on as usual. Be there for him as you have been and are doing but do not make every minute about his situation. Keeping the focus only on his heart condition will only encourage feelings of depression. Keep his spirits up and his focus on anything but! You are a fantastic wife and an astounding mother!

  2. Humans.
    What a complicated bunch we are.

    "I do what I always do and hope beyond any hope I know how to stir up that the universe will take care of us."

    ^ I'll take the recipe for that, please! :)

  3. Damn right! I tell you, if you were full of self-pitying whining, you would definitely not be doing anyone any favors. By focusing on the positive – looking toward the future – dreaming of possibilities – you're allowing life to continue to happen. If you were mired in the drama of it all – yes, you may win the admiration of those who are mired – but yuck – what awful company.

    Fly and be free – keep your chin up – let's see – can I come up with more cliches? You get my point.

  4. I don't think it's healthy for anyone to spend all their time reflecting on the bads, the what ifs, etc. I had a dear friend just lose her mom. Do you think it was wrong that the evening of the wake we were standing in the kitchen laughing about her brother's crush on one of her best friend's? Or the completely crazy and uncharacteristic comment her Grandma made while they held vigil in the hospital? No! B would not want us to forget our lives or how to be happy because she's gone. That's not living. You go on and talk about rings and diamonds all you want. His health will always be the first and foremost thought on your mind. Your avid readers know this. And we'll support you and/or laugh with you, regardless of whether you post about it that day or not!

  5. I have to admit, in the past, occasionally a post makes me wonder about your priorities, but it hasn't been any of the latest posts. In fact, I'm amazed that you can keep on finding things to write about when the topic of Phil's health must be a loop in your head 24/7. And I'm also impressed that you can bite your tongue, think of other things to toast to, other things to talk about – to make your husband happy, and to make him not feel like a burden or whatever he is feeling. That's true strength and that's true love. And being that strong and putting on the brave face is so much better for your family than you moping around all the time, constantly talking about Phil's health, planting those seed of worry with your children, since they do pick up on every little thing.

    You are an amazing woman and you're husband is a very lucky man to have someone like you by his side.

  6. I second that — Good for you! Life is too short and too long to be incapacitated by the bad stuff. I would be happy that things were not at a point where drastic changes had to occur. It is a beautiful thing that for now you get to live as normal a life as possible.

  7. Didn't your mother ever tell you that women are bitches?

    Sure, the ones closest to you aren't, but we're talking about people doing drive-bys here. They're bitches. Jealous bitches.

    Please don't feel the need to explain yourself.

  8. Stephanie, I appreciate what you are saying here but you have to admit that going from Phil's bedside to gobs of diamonds is a bit crazy. Its not like you are asking for advice for a gift for him, or a vacation to get his mind off things.

  9. You are truly amazing, Stephanie. I think the worst thing to do in a painful, tramatic situation is to let it completely alter your life. Only the strongest can go on living as if the worst possible isn't clouding their every thought.

  10. Most bizarre comment from your diamond post: "I had the same thought when I started reading your blog, that you were going to donate your diamonds to the hospital that treated either your husband or son so well."

    What? Huh? Who donates jewelry to hospitals??? Unless one's been in the care of a medieval European monastic order (Stephanie, have you been time traveling AGAIN??), who the fuck donates their valuables in thanks for healthcare? Aren't the monthly insurance premium checks enough?

    My personal favorite "-ist" words are alpinist and tobogganist, neither of which you're likely to be accused of being as long as you remain in Texas. Glad to hear Phil's feeling well enough to be annoyed. Always a good sign.

  11. Isn't it odd that people want those who grieve to be tied up in a nice neat bow, like Jackie Kennedy? That's what movies offer. That's what most books portray.

    But the reality is that sometimes in the middle of worrying, crying and mourning a small absurdity pops in and makes you laugh.

    Until you cry again.

  12. I don't usually comment, nor do I read the comments on blogs, because- let's face it- most people can't ever say anything nice, or the gush over the blogger too much, or CAN'T FREAKIN' SPELL!! However, I thought I would take a moment to tell you thank you for finally venting on the stupidity of people judging you and what is going on. I have been waiting for that post since your husband's health has become an issue, and let me tell you- it's about time! Who cares what you blog about, as long as it is some kind of release for you! Personally, those people that choose to judge are probably just as f'd up as the things they say.. and they just want all the inside details of yours to forget theirs…

  13. I think the issue is the 'Click the Image to View Larger.' That might have set the wrong tone. Hmm, let's zoom in on Stephanie's ring as if you can't see it from the posted photo. Sorry, but that's pretty obnoxious. Do you really want readers to help you pick a new ring? Really?

    The problem with this blog is how many readers jump to your rescue with any, and even the slightest, negative posting…and their attacks are so mean-spirited. And then you actually respond to people's responses, and in this case with a new posting. It's just childish and comes across immature.

    Write your posts about what you want, and be who you are, but my goodness just don't respond to people if you don't really care. All this defensiveness gets so old, and you continue to let your readers swoop in to your defense. It just oozes pathetic and makes you seem piteous. In real life, would you ever surround yourself with women who cling on to your every word and opinion? Hmmm…maybe that's problem. Forget the ring.

  14. A-fricking-men. Until anyone has had an ill spouse they have NO idea how much life MUST remain the same, or at least as same as it possibly can, for everyones sake.

  15. I'm so glad you wrote this. I hate using the cliche of jealousy, but I really feel that people who write stuff like that just covet your life. It's sort of like in Howard Stern's movie Private Parts how they discovered the people who supposedly hate him the most and do the most complaining are the ones that listen to the show the LONGEST. These people complain about what you write about, yet they're ALWAYS back. They can't help themselves.

    Honestly, people read blogs for ENTERTAINMENT. Yes, they want it to be relatable, or funny, or to pass the time. But, as a reader, personally, I wouldn't want to come back to a blog everyday that was diverse about fun, food, kids, life, sometime extravagance or "excessive jewelry", hot handbags, NYC nights on the town, traveling, etc. that turned into a morose disection all about health problems. I want to hear about ALL of it- but not just incessantly one facet.

    So, keep writing whatever keeps you sane. I'm so mystified by those who are so holier-than-thau about material possessions. I can worry about shit all day too but that doesn't mean I don't covet Chloe handbags.

  16. Good for you. I will never understand how people think they know how others should deal with pain. Is life supposed to stop? Are we not supposed to keep smiling, keep laughing, keep hoping? Does finding joy in the midst of the pain somehow make it less painful? And why is it anyone's damn business how you choose to deal with it?

    Anyone that feels they have a right to judge this woman based on the words on her blog really should stop reading. It's not your place. You don't know her and you don't get to say that her priorities are messed up.

    I can't imagine going through this but if I had to I could only hope I handle it with the grace that you have.

  17. i hate when people do that. i really do. i dont understand it, and i am not happy with them. seriously! May God continue to bless you and God tells us to not worry about tomorrow , and that He takes care of things.

    So good for you. Thanks be to God that Phil is alright right now, and that he is still around. Thanks be to God that HE saw you through so much already, will continue to do so, and that you have the virtue of courage to shar with us all and to let us 'in' and to stand up for you.

    UH! I hate it. To all of you who are just plain out mean…and think you deserve to berate someone during ANY Part of their live…. how about 1. You share all and see what people say
    2. with that I hope and pray that people are kinder to you than you are to others
    3. didnt your mother ever tell you that if you cant say anythign nice, say nothing at all?

    and lastly? Leave Stephanie and her family alone. Shes not going to be heartbroken if unsupportive and uncaring people stop reading the secrets of her life!

    Sorry.

  18. Kudos! I admire you for not dwelling on Phil's situation and being "normal" for him. That's what he needs right now.

  19. Keep living your life the way you and Phil want to live it. Screw those who judge you for doing that.

    And I hope you get the ring of your dreams. :)

  20. Good for you! How could you NOT keeping blogging? You're a writer, and why should you give up a fantastic outlet for your thoughts? I'm sorry those people felt the need to spread negativity here – their "refusal" to read your blog coupled with their need to talk about it obviously reflects priorities no better than the ones they're lecturing you on.
    PS, I'm stopping by the library to pick up a copy of Straight Up & Dirty on my lunch today, and I'm very excited to read it!

  21. Keep in mind, folks, this is not the business of "grieving." Phil is still alive, not dead! He had a medical emergency, not a heart attack that killed him.

    The necessary attention to dealing with medical decision- making and to the shock of the events is being given. It's clear from what S. says that Phil is not one who likes to wallow in self-pity about his condition–or have those around him wallowing. She is, it seems, taking her clue for attitude and behavior from him. Nothing wrong with that.

  22. People who are not going through something or haven't been through it always feel as though they know the best way. I think it is part of the human condition. We are judgemental, some in big and some in small ways.

    I am so sorry that these people were so rude as to think they knew what you were going through or that they could do any of it better!

    Not that my opinion means anything, but I think you are handling it amazingly. I find your honesty and openness about everything wonderful and sometimes embarrassing. For me, that is. Because I would never have thought of those things. Thank you for being real and authentic; not sugar coating things – and letting us view what life is 'really' like from your perspective.

    I admire it and keep you, Phil and your family in my prayers!

  23. Stephanie,
    I have been an avid reader for many years of your blog, and met you this summer at your reading in nyc for moose (you may rememebr me as I was probably the only woman there with an irish accent after many years of unsuccessfully trying to grow a new york one ….oh well, you also liked my glasses.
    anyway you met so many people – its not the issue.
    Its hard to imagine how much diffficulty life has thrown your way. I wish the best for you & phil and your kids.
    People are idiots they have no idea what you are going through inside and if it helps you forget for 2 minutes to delete tori amos from your ipod and look at diaminds online do it, it doesnt mean you love your hubby any less.

  24. Many people are 'experts' and only too quick to tell you how you're doing things wrong. They are not you and have not lived your life. You know how people who imagine themselves the perfect parent are the people who have never had children? They know exactly what the rest of us are doing wrong as a parent. This is the same thing. Pay no attention; any fool can criticize, and most fools do.

  25. Why on earth do people feel like they have the right to judge like that? It blows me away!

    This: "I do what I always do and hope beyond any hope I know how to stir up that the universe will take care of us." is good. Keep doing that. Keep being you.

  26. Stephanie,
    I have been an avid reader for many years of your blog, and met you this summer at your reading in nyc for moose (you may rememebr me as I was probably the only woman there with an irish accent after many years of unsuccessfully trying to grow a new york one ….oh well, you also liked my glasses.
    anyway you met so many people – its not the issue.
    Its hard to imagine how much diffficulty life has thrown your way. I wish the best for you & phil and your kids.
    People are idiots they have no idea what you are going through inside and if it helps you forget for 2 minutes to delete tori amos from your ipod and look at diaminds online do it, it doesnt mean you love your hubby any less.

  27. Many people are 'experts' and only too quick to tell you how you're doing things wrong. They are not you and have not lived your life. You know how people who imagine themselves the perfect parent are the people who have never had children? They know exactly what the rest of us are doing wrong as a parent. This is the same thing. Pay no attention; any fool can criticize, and most fools do.

  28. This is part of the reason I got out of blogging. The constant judgment of those who, for lack of a better phrase, suck at life. Let them rant and judge; you know who you are and what you should be doing to get through this trying time.

  29. I wish you didn't have to read comments as stupid and heartless as that. Life continues going on around us whether we like it or not, and if spiraling into depression is what someone wants for ANYONE, that person needs their head examined. Go on doing exactly what you're doing, taking care of your family and the managing of your life.

    And for the record, idiot critics: Is it wrong or bad for someone to be thinking about repairing and taking care of a concrete symbol of their relationship with the one they love at a time when they are concerned about that person? Poetically, morally, ethically, logically not.

  30. Whether you are writing about your husband's illness or your diamonds, I believe simply the act of writing is a healthy release from the load of stress that you are carrying. In that regard, you should write whatever you want, and your readers don't like it, they should simply stop reading…life is short, spend it wisely.

  31. The fact of the matter is, people don't even know what they would do in your situation until it happens to them. Hopefully it never will, but maybe for some it already has. Either way, it's unhealthy to go around and sulk about it, to wallow in all of your worry.

    I think you're handling things well and I wish you all the best.

    P.S. Love your blog and your first book. I'm making my way to Moose.

  32. Stephanie, this is your blog and you can post whatever you want to. If people don't like it… fuck em'.

    I always knew I liked my cat better than people.

    Take care.

  33. Steph, I know exactly what you are going through.. after losing the baby and then my husband's diagnosis..well…. they were the last things I wanted to talk about. They were in my mind and heart all the time, they didn't need to be spewing out of my mouth 24/7 and it didn't help anyway. The day after my operation we went to see that I Hate Sarah Miller movie, just to take our minds off of everything.. were we not supposed to do that? How long can you sit and cry and wring your hands? How many posts can you write about being afraid and sad? Then people would complain that this site was a "downer". Keep on doing what you're doing, and screw the rest. I've been hard on you in the past, but you don't deserve any of what you're going through and everyone deserves a diversion.

  34. It is your blog, and you're trying to lead a normal life despite the stress and worry, so you have 100% right to write about whatever you choose. Because – again – it is YOUR BLOG.

    But I personally would not respond to comments. But that's just me, and my heart is pretty much made of coal, so there you go.

  35. Oh Stephanie – I hate that people judge you so. I love that you are getting a new setting – enjoy it – you deserve it. I hope it reminds you every day of the wonderful marriage you have and your beautiful children. I hope you look down @ your hand and smile every time you see it.
    For those that judge you, I think that they have no idea what's it like to have a loved one ill. That it's impossible to worry about their health all the time; and that it is self destructive if you do. Live your life, and keep on writing about it!

  36. An anecdote, if you would indulge me:

    A few years ago, my mother wound up in the psych ward after her second suicide attempt. I posted about it on the internet as if it were just another thing to check off my to do list, and I took a lot of shit for it. I also was pissed off because the heel of one of my favorite pairs of shoes had broken, so much so that I thought it could not be repaired.

    The greatest joy of my life that week was getting my shoe fixed.

    Sometimes, when we don't know what to do or how to feel, its the superficial things in life – like an engagement ring that's broken – that keep us from going crazy. Because we can fix them. Because we can DO something about it. When everything around is falling apart, it feels god damn good to be able to put something back together.

    I send you all the support I can from my keyboard, and fuck ANYONE who questions your priorities.

  37. The great thing about life is, it happens after we make plans.
    Keep living! Keep writing! Keep planning! Because it's the plans that happen after we let life take it's course.

    I am currently taking care of my mom in Michigan, post stroke in May. She had a mini stroke on Tuesday and can barely talk or swallow. Does that mean I'm not making plans to spend time with my boyfriend in NYC? Hell NO!! I text him every day with cheap flights and dates. If I don't plan things and keep myself busy, I will loose my mind.

    People are simply jealous of you big rock! I know I am and I don't even want a diamond engagement ring. I'm going to look at some more flights for Labor Day. My ring isn't going to miraculously appear without some planning!

  38. Oh really people! I totally agree, what are you supposed to do? Just because you blog does not mean you don't worry, you don't hurt, you don't play the what if game. Life goes on no matter what, not matter how we feel. Stephanie blogs, that's what she does it would only seem natural that she would blog about her husband and her ring and whatever else is going on in her life at the time. She's just being real. I say keep it up there are thousands that still support you.

  39. A person would have to be utterly dense not to realize that what you write, whether it concerns Phil's health or something totally different, is a necessary release for you. I would hope that Phil also has some kind of release to try to block the stress that's bound to appear. Write whatever you choose. We may or may not agree with you, but that's why there's chocolate and vanilla. Rings, pizzas, eyebrow waxing, googling for medical information, doctors, pacemakers, test results, fears, joys…..it's your blog and we'll either read it or not.

  40. "Nuff said. I am always amazed at how judgmental people are. Stunned…really.

    And then I am not…I would do the same exact thing you are.

  41. Life always goes on, unlike the TV show. I get ya. And I'm sorry that you both are living with that elephant in the room.

  42. "Phil turned his head slightly to me. A deflated look washed over him, and he rolled his eyes as if to say, does this have to come with us everywhere we go?"

    Exactly. Life moves relentlessly, and we have to move with it, even when unpleasant things move with us. Sackcloth and ashes for the living – a waste of energy and time.

    For what little it's worth coming from a blog commenter – you guys have handled more real-life difficulty and fear in the past year (that I've read here, anyway) than some of us could comprehend; you've done it, and continue to do it, in fine style. I appreciate this blog and what I find in your writing.

    Write what you will, and while I don't always agree with it, I thank you for writing it.

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