One of the hardest parts of being out here on the water is when I can't be there for important things at home. Things that require a husband's or a son's input, or, just occasionally, presence. And here I am, essentially impotent.
My mother-In-Law in Brazil is blind and has chronic stomach issues. Periodically, when she needs to go to the doc, she calls up her only daughter, my Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife, in far off 'Nova Iorque' (because suburban Boston just doesn't have that Zing 6,000 miles to our south, I guess), to hit up the Bank of Paul, and I"m OK with this. My mother-in-law is a giant pain in the ass, but she's also funny and sweet and awesome, and Brazilians like to talk shit about America's evil nature and the awful health care system, but Brazilians can't step foot in a hospital unless they can prove they can pay for their care beforehand. Jesus, that's a place where you have to have your credit card out before you call 911.
At any rate, Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife really, really misses her mom tonight, and is really missing being able just to 'be there,' when her mother needs medical assistance. In a stressed fit of pique, she tells me that I can't imagine how hard it is to know that someone needs her, and she can't be there.
To the contrary, in all the world, I can't imagine someone who knows better than I the awful impotent feeling of not being able to be there. I am sitting on this metal box, listening to my wife, who is feeling lonely and lost, and misses her mother, and here I am, just 250 miles from her, but a million miles away.
I can't come home for every crisis. I'd be home every few weeks for something. As awful as this is, my mother-in-law's bad digestive system sends her to the hospital 3-4 times a year, and I can't be there for my wife every time. Understanding that is a hard, painful lesson that has to be relearned periodically. Watching my wife suffer through the same lesson is worse.