I found him one morning at around 5:45. The two of us were alone in the elevator going to the 4th floor. I couldn’t stop staring at his pulsing jaw and wondering what had made him so angry.
Neither of us said a word. In fact, I’m pretty sure he was alone for the ride. I often wondered if I was invisible.
It was Winter and the air cut through my skin in a way that only Midwestern know. My heels were loud on the parking lot making their presence known against the asphalt and the cold dark morning. I was looking for the angry man. I couldn’t stop myself from seeking out his impassioned marrow.
Days went by of being alone with this newly found excitement. I think he may have looked at me once. His jaw, always pulsing.
I parked my car one morning in a different spot. I was always so predictable and this made me feel secure again. There he was walking by and I was unnoticed. Invisible once again. My sense of cover was shattered when I realized the angry man seemed to be searching for me. His pace slowed, he looked left and right. The very fact that this excited me made me wonder if I should wear my cloak again.
He should have already been long gone; yet there he was waiting, ready to ride the 4 floors with me. We were alone again. Is it possible that I have found fate?
I was the first to utter a word.
I said good morning to the pulsing jaw. It seemed to relax as it answered back. Somehow in the months to follow as Winter thawed into Spring, I started to learn that the anger came from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
His jaw was starting to become more relaxed with each passing day.
My angry little bird turned from missile to feathered fowl. He was soft to the touch and soothing to my soul.
I started counseling. I’m on my third counselor. The first woman sent me to another counselor she felt best suited for me. That’s okay, she had a mullet and I can’t take that seriously.
The man counselor always sat with his back arched in his extendable office chair with his hands interwoven behind his head. He grunted a lot. I think he used to be a linebacker. I need a softer touch.
My new counselor has a huge office. All the furniture is Mid Century modern in the softest shades of grays and blues. The Kleenex box is inside another fancy box and I actually think she uses the real deal-Kleenex with lotion. Ahhh.
She asked me to practice gratefulness.
Okay-I have to admit to something. Yesterday I was in the yard pulling up weeds and just piddling around. I had this idea to be grateful for finding a four leaf clover, only I never did.
Then I realized I was doing it again… I was trying to control. I was even controlling my own gratitude based on what I specifically thought I should be thankful for. What a power struggle inside my mind.
I took a moment to readjust my brain and lay on the grass for a moment in the sunshine. I said silently to myself over and over, “I am thankful for this peaceful moment and for having my own yard to have this moment in.”
My last writing on here was pretty negative and for that, I apologize. I almost came back and deleted the entire thing. I decided that life is full of ups and downs and there’s no reason to be perfect all the time. Besides, that so damn tiring.
My father is on the upswing. He’s let go of some anger and he’s becoming more enjoyable. That’s the goal. The entire point of him living with our family. Due to his debilitating ailments, he’s really never been too involved as a grandfather. That changed for him yesterday. He sat silently through most of the household chaos yesterday as my son and daughter got ready for prom. Even though he didn’t say much, he smiled and he smiled a lot.
Seth, my son, struggles with social anxiety a lot. However a Junior in High School has taken a liking to his sense of humor and charm and asked him to be her date. When he said yes, I almost fell over.
Rowan, my daughter is a Senior. This was to be her last dance and she was on court. My father at first didn’t want to go, but as my mother and step-father were on their way up with a three hour drive to come watch the festivities, he had a change of heart.
I’m so happy he did, and the proof was in his smiles that he was happy as well. Seth marched right down the line during procession and even looked up! He was so handsome and I knew inside my heart he was fighting with all his might to make each leg move towards the arch that ends to face the crowd.
Rowan was stunning and when they announced her as Prom Queen, my heart burst open at what a wonderful moment in each of my children’s lives we were a part of that evening. Somehow I managed to get Rowan and Seth together for a photo and I’m so proud to show it off.
Life goes up and down and it twists and it turns, but somehow I’ve found myself wonderfully elated where my feet always land.
I’ve been pretty silent lately. I haven’t felt like writing or much of anything, if I’m being honest. Ever since my Aunt Tammie committed suicide, I’ve been in a slump.
Then there’s my father. He got out of the hospital on Feb. 3rd. I was still down in Tennessee helping deal with my Aunt’s affairs when he was released. By the time I came home he was pretty happy I’d made it back. I was pretty happy that he was back.
I’m possibly going to sound completely as if all my empathetic ways have been torn from my soul; but I promise they have not been, nor am I about to give up. However, as of late my father has turned into yet another character I must walk on eggshells around. I’m completely feeling as if now I’m the one out of control at times. I can’t even make a damn salad.
Two months to the day he was released from the hospital I found myself sitting in a soft leather chair in front of my father’s new psychiatrist. Just that morning my father had decided to start talking. He’d apparently decided also that he’s ready to drive his Jeep three hours on the interstate. Next week my brother is flying in from California and dad wants his Jeep there so he can “run errands”. Errands for what? Not to be rude, but there’s absolutely no reason he needs his Jeep not to mention the danger this means.
As I witness my father being unwilling to wear proper shoes around the house, come near to falling, have dizzy spells and shake his spoon as he’s trying to eat, I wonder. Wonder why he thinks he’s ready to go from 0-60 just like that. I spoke my mind about it prior to the appointment. Now in the appointment I stayed rather quiet until the end when I mentioned the driving. The psychiatrist agreed with me. This wasn’t fitting to my father’s liking. He asked if he could possibly be taken off some of his medicine. Here we go. Again and again like the revolving doors I always expect to malfunction and rip a toenail off.
Once we got home, I was met with questions of why I had moved him into my house. Why did I not think about mowing his yard, his income taxes, his homestead exemption, his this and that and this and that. For reason I am just not willing to delve into, I’m not going to explain why all of these questions are maddening other than saying… someone at one time in the past took advantage of my father. So badly in fact, that he doesn’t even own his home. That’s right… it’s not even his. So how is that my fault?
Somehow I feel as if it’s all my fault. My father told me that he wants his independence back and he’s thinking he may just want to move back home. I told him that unfortunately that really blows for me considering I left my job to care for him. All he could say to me was he thought I was crazy for that and you know what, I guess I was.
I responded by explaining to him how much better his life is with us. How his diabetes is under control, his cholesterol is back to normal, he eats healthy, we’ve sacrificed for him to be able to say those things. He shrugs and says he’s sorry I feel that way. Feel what way? I haven’t sacrificed? In a little bit of anger I blurted out that it would be nice to hear a thank you to us for all we’ve done rather than demands. He shrugged again. I never got my thank you.
So here I am wondering why I am a caring, loving daughter? Why do I give a shit?
So let’s wake up tomorrow and see where we are heading… cause it seems like every few months I have a new father. I wish he could understand the world and his place a little better. How frustrating he is. How unpredictable life with him is. I wish that he would just say thank you. I wish mostly that he knew he is loved.
My father died once. No really… he did. He committed suicide. I received the phone call at work one afternoon 5 years ago, that he had passed away. Thirteen minutes later I received another call saying he had made it after one last shock. My father is still at risk. My Uncle Dennis died by suicide. Now my Aunt Tammie. I have called 911 myself on two people due to suicidal threats. I myself have spiraled into a dark place once upon a time after my son was born.
Why am I being open about all of this? Because you matter and there’s always ALWAYS another alternative to death…Because someone reading this is probably depressed. Reach out to someone. I’m available anytime.
I’m struggling a little with the fact that I’m already angry about my Aunt’s suicide death last week. I still cry when I think about it, but I’m leaning more towards anger now.
This was not her first time to attempt and statistically speaking, she had the odds against her. However, I didn’t really realize that.
She had a history of sending a Manila envelope full of instructions upon her passing. The person that received it in August just thought she was getting her affairs in order. I was scrolling through her Facebook page and although this photo is from 2011 not 2017, my heart sank. My face filled with rushing red shame.
Level of Suicide Risk
Low – Some suicidal thoughts. No suicide plan. Says he or she won’t attempt suicide.
Moderate – Suicidal thoughts. Vague plan that isn’t very lethal. Says he or she won’t attempt suicide.
High – Suicidal thoughts. Specific plan that is highly lethal. Says he or she won’t attempt suicide.
Severe – Suicidal thoughts. Specific plan that is highly lethal. Says he or she will attempt suicide.
You can look at my father and you can see his depression. You could look at my Aunt Tammie and never know. You’ve heard this before, be kind. Be kind to others because you never know what is brewing inside.
My mother knows not to send me texts saying call me ASAP because she’s done this before to me. As I would panic and call back, she would start talking about randomness. I finally told her to never do that again. I assumed someone had died.
So, when those words came onto my screen I knew something was wrong for sure. She couldn’t even speak when she answered and finally my step father told me that my Aunt had committed suicide.
I had to head to Tennessee, so the doctor decided it best to keep dad for the rest of the week. My husband is taking care of it all for me. What a blessing that I have a rock.
My mother has been an emotional wreck, but at the same time she’s found her strength and we’ve pushed through the past couple of days. My brother lives in California, but he called and texted and did what he could. We both tried our best to support our mom through her sister’s death.
Tammie, my Aunt, was a beautiful person. A beautiful person with a lot of inner turmoil. She functioned. She smiled. She worked, albeit the past few years it was sporadic and she struggled. I’m talking about an educated woman who made great money. She owned her home outright. She knew how to handle herself and had street smarts. She had horses. She had beauty. She had friends and family who loved her beyond the moon.
We have no letter from her. No explanation. Was it just that bad and for how long? Did something happen to set this off? Why? Why did you do this? She knew she was loved and that’s all I can keep telling myself.
I can’t help but wonder how many people I know suffer in silence. I hope you know, I care.
I went to see dad yesterday. I ended up there 45 minutes before I could go in, so fortunately the psychiatrist sat down with me for a bit.
He says he’s considering letting dad out. Still no affirmative answer though.
My father was griping about how cold it was again, yet he refuses to use the ten blankets they’ve provided. He’s animated now. That’s better. He’s walking. However he cried a lot.
He cried because the nurse had farm fresh eggs and they were beautiful. He cried because a pastor that’s a patient is leaving. My father doesn’t believe in God at the current moment, so I found that odd. He cried because Lauren Bacall is dead, and she was so so pretty. Random. Random.
They announced that dinner was ready. Since he’s a fall hazard, he can’t pick up his food tray. He pushed that damn call button literally five seconds after the announcement to ask where his food was.
So here I am wondering what he is going to be like when I bring him home. I better get my bathroom vanity painted because I’m about to go into the deep waters again.