I was stunned. Sitting in the backseat, trying to absorb what I’d just been told. My younger daughter had been downstairs and not aware of anything going on upstairs until she heard the screaming through the heat vents… coming upstairs she realized there were pills all over the counter as well as my sharpest knife. All eldest daughter could repeat was “call mom!” urgently between crying and yelling in anguish. I tried to talk to her from the back seat, trying to get through to her… trying to understand how she could go from okay one day to this. No warning.
When we got to the Emergency Room I helped her inside. She was beginning to get a bit woozy and they quickly rolled up a wheelchair and took her away for treatment.
Younger daughter and I sat and waited, quietly rehashing what had happened. Trying to see what we’d missed. The piece we’d not seen that had brought us here once more. I sent a text to my hubs to let him know and got back two words. “Oh shit.”
After a couple of hours of waiting they let us go back to see her. They’d given her charcoal and her mouth was black with smudges on her nose and cheeks. It made her look like a little orphan waif laying on the bed. I tenderly cleaned off her face and she started crying again. We talked about everything and anything and it all came back to the same thing… the divorce. She was to meet her husband later in the week to file the papers to start the divorce proceedings and it suddenly became very real to her. They had been seperated for months, but until those papers were filed she thought she had a chance, maybe, to work it out with him. It didn’t seem to matter that she had a son who still needed her very badly “He’ll be with his dad and then they can travel like his dad wants to”… She didn’t seem to care that she was still young and beautiful and had so much life ahead of her to look forward to… “I can’t, it hurts too much. How will I ever be able to trust that someone loves me again? I thought HE was the one.”… It wasn’t in her to understand that she wasn’t alone and that she wouldn’t be homeless or starve to death and that she’d have people who loved her and would care for her as long as she needed… “I will never be able to live on my own. I’m not going to ever be able to afford it.” Everything that I said was flung back at me with anger and negativity. I asked her why the knife… “Because this time I meant it. This time was going to be the time I did this right.”
They moved her up to a room on a medical floor so she could be kept supervised for a few hours.They wanted to make sure she didn’t injure her kidneys or liver… or any other physical part. They had a “sitter” who would stay with her all the time. It was that, or they were going to move her to the ICU where they could watch her all the time. They wanted to make sure she didn’t try and harm herself further. We went with her and made sure she got settled in. By this time she was pretty sleepy and we let her sleep, talking to the intake nurse who was trying to get all her medical history. The questions rang so familar… things I’d answered hundreds of times when the kids were little and had to go to the doctor. I felt I was dealing with a child, not a 30-some year old woman.
Then came the question, “Has she been under any stress in the past year?”.
Oh, my. I looked at my younger daughter and we both laughed with awkward nervous laughter. “Where do I begin?”. The depressions, the ECT treatments last summer, the marriage troubles, the separation, the moving out of her house and having it foreclosed on, the bankruptcy, the moving into our house, the having to put her two cats up for adoption, the going back to work after being off for nine months, the 12 year old son who is getting teenage hormones and is giving her grief about where he wants to live and who he wants to live with and how he isn’t ‘comfortable’ living with us, her off-again-on-again relationship with her husband and trying to find other friends after so many years of being isolated… I mean, pick any one of them and they’re a nightmare.
I used to think eldest daughter was the most level headed and competent of all my children. I used to feel she was old before her time when she was young. Part of that I think is my fault for thinking that probably at too young of an age. I asked a lot of her growing up. I put a lot of responsibility on her that I probably shouldn’t have and wish now that I hadn’t. I see now that in some ways she may have suffered for that, just as I suffered from my own parents’ mistakes.
I wish with all my heart I could believe her when she tells me she has promised, for her son’s sake, that she will never do this again. I wish I could know that the next time she is hurting so badly that she will stop and call someone – anyone – and stop. I’m hoping that the support group her therapist is trying to find for her will be a successful match and she’ll find people there who can help her through this. People who have the right things to say and do and who maybe have some strategies to get her through these hard times. I hope she knows she always has us, her family, there for her – but I also know that sometimes it can be us who are the problem. Just as new roommates need to learn to live with each other, her coming home to live has created some turmoil and territorial issues that my OCS (only child syndrome for those of you who haven’t read me before) can bring on. I’m learning to live with another person added to the mix and I keep telling her it isn’t just her, but myself and how I deal with things in life in general… such as, not being a morning person and being snappy when I am stressed…
I tell her… she doesn’t know what the future may bring. I certainly didn’t expect my life to end up how it did! I was the city kid who was never getting married, never having kids… and now on my second marriage (30+ years) and four kids and married to a farmer living in the country? Well, you could have blown me over with a feather if someone had shown me that crystal ball years ago! I tell her all things are possible – that all is not lost. BUT… that she has to be breathing for it to happen.
I just keep telling her the most important thing of all… that I love her, that we love her. I hope she’s listening.