Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Wind Took Your Answer

I cut short the previous post’s narrative because the emphasis was to be on my health, not any personal issues.  It is not fair to leave those personal issues unsaid.  They are, in many ways, even more important than my health.  The longest lasting relationship, familial and otherwise, ended abruptly last May as I was hospitalized.  The termination did not come as a total surprise.  The magnitude of the betrayal did. 
  
First, a little background.  My sister, Denise, and our mother had a falling out of some description in 1997.  It happened shortly after my stepfather died.  His death sent my mother spiraling into alcoholism and eventual suicide in 2003.  I still do not know all the details seventeen years later, and they are irrelevant now.  All you need to know is that Denise cut my mother out of her life and me along with her.  I was a junior in college living in Columbia at the time, so I admittedly did not do anything to embroil myself in the drama.  Did I make a mistake?  In hindsight, definitely not.
   
When my mother committed suicide , I was a second year law student in Virginia.   I was informed my mother had passed on via a phone call from Cindy, a family friend and former sister-in-law of Denise’s husband.  I am unaware of how Cindy and Denise got together on that fateful day, but cindy claims she told Denise she could not make me bury our mother alone.  Supposedly, Denise originally refused to reconcile.  Denise later denied this.  Regardless, eventually came to see me when I returned to South Carolina.  We buried our mother together after not speaking to one another for six years.
   
Denise and I continued to communicate by phone and email after I returned to Virginia.  I will confess now that I barely trusted her.  I felt like her only motivation for taking part in funeral arrangements was out of fear I would screw them up.  I had similar suspicions regarding her continued connections with me during my final year-and-a-half in law school.  She was likely on pins and needles hoping I would not screw things up, because maybe I would wind up in her lap.   Anyone who has read my blogging for any length of time knows my awful luck inevitably made exactly that happen.
   
My retina detached a mere couple days before final exams my last semester.  The detachment was in my non-legally blind eye, so the situation was dire.  Recovery from surgery would take five weeks.  I needed to come back to South Carolina for surgery.  Denise agreed for me to stay with her that long for recovery.  Fate was not through with me, and she has a whole lot of cruelty to mete out.  The surgery did not work.  Neither did a follow up.  I went bling in my previously good eye.  To add insult to injury, a steroid I took before surgery inflamed diverticulitis, which no one knew I had, and ruptured my colon.  The end result is I was stuck with Denise for the duration.

It was an arrangement no one wanted.  I was an interloper who did not belong in Denise’s family.  Her response to an inquiry over how she felt about my permanent residency was “I have so much sh*t in my life, I probably won’t notice.”  Not exactly open arms, but I took it.  I quickly became depressed to the point of suicide.  Denise caught me experimenting with ways of keeping a plastic bag off my nostrils when attempting to asphixiate myself.  Thinking I had been caught red handed, I asked what she planned to do now that I was planning.  She shrugged and said “if you are going to do it, you’re going to do it.”  It was not long after that I discovered health issues might finish me off quickly enough to avoid that nasty suicide business, but my status had well been established.

I lived with Denise and her family like a hermit for nine years.  I never went out to eat.  I never went shopping.  Thanks to some vicious dogs, I rarely went outside.   I was pretty much a tenant in her house.  I rarely had any conflict aside from her husband’s open contempt for me.  His ax grinding caused a number of altercations, virtually none of which were justified to any reasonable person.    I did not celebrate the holidays with them.  They did not acknowledge my birthday.  So it went for nine miserable years.

 While I had put suicide on the backburner years before in favor of waiting for my colon to rupture, when the time came in October 2012, I survived it.  Holy, geez!  What is it going to take to finally end all this tribulation?  It looked like the recovery might.  I could not eat for months and finally wound up with a feeding tube. When I dropped to 68lbs.  It was becoming clear as time went on my health issues were wearing thin on the family.  Yes, I am a cynic, so it should come as no surprise I speculated I was not dying fast enough to suit them.
   
Then the incident I described yesterday occurred.  It can arguably be said the second faux colon rupture was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  I wrote that I went to the emergency room and eventually stayed hospitalized for nine days, including a stint in the ICU.  What I did not mention is that Denise came to visit the second day, bringing with her several changes of clothes for me.  She then went home.  I have never seen her again. 
  
Let me tell you how sneaky this abandonment was.  Denise was going to have surgery in June.  We all knew this months in advanced.  I was still languishing from surgery the previous year, but not bad enough to merit a stint in a rehab hospital.  Lo and Behold, Denise talked the hospital social worker into selling me on the idea on the fourth day of my hospitalization.  I balked, because it seemed terribly unnecessary.  Denise, however, blew up at me over the phone when she heard I had refused.  Believing she was under stress about her impending surgery, I meekly agreed.  It would only be for five weeks, right?  I discover a few weeks ago she was upset because she had already cleaned out my room, thrown away all my belongings, and turned it into storage space so she could have it all done before her surgery.  My initial refusal to go to rehab potentially through a wrench into the works of getting rid of me permanently. 

 I was transferred to the rehab hospital after nine days.  Denise’s husband came to drop off more clothes two weeks in.  That is the last I have seen or spoken to him.  Good riddance.  There is a bright side in every calamity.  It did not take long to figure out I had been abandoned.  My phone calls began going straight to voice mail.  They did for weeks.  Presumably, they still do.  Denise’s secretary hung up on me when I called her at works a few months ago.  Denise will not respond to any calls from me or intermediaries, even those from professionals like social workers.   As far as she is concerned, I no longer exist. 

 Thus ended a 36 year relationship.  Twenty of those years were spent living in the same house.  The catalyst for my abandonment is still largely a mystery.  All I can do is speculate.  Denise lacks the courage to explain herself.  I have many issues left to write about in regards to my current situation, including what has happened after my stint in the rehab hospital.  But those are for subsequent posts.  You have the gist of what you need to know now.  I am all alone in the world now.  Left by myself to face whatever is going to be thrown my way.  In many ways, it is not much different than how it was living with Denise, in all honesty, but I will talk about that later, too.
  
 Just a note tacked on here.  Neither this post, nor any subsequent, is meant to be a grievance narrative.  In other words, I am not piling on the woe is me seeking sympathy.  On the contrary, this is all background so I can discuss the effort to rebuild myself spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  In order for that discussion to begin, you need to know how deep the hole I am climbing out of is.  Unfortunately, I am not even done telling you everything about the hole yet.  It is a deep one that might qualify as an abyss.  Regardless, please do not look at these posts as whiny attempts at self-pity.  They are far more than that.  Just be patient with me a while. 

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