Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Breaking Bread

      Events took a tragic turn eventually, but some moments with the sitters were quite special. Shameeka, one of my first CNA at Oakhaven, Was one of the first with whom I connected during one-on-one. This was the first time we had ever been truly social because she was too busy for more than short chats during working hours. She had six or eight other residents to care for besides me. But when it was just he two of us for a long period of time one day, we bonded. Okay, we bonded over Dr. Pepper and Doritos, but we bonded. Sharing food appears to be a bonding experience in and of itself. Shameeka encouraged me to reveal my “savior'” to Paulette. So that ought to explain her influence over me.
     My favorite, probably because it was the biggest surprise, was Josette. She and I had a volatile relationship for several months because of personality clash. She used to say I was an arrogant, argumentative contrarian. I used to call her a gruff, hypersensitive yankee. We wre both right and both wrong, so we managed to get along by overlooking each others' faults. As best we could. We had to explain ourselves to one another frequently. The key to a healthy relationship is communication, right?
     Our communication turned much softer when she suggested we go out to lunch while she was my sitter. Brock, Oakhaven's executive director, seemed initially wary of the idea. Perhaps I would lose Josette in a crowd, then spoon my liver out in the bathroom? I have no idea, but Brock not only came around, but said the facility would pick up the tab. I had not been out much in recent years. Going half blind and gaining a colostomy will make one wary of public venues. I had gone out with the therapy crew to Buffalo Wild Wings a few months prior. I had a good time then, but my mind was drowning in suicidal thoughts—far more than now, ironically enough—inhibiting me from relaxing. I barely spoke a word that night. I thought I would not fare much better with Josette now, but I turned out to be wrong.
     It should not have surprised me too much. I am an introvert on my best days, a misanthrope on my worst. Needless to say, I do much better with fewer people around. Josette and I had a nice, quiet meal. We talked about family, life, and the future. I let her in on the open secret I did not believe I had one. She told me that is because I was thinking too big. Improve my health, leave Oahaven, and then give a thought or two to legacy. Prioritizing would come in handy. Internally, I agreed with her. But I lacked the strength to improve health and move on from the rock bottom I had hit. I had no idea what I was going to do. I just knew my perceived weakness in not killing myself had doomed me to a miserable life regardless.
     Enjoying lunch with Josette was one of the first bright spots I can name from my early journey back from the edge. It is probably the case because there were not many bright spots on my journey back. Events took an incredibly sour turn starting with what occurred after I returned from lunch that very day. But that is a story for my next entry. 

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