Got the call last night, that they put you in the hospital again. This time, they found you lying in bed with a knife by your side. When asked what your intentions were, you told them that you were thinking of hurting yourself. Naturally, the Doctors said to bring you in at once.
They counted your meds and found that it had been over a month since you took them regularly. The hallucinations became your reality and there was no amount of logic that could convince you otherwise. You’ve allowed yourself to shrivel into a caricature of a human being, looking and acting decades older than your 67 years. Your guardians said that we wouldn’t even recognize you. But remember, we saw you at Christmas and while you did look a little worse for the wear, your mind was clearer than it had been in years and you were having a grand time.
You are in the best place possible for where you are mentally and emotionally. They will take care of you, see that you take your medications and that you will connect with people. This may not cure you but it is designed to help you regain your strength so you can live on your own, in your own home.
I cannot imagine what it is like to go through the peaks and valleys of your existence. At the risk of sounding cold, I am not seeking to imagine it either. There are things that are not ours to know. My knowledge of “why” will do nothing to change your circumstances. In fact, constantly thinking of you in your present circumstances, holds you there in my mind. That doesn’t help you either. I would much rather hold onto a happier image.
When we were married, our homes were never large but we always had two things, comfy cushions upon which to sit and one, clean, white wall to use as a movie screen. Of course, there were drinks, and plenty of freshly popped, buttered corn!
You were the proud owner of 500 super 8 films. These were the classics that people love to gather to watch. As you set up your projector for the movie night, you moved with precision and grace. Those films had been well cared for, and this is your moment to let them shine.
You chose each offering for the evening with the purpose of creating a completely fulfilling experience, much like a chef would design a 4-course meal. There would be a cartoon, a short (or two) and a full-length feature. All of these tied together by a common theme and you educated the curious audience with trivia that left them in awe. It worked and everyone reminded you to let them know when the next movie night would happen so they could make sure they were in attendance.
This is the you I keep in my mind’s eye. This confident, happy man who was as caught up in the experience as anyone else in the room. This person who loved sharing encyclopedic knowledge as freely as some enjoy whistling. This person who devoted himself to the preservation and appreciation of classic cinema, in thought, word and deed.
It has taken your 4 suicide attempts, numerous hospitalizations and many nights and days of soul searching (on my part) to realize that you had been suffering with mental illness long before I met and married you. Perhaps, you thought life would be different with a wife and that somehow everything would sort itself out. I imagine that you were just as disillusioned as was I when we couldn’t make it work. I know that neither you, your family, my family and our friends ever forgave me for leaving.
Even in the face of what you have dealt with in the past 28 years since our divorce, it took me until your first suicide attempt, 3 years ago, to forgive myself. It was at that time that I realized that it was mental illness that robbed us of the opportunity of having a happy life together. Not knowing what to do was no one’s fault, so I forgave you as well.
While I cannot create in your world, I can create a world within me in which the happy you can live. Feel free to visit the world of my mind, anytime. I’ll make sure to have popcorn on hand, comfy cushions to sit upon and one clean, white wall upon which you can project good times.
God Bless you, Annette Rochelle