Thursday, November 17, 2011

If You Have Hope, You Have Everything.

Tomorrow Elizabeth Hirsch is having a Blog Fest to celebrate the release of her book The Golden Sky, which honors her son, Zeke, she lost when he was just a month and a half.  Tomorrow would have been his ninth birthday.

To participate in the blog fest, we're to write a tribute post about someone we have lost.  Originally when I read about it, I thought it would be a great idea.  And now, sitting here in front of my laptop, I don't want to do it.  Thinking about this person, I've realized I'm still very angry and hurt.  This person hasn't died.  But I have lost him.  He's been in my life and I've loved him ever since I can remember.  There have been times I've hated him but still always loved him...if that's even possible.

Earlier this year, in January, E2 and I were on a dinner date.  A friend of mine had just flown back into town and since we were downtown and I'd been wanting E2 to meet him, he joined us for dinner.  I left my phone in the car because I think it's rude to have a phone beeping, blinking and ringing during a meal.  After food, drinks and laughs, E2 and I were headed back to his place when I finally checked my phone.  I had a slew of missed calls (a number I didn't recognize) and a voice mail.  As I was trying to check the message, a call came through from that same number.  It was John's (not really his name but the most generic one I can think of right now) girlfriend.  I'd never even met the girl but she somehow had my number? 

She was calling in a panic asking me to come and get John.  He had just lost his job and she wanted him to move out.  He hadn't slept for a few days now, was drunk and had taken some pills.  She didn't know what kind.  He was threatening to destroy the apartment and she was afraid.  Just as she had given me the address I heard John screaming at her in the background, she shrieked, a thump and a crash and the phone went dead.

My adrenaline started pumping and my hands started shaking as I asked E2 to get me over there, fast.

We arrived to find John shifting between complacent and aggressive.  One minute he's ready to leave with us, the next he's remembered something else he wants to bring with him.  When he demanded a ring that he had given the girlfriend, that she didn't seem to have, he blew up and refused to leave until he had it.  He threatened her and got her backed into the bathroom where he attempted to shut them in.  I stuck my foot in the door and shoved it back open.

John: "Shut the door Dawn!"
Me: "I don't think so".
John: "Shut the damn door.  I just wanna talk to her!!"
Me: "You just threatened her and now you expect me to allow you alone with her with a door that can lock?  Absolutely not."

He became even more irate and stated he would just leave and drive himself into a brick wall.

Um.  Yeah, sounds super.

Naturally, E2 stopped that from happening.  John had not met E2 and so having some random man putting his hands on him, preventing him from taking his dramatic alcohol and drug induced leave, did not go over well.  He went berserk and went at E2 with everything he had.  E2 however, is no slouch.  He basically just held John off while not inflicting any harm on him.

Being the genius I am, I wormed my way in between them, counting on the fact that John was still with it enough to recognize who I was and remember that he had cared about me at one time in his life.  Stupid stupid girl.  Do NOT do this unless you are okay with possibly getting your teeth knocked down your own throat. 

Luckily, this did not happen.  It broke them apart and John headed out to the balcony to cool off.  Or so I thought.  While thanking E2 for his help I look over my shoulder to see John with one leg over the balcony about to pitch himself over from 3 stories up.  I burst out there, grab onto his shirt and he stumbles back onto the balcony where he grabs my arm and wrenches it behind me.  It hurt like hell but I knew he could have broken it easily had he wanted to.  Tears start pouring from my eyes and he lets go of my arm.  I immediately wrap my arms around him in a bear hug to keep him from going anywhere.  E2 is watching and from over John's shoulder I ask him to call the police.  John starts sobbing and says how he just can't do it anymore.  We stand on the balcony hugging each other and crying until the police show up.

They take our statements while evaluating John and quickly call the paramedics to come and get him.  He goes willingly but isn't happy about it.  I told him I'd see him at the hospital and they took him away.

And then there was the time the school bully had targeted him after school.  I was tall for my age and was wearing my snow boots.  I ran up to the bully and kicked him between his legs.  He dropped like a bag of dirt and John and I took off running for our lives.

High school wasn't any better for him.  He would get dumped in the garbage cans and rolled down the hallways.

I thought of the times he stuck up for me.  The times he took the fall for me.  When he shared with me.  We would go to dinner and laugh and laugh and talk about important things.  Things that mattered to us.  Then just a week or two later I'd see him again after a number of sleepless nights and he would be a completely different person.  One I didn't know and one I didn't want to know.

These and many more memories were flooding my mind as I went in and sat down next to him.  I just want him to be happy.  I just want him to be okay.

Another evaluation and it's determined he will be committed in the behavioral health clinic.  I sign the paperwork and he curses me and tells me this is all my fault.  He hates me and will never forgive me.  I just sit there and wonder how much longer I can cry until I'm completely dehydrated. 

They took him away and I was allowed to visit once a week.  They took away his belt and shoelaces.  His pants wouldn't stay up and he had long ago given up on his shoes so he was just wearing socks.  We sat at a table in silence while I picked at my visitor name tag.  He had nothing to say to me and I felt the immense weight of guilt for even putting him there.  We listened to the shrieking and sobbing of the other patients with their visitors.  Time was up.  I gave him a hug and he went through his door back to his room while I headed out the door to freedom.

Each subsequent visit was a little less awkward but he eventually told me I didn't need to come visit him anymore.  So I didn't.

I don't remember how long he was in there.  I do remember both dreading those visits but looking forward to seeing him.  I still don't know how to process the feelings of guilt and regret.  I'm not sorry I did what I did.  I would do it every time if put in that situation again.  But it doesn't stop the feeling that I somehow failed him. 

I rarely see him anymore.  When I do, I sometimes catch a glimpse of the person I knew from years ago.  I know he's in there somewhere but for now, he's lost to me and the others that love him so much.  I just want him to be happy.  I want him to be okay.

I hope to one day have him as a part of my life again.  E2 has a fortune he got from a cookie that says "If you have hope, you have everything".  I still have some hope.  So I guess for now, that will be enough.



  1. Wow. What an intense story. You did the right thing, but you know that. So tough to see friends like that.
    I think you did great with this prompt, I was engaged the whole time.

  2. Intense is the best way to describe that. When you started I thought it was about someone who died, but losing someone who is still alive like that is sometimes harder.
    I wanted to end with "keep hope alive" but realized that was a Don King quote and maybe not appropriate.
    Nurture hope wherever you find it.
    There, that's better.

  3. You may have lost the friendship to save your friend. But that's what true friends do. Maybe one day he'll be able to accept that he is responsible for taking care of himself and that you loved him enough to take over when he couldn't.

  4. I'm sorry that happened. Been in similar situations, and sometimes you have to sacrifice the friendship to save the friend, as tough as that can be.

  5. One door closes, another always opens up. Just walk through it. It's the great adventure of life.

  6. Thank you for sharing this. Even though it's not a loss of death, this type of loss can be harder because you never stop worrying since it's not over. You did everything you could but unfortunately you can't make people change if they don't want to. At least your heart has been right and your intentions were honorable. You are a great friend to have.

  7. Well I'm sitting here in tears. I have an ex-husband who has descended and disappeared into schizophrenia. It is very much like a death. It's a loss without closure.

    I'm sorry for and amazed at your fierce love of your friend. If that makes any sense.

  8. Been there done that kiddo.

    It took years but eventually he came around and joined the land of at the least the partially sane. You did what you had to do and one day perhaps he'll thank you for it.

  9. I've been on both ends of that, unfortunately. It's no fun, either way.

    But the way you told it was so powerful-thank you so much for sharing. Sometimes doing something to help someone is one of the hardest things...especially when they don't recognize what a selfless act it is. You are a strong, brave woman.

  10. Tough spot to be in but you did the right thing. Friends do that. Faux friends just let you keep screwing up and stand by watching until you fall. Well written and it sounds like all of us commenting here hope for the best.

  11. Fantastic story, and you are my new hero! He'll come around again, and if he doesn't, please know that you did the right thing, the awesome thing.

  12. I can't imagine how scary that would have been! You are an amazing friend.

    Oh and that fortune is so true. :)

    Thanks for your support.

  13. TexaGFN- I know it was a bit lengthy. Thank you for reading.

    Pickleope- Don King or not, I like it. But yeah, I liked your "nurture hope wherever you find it" better. Thank you.

    TriGirl- I really really hope so.

    Joshua- I'm glad you can empathize. :)

    Nix- True. But some doors are worth keeping open a little longer than others.

    Princess- You're right, sometimes it does seem harder. Thank you for your kind words.

    Mandy_Fish- I remember reading your two part post about it and feeling so heartbroken for you. And yes. That makes complete sense.

    B.B.- Sounds like a success story to me. Which means hope! :)

    Amanda- I'm so sorry to hear you've been on both sides of the fence. If anything it will make you a more understanding person. And, thank you.

    Pixie- You're absolutely right, although sometimes it's much easier to do nothing.

    Dawn- You're a sweetheart, thank you. And I really hope he does come around.

    Elisabeth- It wasn't my favorite time ever. I hope your book launch was a success. Thank you for sharing your story with the world.

  14. I felt like I was actually watching the action - well written - We deal with a person with some serious depression issues and it is unbelievably hard to make tough decisions for them but something we have to do..I think.

  15. Big D- I'm glad you can commiserate. It totally sucks.

  16. Miss Vixen, sorry I'm last to the party - been offline a lot and well. Boring.

    Your entry made me quite sad to read but glad you did the right thing. It was hard but you did what needed to be done to help someone you cared about. I wish we all made such good decisions.

  17. Veggie Assassin- Thanks for your sweet comment. Sorry it made you sad though. Not gonna lie, writing the post really bummed me out for a while.