Advocate

My son was Baker Acted yesterday.

He has ADHD/ODD and clearly did not want to do his work for the umpteenth time. So I got a call. Then his father got a call. And he spoke to his father the way he speaks to me for the first time ever. He knew he was in deep shit with me and his father and decided to divert our attention and tell everyone that he wanted to die. He proceeded to bang his head on a desk that is almost always designated for him in the school office.  When asked why he was purposely banging his head, he said that he wanted to “crack his skull open so he would die”. That’s the video I was sent via i message from the vice principal of the school.  I was on and off the phone all morning since I dropped him off. With this message, I ran. I left my computer on, coffee hot in the mug, and smoke behind me. My son was crying out for help.

I got to the school. He was already in the protection (from himself) of the Resource Officer at the school. She had to restrain him from hitting his head repeatedly. She asked him in my presence, several times, if he was sure he wanted to kill himself. He didn’t deny it nor did he show any kind of remorse for the display.  I cried. His father came. My fiance came. I cried some more. He cried. I had to explain to him what a Baker Act was.

Have you ever had to explain to an 8 year-old what a Baker Act is? The only thing he could hyper-focus on was that he would be somewhere for 3 days without the luxury of his home or seeing his mom or dad. He never uttered the words “I’m sorry” to me or anyone.  He was sorry, alright. But sorry for himself.

The counselor at school asked him what he thought the word “advocate” meant. He thought she said “adjective”. She said no, advocate is someone who fights for someone and speaks for someone. That his mom is an advocate for him. That I walked into the school this year for the first time and laid out what I wanted for him; the things I wanted him to accomplish and what I thought it took to get him there. She said that no one fights for him like I do. That i’ve made enemies trying to get everyone on the same page. That she envies him because he has such a strong and persistent mom.

I wish he felt the same.

We made it to the Emergency Room at the Children’s Hospital. My ex-husband, future husband, and me and my son. They watched me interact with him.  They watched me give up my license, walk him to the room, sit with him, talk to him. I felt sad eyes on us. Pitiful eyes. Concerned eyes. I wanted to scream at them and tell them to stop fucking staring. I wanted to explain that he isn’t normally like this; that he has never threatened suicide, ever. I wanted to explain that I really am a good mom; a great mom. YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE ME!

He was released after a brief intake. He was found to obviously be in his right mind. That he was angry because he didn’t want to do his work. Because my step daughter broke her arm and got a gift from me to make her feel better. Because he doesn’t get anything from me. Because he has less attention. You name it, he used it as an excuse.

Later on, he was fine. As if nothing happened. As if all was right with the world. I can’t explain it. Or understand it.

The fiance and I fought. He called off the wedding and with my chin in the air, I said that that was fine with me. I knew he didn’t mean it. But I let him think I believed him. I told him to sleep in the other room. I told him that he needs to tell his family that HE called it off. He didn’t. He apologized. I forgave him. But I am still extremely angry.

So I went off the diet I have been on for a month. I ate four pieces of pizza.

Tonight I drank a bottle of wine.

Fuck it.

Cheers!!

 

 

PTSD and Psychopaths

Psychopath: traditionally defined as a personality disorder characterized by persistent antisocial behavior, impaired empathy and remorse, and bold, dis inhibited, and egotistical traits.

This is my ex-boss through and through. To give an example, she is 66, highly brilliant, but still pounds her fists on the desk when she doesn’t get her way.  When she doesn’t want to hear what you have to say, she plugs her ears and hums. She does things for people only for the reward or the recognition. She struts around the hallway in Gucci jeans and doesn’t miss a beat while kicking in a door with her $1500 Prada heel.

She hired me when I needed to move from where I was. I had worked at the same place for over 13 years and it was time for a change. So she hired me. I only moved down the hall but it was a good move and I was happy.  Stressed and tired but happy with my decision.

I am not an educated woman. Meaning, I don’t have a fancy PhD or Masters. Hell, I just completed my Associates in Science last year after 20 years of trying. And I did it because she kicked me in the ass. Motivated me. Pushed me. Told me I was smarter than most of the PhD faculty she has had work under her and that I could do anything with the brains I have. She was eccentric and high-maintenance and needy. And I sucked it up. I loved being dependable and depended on. I loved being needed and accepted by this louder-than-life genius.  I became her right hand and her “adopted daughter”. She gave me a diamond bracelet and expensive skin cream. I was in heaven. I had never taken care of a grown woman the way I took care of her.

But then. Then she became abusive. She spread rumors and lied. She told other people I wasn’t as smart as I think I am. She said I made mistakes too often. She pitted all of her employees against each other. So we ended up like rabid lions; looking and smelling and searching for the “outcast” in our group so we could clench down on his throat and suck the life out of him.  She did it to everyone and I thought it would be different for me.

It was not.

She eventually pissed off the wrong person and enough HR complaints were filed that she was removed from the building on a Friday in September. I cried and kept contact with her until I was let in on and shared all the secrets we had as a group. Then I dropped her. I blocked her number and took myself off her sharing option in her calendar. I requested to be removed from her other personal matters and reminders.

And I cried. I cried like a girl that lost her mom. I cried for the idiot I had been. I cried for how hurt I was. I cried how badly I wanted and thought I needed her acceptance. I just cried and took a few days to recuperate.

Today she returned to the office to pick up some things that she needs to take with her. This isn’t the first time. Or the last. But this is the first time we spoke since September. She thanked me for my help. Said what a good job I did collecting the files she needed and documenting effectively. “You’re welcome” I said with a smile.

I resisted the urge to clean her foggy glasses or get her a pencil with an actual eraser on it. I resisted asking if she wanted coffee or if she needed any more help. I resisted throwing my arms around her frail frame and telling her how sorry I am for being a shit and telling all of the dirty secrets she had but that she’s a terrible boss and I  miss her terribly and to forgive me for being ungrateful.

Instead, I calmly walked away and went into my office. Shut the door. And cried again.

Some things just stick with you. The way she loved me and the way she betrayed me do. Due to her mental illness (diagnosed Bipolar Disorder not medicated) she would have highs and lows. Her highs consisted of creativity where she would write intense manuscripts and research projects and her lows were full of anger and resentment. Her genius trumped any need for medication so she never medicated her disease.

Mental illness is not something to ignore.

If you have any kind of mental illness diagnosis, even if you don’t, May is Mental Health Awareness month. Talk to someone. Get help. You never know how great you can truly be unless you try to be better. It starts with you.

Cheers.

Dad

My father was a good father. Not the best father. Not the worst father.  Not the best husband or the worst husband.  Dad was an alcoholic. He was a smoker. He was a toker, actually.  In fact, I remember distinctly being asked as a child to help him pull seeds off marijuana stems and using my mom’s sifter to sift out the sticky icky. Once I smelled marijuana as a teenager, I put two and two together and called my mom up and yelled at her for not telling me all these years. Then I had my dad start rolling my joints cause I was really bad at it.

The stories he would tell consisted of his travels to England and his being stationed overseas. “The hash in Turkey is incredible you know. The snow sucked but I was so high that I ran out in my underwear.”  He would tell us that during the drills he would talk back to the drill sergeant. He wouldn’t march in line properly so he was punished by having to shine shoes. Upon shoes. Upon shoes. He went AWOL to New York City on his way to Europe all so he could see Grand Central Station. He got in bar room brawls and lived to tell the tales. The ladies loved him and I am sure I have some half-siblings wandering around Germany or London today.

He became a funeral director and was the local go-to for over 30 years. With the job came the house so we lived there and my mother died there. I still can remember each and every corner of the tiny two-bedroom house from the plastic doorknob covers to the little eye link chain that locked the only bathroom’s door. I left as soon as I could at the age of 18 and never moved back home. My brother never left.

Eventually, I stopped chasing the career path I was on and gravitated towards the path for which I was meant. I enrolled in Mortuary School in the Spring of 2017. I am in my first year, still, and love every moment. Dad was pissed because he said I make more money with the job I have. I told him that would only be the case if I did not own my own home and invited him to be my advisor and first employee. He laughed and accepted. I would get good luck texts and would call him after I left night-class to brag about something I knew that no one else did simply because I’m the daughter of a funeral director. He would critique my work and compliment my efforts.  Everything I learned about work etiquette and ethic I learned from him. All from him.

My dad and I had our good and bad. But the past ten years were better than most and for that, I am thankful. Because he was a relentless smoker, like my mother, he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2012. He had a lobe of his lung removed in 2013 and was on chemotherapy treatment since then.  Through hours of injections, magnesium IV drips and scans, he fought with a smile on his face. “We’ll get through this” he would say or text to me.  He tried to never miss a Sunday at mass as he enjoyed his time with God and his friends. He would always say a prayer for me. Sometimes he would tell me about it; sometimes he would not. But I always knew.

One of the last days I spent with him at the Palliative Care center of the VA hospital he took my hand in his and said “Sugars, I deserve better”. And for once in my life, I agreed. I used to think he was horrible; always drinking, getting into trouble (I once had to bail him out of jail due to a DUI) and just not being a good role model. I would think he deserved the DUI, the job layoff when the time came, the bankruptcy, the title of widower.

But this time, I held the hand that wiped my tears as a child; the massive hand that wouldn’t spank me because he knew it would hurt; the hand that sealed more than his share of lips, eyes, and caskets-and I cried and told him that he, most definitely, did not deserve this.

A couple days later, I held his hand in mine but this time he and I didn’t speak.

A day later, I lost him.

I told you I would update.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, I anticipate. It will get easier to write about him. But this is it for now.

Hold on tightly.

To each other.

Cheers.