Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Chapter 32

In August Elizabeth graduated from high school and the church gave her a beautiful graduation celebration complete with a lovely diploma!  Many from the church were in attendance as well as my mom and other friends from the Valley.  It was a wonderful evening and I was so thankful for everything that had been done to ensure that it was an evening she would always treasure.

After this was over there wasn't anything to occupy my mind and things really started setting in on me.  I was trying to be the "good wife", so went to the hospital nearly every day.  I never knew what to expect.

Gary started trying to escape.  I'm not sure over the course of the 13 months that he spent in the Psych ward how many times the code would sound.  He was tackled by the elevators numerous times in his efforts to leave.  Many days the door to the ward was kept locked because of him.  One day I was getting ready to leave when he slipped me a piece of paper and told me it was his escape plan and to come back at 10:00pm to help him.  I gave the paper to one of the nurses on my way out.  Gary spotted me handing the paper to the nurse, he was not impressed with that act of betrayal.

He took to calling me 9 or 10 times a day, and after a while I stopped answering the phone when I saw the number displayed.

I started having very disturbing nightmares and would just start shaking at times during the day.  My depression worsened and I began experiencing flashbacks to the abuse.  I was in desperate need of help.  I was diagnosed with PTSD and started counseling at the women's center in town.  I was also talking with the Pastor some and he was encouraging me to use my writing again as an outlet, putting on paper what had happened, so I started.  I began seeing a therapist at the hospital as well.

During one of my counseling sessions at the women's center the counselor I was seeing told me that she had worked for more than 20 years all over Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.  She said in all those years she had never met anyone who had gone through abuse to the extent I had.  She suggested to me to "make the house mine."  To go room by room removing all reminders of Gary and make the house of true place of refuge for me.  This was a process that took two years to complete.  As each room was purged of his things and redecorated to suit me, I began to feel free.  Today each room is done to my likes and taste's, there are no reminders of Gary remaining...its my house, my space, my place of refuge and peace!

Going to the hospital to see the therapist was unsettling for me.  I was in the same area that Gary was and actually saw him a few times.  I didn't want to be there.  After only a few visits with this therapist I stopped going, it was just to much.  I did continue to go the women's center and Pastor though.

One day I came across a book entitled "Mending the Soul" by Mending the Soul Ministries.  I got the book and it was a great help to me in understanding what had happened.  They had check lists so that you could identify an abuser...Gary fit nearly everything that was listed!!  I wasn't crazy!  Other's like me had survived and were leading normal lives!  I started to feel for the first time a glimmer of hope that maybe this would be over someday.

I was still working at the church office.  One day I was there doing the filing, and as I sometimes did, I took some of the sermons to the couch and sat down to read them before putting them in the filing cabinet.  I felt really tired that day and was having a hard time concentrating when I received a text message from Josiah in Ontario.  We texted back and forth a few times and then that's all I remember.  What I'll tell you next is what I pieced together from what others said happened.

Josiah kept sending me text messages but I didn't respond.  He started getting worried about why he wasn't hearing from me so he finally called across the street to the parsonage.  Cathy told me later that when she is practicing for special music she doesn't answer the phone and if its a number she doesn't know she usually doesn't answer either. But that day despite practicing and not knowing the number she answered.  She sent someone over to check on me and they found me unresponsive.  An ambulance was called and I was taken to the hospital.  Elizabeth told me later that when she asked the Pastor how they got me down all the stairs from the office, he told her that it was probably something that was best not to tell me!  I can only imagine how they did it!

I woke up in the emergency room upset and disoriented.  My sugar level had spiked to the point that I lost consciousness.  Stress affects your sugar levels and I certainly did not have a stress-free life!  I looked up to see Alice, Elizabeth, Pastor and the couple that had been practicing with Cathy enter the room.  All I wanted to do was cry, I felt so upset by this whole thing and it had scared me terribly.  They didn't stay long and I was admitted for observation overnight.  Elizabeth and Cathy came in that evening for a short visit.  Elizabeth was going to spend the night with them and I felt relieved and grateful that she was being taken care of.

The next morning Pastor and Elizabeth came to pick me up and take me home.  When I was released I was instructed to have someone with me for the next couple of days and to try and take it easy.  I was tired and just wanted to sleep, you get no rest on those hard stretchers!  Pastor dropped us off and told me to get some sleep.  I decided to call mom and let her know I was home.  Alice had called and left a message on her answering machine the night before telling her what had happened.  I checked my messages first and found one from her saying she was really sick and going to the hospital.  I started to get uneasy, I had wondered why I hadn't heard from her the night before.  I called the house first and she didn't answer. I called the hospital nearest her house but they wouldn't give me any information except to tell me she wasn't there.  I started calling calling her friends but no one knew anything.  I got really scared.  I called Cathy to tell her that mom was sick and I couldn't find her anywhere.  She tried to calm me down but by then I was crying hard.  I was still very shaken over what had happened to me now mom was sick and missing!

I started getting beeps from calls being returned to me from mom's friends so I let Cathy go.  No one knew anything but one friend said that she would go to the hospitals in the area and try to find something out for me.  I hung up and waited.

After a bit I looked up and saw the Pastor walk back into the house.  Cathy had sent him back as soon as he had walked in their door, telling him to take away my keys if necessary.  She was afraid that I would just take off to the Valley and I was in no condition to drive.  While he was still here a call came that mom had been found in the Kentville hospital.  She had a tube down her throat and couldn't talk.  She was extremely sick, but they didn't know what was wrong yet.  They thought it might be her pancreas.  I was just so relieved that she had been found.  Mom's friend promised to call her pastor and friends so they would know what was going on.  I asked her to tell mom that I loved her.  I hung up the phone and started sobbing into my hands.  I couldn't take anymore.

Pastor stayed for a little while.  He asked if he needed to take my keys or it I would promise to stay put.  I promised him I would and he left...again.

Somehow I was able to get a good sleep that night.  Cathy called in the morning and was very happy to hear me sounding so much better, its amazing what sleep can do for a person!

A couple of days later Alice came with me and we went to the Valley to see mom.  She was shocked when we entered her hospital room, but it was great timing.  We were able to stay and take her home the next day.  She was weak and a little unsteady, but she was going to be OK!

No comments:

Post a Comment