I saw my mother-in-law for the first time since before Thanksgiving today. You see she doesn’t approve of my current boyfriend and told me basically as long as I am with him she has to keep her distance. To be honest, when she said that it really pissed me off. I feel like who I decide to have a romantic life with is my business and choice. That choice of mine shouldn’t dictate whether or not someone is involved in my life. I don’t know I think it goes deeper than that.
I sent her a message saying I missed her and the next thing I knew we had a lunch date. It was great. We caught up on what has been going on in our lives, the good, the bad, the ugly. We had a yummy lunch, then once she took me home she gave me my christmas presents. Yay presents! I told her how I recently messed up my bank account writing checks and on her way home she deposited the money in my account to cover it. How nice is that?? I hope we are on the mend. I really do. I miss her so much. She also took some of my laundry with her and if you saw how my laundry has taken over my closet you would know how big of a deal that one is. So mama is hopefully back in my life. It felt really good to be taken care of today in a way only a Mama can. Not much beats that.
So I have excellent news… I finally received my first social security disability payment! It couldn’t have come at a better time. Yesterday was my boyfriend’s birthday and we were flat broke. He went to Ihop for free breakfast and gave it to me because I hadn’t eaten in 24 hours. He went to Firehouse Subs for a free sandwich for lunch and split it with me. We were both feeling pretty crappy and then he suggested I check my bank account since I’m expecting disability any time. Well, I didn’t think it would be there. I assumed I would receive an award letter first. Plus I just checked the social security website a few days ago, crickets… I called the bank ready for disappointment, instead I was shocked and thrilled to find actual funds in my bank account. So we ate, and then ate some more. It’s a beautiful thing. I don’t want pity, I just wanted to be recognized as disabled. Finally I have that. So to any of you out there struggling with social security, DO NOT GIVE UP. I started this whole adventure in 2013! It took 6 years. Ridiculous, yes, but finally my hard work and patience paid off. Keep at it. It gets better.
This is something I have been waiting for the right time to write about. It’s hard to go back to that day. Every time I tell the story it takes me there. I can still feel the dread as the sun went down and he had been missing for hours. I knew something was wrong…
It was October 23, 2017. I woke up in a panic, I had overslept. I got ready as fast as I could, I had 45 minutes to be at the church. Keith was quiet which wasn’t odd for him. He was often quiet. He had bipolar I disorder, the most severe. I usually did a check-in with him in the morning. I asked him how he was feeling and if he had anything he wanted to tell me. He was usually pretty honest. He would tell me if he was thinking about suicide. He had had 3 suicide attempts in his life and I had been present for the second and came home and found him the third time. I had no warnings then I don’t know why I thought I would get one again, but I did. I didn’t check in that day. A decision that still haunts me. I didn’t even have time for our ritualistic hug and kiss before I ran out the door. I patted him on the top of his head and said, ” I love you, I’ll see you later.” He said, “Bye dear.” That was it, the last words we ever spoke to one another.
The class I was facilitating ended at 2:00. I stayed late to clean up from the food and visit with a few people. I called Keith to let him know I would be late but he didn’t answer. I drove home thinking what a beautiful day it was and that I should see if Keith wanted to go to the park and read, maybe take the dog. I walked into the apartment, it was still and quiet. I didn’t get my usual greeting at the door from him or the dog. I walked to the bedroom and the dog was in his kennel. I thought maybe Keith had gone for a walk. His cell phone was sitting on the kitchen counter, I just rolled my eyes. He often forgot it although he had gotten better about it. It bothered me that he didn’t leave a note, he always left a note. I waited about 30 minutes and when he didn’t show up I started making phone calls. I called his mom, dad and case manager with the facility that provided his mental healthcare. No one had seen him or heard from him.
I tried not to panic that afternoon as time rolled on. I got in my car and drove around looking for him. He would be unmistakable. He was 6’4″ and very thin and had a particular gait. I couldn’t find him. I was starting to panic. It was after 4:00. Keith’s mom decided to talk to the police. They said they would send someone out to my apartment soon. When it got dark I was a wreck. Where could he be? I knew he was on foot because I had the only car. He should have been back. My mom came over and then Keith’s dad. We all knew something was wrong but no one wanted to let our thoughts go to the worst possible thing. I put a chair out by the curb in the parking lot and sat watching the street so I could see him if he walked up. He never came.
The police showed up about 1:00 am. There was a lot of them so I knew it couldn’t be good news. We went inside and I sat in Keith’s chair, the one he was in the last time I saw him. The chaplain began telling me about a man earlier in the day that had jumped off of the bridge over the creek turnpike off of Yale Ave., and then he dropped the bombshell. The man was my husband. He had walked about 5 miles to that bridge. All I remember next was Keith’s mom on the ground in front of me holding onto me for dear life and not being able to believe what I had just heard. I even asked the chaplain if Keith was dead. It just wouldn’t register in my mind that he was gone.
The police followed us across town to Keith’s dad’s house and the police told him. He had left my house earlier in the night to get some sleep. I couldn’t go home. How could I? Keith’s shoes were by the door. His dictionary was by the couch where he could look up words quickly throughout the day. His toothbrush was in the holder in the bathroom. Traces of him were everywhere because he was still there, but he wasn’t. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that I would never see him again. I couldn’t be there. I went to my sister’s house to stay with her for a few days.
My life as I knew it ended that day. I knew I would never be the same. It wasn’t until I met my current boyfriend that I began moving toward a new life. I’m grateful for that. The pain I have endured during my life with Keith in trying to keep him alive and the pain of losing him was almost too much to bear. I miss him a lot. I’m sure I always will. He is ok now though I am certain of that. It is the ones left behind that continue to suffer…
So I am officially in a rut. A life-rut. My world has become so small and it seems so insignificant. What am I doing? Nothing. Every day I do the same thing. Nothing. It’s exhausting doing nothing. I never have energy. Recently I was asked by my therapist, “what are your goals?” Hmmm… I can’t decide what to eat 99% of the time. I have no fucking clue what my goals are. My number one goal as of right this second, is to get out of the house. It will happen come hell or high water or else I will be hanging my boyfriend up by his toes. If that happens I will be sure to take pictures.
My life-rut has a soundtrack. Ani DiFranco being number one. She speaks to me. It’s like there is a little window into my soul that she peeks into and then writes her songs based on what she sees in there. It’s cool when you connect to a form of art in a way that rocks you to your core. This is my latest Ani song that gets me…
My affirmation for the day is… I WILL GET OUT OF THIS HOUSE. Even if it’s to the devils house (Wal-Mart). I am outta here! Stay classy Tulsa.