I’ve been relatively silent for the last half of 2016. An explosion of negativity hit me via the news. The last major life event I blogged about was the murder of Philando Castile, basically on my apartment’s doorstep. Even though that shitbag Yanez was charged with manslaughter and I cried during the live-stream, it still won’t ever be enough.
Then bullets reached the minds of many others, trans people were being murdered, and I shut myself down. I drowned myself in Overwatch and cat videos. I was barely clinging onto what fragile reality I had in front of me.
Then in September, my dad killed himself. I think he wanted attention, which seems a cruel thing to say, but contextually, it must have played a part of it.
Unhappy with my brother’s unemployment, my dad kicked him out. This was after forcing my school aged cousins out while their parents worked out of state/out of city, forcing my uncle to buy a house that he wasn’t able to live in (as he worked 2 hours out of city) and rehome my cousins AND my grandma. Yes, my dad kicked out a defenseless little old lady alongside 3 children. So, having nowhere else to go, my brother stayed with them after a stint at a friend’s (or so I heard).
The night he killed himself was not the same night that he died.
That was the worst part.
It was the day Gene Wilder (August 29, 2016, but this all mainly happens on the 30th onward) died that I received a call at midnight and 1 and 1:10 AM and 1:30 AM. All missed. I woke up to pee and saw a text message that my mom needed me. I had only recently begun to speak to her again, a little after her birthday (August 12).
[I blocked her from my life for the previous 4 or 5 months after my dad threw a hissy fit and cancelled my cellphone service before I had the chance to switch (like within minutes of the fight), and since I worked from home, this increased my stress-level tenfold. Somewhere, I may have the actual conversation. A lot of it is me screaming to be heard, and then being ignored.]
Dad was in the hospital. Which hospital? St. Joseph’s, downtown. In the ER. And I put on the most comfortable pants I had with some gross flip-flops, thinking he just had another blood clot and would be out within the day. I was in that hospital for over 36 hours.
It had been raining so my stupid feet were damp the whole time. I shuffled into the hospital ER, which was unfamiliar, and saw my mom on her phone.
She told me he took a bunch of pills after they had an argument. An argument about what? Something serious? No. An argument that basically can be surmised as: my mom was being unfaithful as a wife by speaking to her two children who had basically disowned him.
But, the disowning was not without cause.
1) He was physically abusive to my brother. I’m surprised there were never any broken bones. It got worse after the Autism diagnosis (that I recently learned was never confirmed, so it isn’t on his medical record).
2) He sexually abused me. I ended up in foster care from age 15-16. I cut holes in the window screen of my second story bedroom in case he ever came in again, and I would jump out to escape. There was no proof, so I was sent back home. Neither of my parents let me speak to a doctor about depression. It wasn’t until I was 20 that I had been given my first doses of medication. And by 21 a psychiatrist diagnosed me with anxiety, severe depression, and PTSD and was completely enraged that I hadn’t received help sooner. But, even 10 years after returning home, 14 years after the abuse started, people still don’t believe me. Because while I was cut off from contact, he was able to tell everybody I made it up. Truthfully, I had no idea what would’ve happened once I reported it, but it definitely felt like I was the one being punished the entire time. I lost and regained 100 pounds in 3 months. I stopped talking.
3) He was emotionally manipulative. I can see this part of him reflected on a ton of my relationships. He was always a big baby. He never should’ve been allowed to have my brother and I. And my mom should’ve left him after the first time he tried to kill himself. After some other minor argument, he went into the garage, turned on the car, closed the doors, and sat in there. I watched for 10 minutes before I figured I should just get my mom. It was after I returned home from foster care. I wish he would’ve died then.
So, the argument got to the point where my mom said something along the lines of, “What’s the point of having kids if you don’t like them? I should divorce you, I’m too tired of dealing with you.” And around midnight, he texted a bunch of people that were important to him (but strangers to his family, for the most part), wrote a check to my grandma (who stupidly tried to cash it, even though we told her not to), and took a bunch of pills. It was never concluded what he took.
Being a romantic, his last words to my mom were, “Honey, come up and give me one last kiss.” And she refused, calling the ambulance instead. She told them to take him to St. John’s (which is a familiar hospital), but they didn’t. She managed to get to St. Joseph’s but not before trying to reach me.
Unbeknownst until later, he managed to walk down the stairs and to the ambulance, remained conscious but incomprehensible, and seized for approximately 10 minutes before they could resuscitate him. My mom wasn’t with him in the ambulance, so we both found out at the same time.
If I had learned ANYTHING, it’s that any amount of seizing can cause irreparable brain damage. Past 2 minutes, I believe, the lack of oxygen to the brain pushes normal recovery to a region of hopelessness. It is the same reason that, if I had known, I would not have held out hope for Carrie Fischer’s recovery as she had stopped breathing for a similar amount of time before being revived. This is a hopeless situation.
But since they were able to resuscitate him, it just prolonged our suffering.
He was hooked up to every machine the hospital had to offer. Tubes twisted around multiple parts of his body. He heaved and shook tremendously as the breathing machine tried to compensate for his weight. It was painful to watch because it was so inhuman.
My mom laid out all the pill bottles that she brought from the bedroom. Multiple large bottles of anti-depressants, empty and full and half-empty, and some others for epilepsy and blood clot prevention (I believe). Taking HALF of one of these bottles could have killed a whole elephant. The bottle was four inches tall and 2 inches wide, filled to the brim with pills. And some of the expiration dates had passed; he could have been taking old medicine.
Our phones were dying, but the last thing we needed to see were more cords in that damn room, so we waited. Nurses came by to periodically check, and he was going to be move to the ICU. I don’t remember what time? It took 6 nurses to wheel him and the equipment to the elevator. My mom and I followed.
And then the elevator got stuck. On level 4. It just… stopped. The AC stopped, but the lights remained. I was already sweaty from being sleep deprived, and holy shit did I sweat. I laughed, I was so tired, I just laughed. I figured we must weigh over the 2 ton limit with my fatass on board. I began to tense up, never realizing that being stuck on an elevator may qualify as a phobia of mine? (I couldn’t even stand to be on the islands in Hawaii because being able to see the ocean from side to side made me more nervous than awestruck).
I am a particularly superstitious individual, so being stuck on level 4 was an omen. I knew then that he was going to die. My mom felt it too. (Background: Chinese culture associates the number 4 with death because of the similarities in pronunciation (in Mandarin, anyway), so buildings will be built without 4th floors, as we do not build the 13th floors).
I can’t tell you how long I was stuck in that elevator, having the nurses say this has never happened, phoning different mechanics and security guards calmly while I leaned against the corner with sweat pouring out of my soul. Some luck left us exactly on the 4th floor, meaning we weren’t in between floors once the mechanics opened it up. They apologized profusely, but the elevator began working again. Spooky, huh?
So, we all split up into 3 different elevators in case one of us got stuck again, and I cannot recall which floor the ICU was on. At this point, it had to have been 5 or 6 AM? My mom and I waited in their guest room until easily 9 AM, when the doctor was supposed to come in and do rounds. I had no sleep, but we left the hospital to drive and get my mom’s medicine and get breakfast. I had texted my boss that I was not coming in because of a family emergency. Once we got back to the hospital, I remember sleeping and hearing voices, and hearing the breathing machine pulse. Luckily, it had calmed down since the ER and was now more steady and familiar. Sometimes he twitched or let out a half-snore through the tube.
In my head, I just silently prayed he would die so I could go home to my husband and sleep. That I wouldn’t find myself stuck in this hospital any longer, not getting answers. It was a very selfish time, but I had expended all my energy for my mom. I don’t remember dreaming, I just kept sweating.
By the time I got home, I had finally been able to sleep. Andrew started his job at BP around that time, so I don’t remember if/when I saw him. I kept my ringer on loud in case my mom would call with the good news that he had died.
This was the first day (August 29-30th, 2016)
This is all for now, as it’s 2:30 AM.