Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Angels I Don't See PART IV

Parts I, II, III and IV here

Every new day seemed to unearth another clue but no answers. Ric’s behavior became manic and so bizarre that he was not only a danger to himself; he was a danger to others. Most of my time was spent either begging him to go into the emergency room or calling family and friends for advice on what to do with him.

I was also left with trying to figure out how to pay our bills and rent while also having enough money with which to eat. I felt as though I was drowning in a sea of chaos, struggling to keep my head above water. Fear became my constant companion and sleep became a distant memory.

On December 18th Ric did something highly unusual, even for him. He decided that he was going to wait in the standby line of the television show The View because he wanted to get “a bunch of free stuff”. The man who had not moved from his chair in front of the television for over three weeks was all of a sudden up by six and at the ABC studios by 7:30 sharp.

And the phone calls began.

“Baby guess what? I am going to get in standby and get a bunch of free stuff. You should get here quick…”

“Baby, I am going to be in the audience and get all this free stuff. If you hurry you can join me and we can get even more free stuff and give it as Christmas gifts…”

“Baby, I am in the studio. I found out that there is another taping at 2 for the Friday show so I am going to get back in line after this and get even more free stuff. Then we can sell it for thousands of dollars and we won’t have to worry about rent or bills….”

Shortly before 2:00, my phone rang again.

“I didn’t get in for the 2:00 taping” he mumbled. “Oh well, I have an idea. See, the security guard was a real jerk. He said ‘get your skinny white ass out of here or I will call the police’ so I am going to call The View and get that guy fired. And then I am going to get them to give me all the stuff that I would have gotten had I been at the two o’clock taping”

It’s not that I felt sorry for the security guard, but I knew what Ric must have put him through in order for the guard to snap. I have no doubt that Ric asked the same question over and over again, never remembering the answer. He probably became belligerent, angry and even hostile. The guard had no idea that the man asking him questions was really a child in a fifty-two year old body.

I don’t know this because I was there. I know this because I lived it, day in and day out, for months. Ric’s constant questions were not really questions as much as they were an exercise in maintaining his sanity. If he could focus on a trivial question for which there was no answer, he never had to face the reality of his illness. In many ways it was (and is) a survival mechanism. Over the past few months, reality has been the demon he refuses to face.

Slowly his world became pure fantasy that only he knew. He truly believed everything he was saying, including being able to sell whatever “prizes” he received from The View. Though his intentions were admirable, he had absolutely no plan for making those intentions a reality.

When asked how exactly he would sell the giveaways should he receive them, he replied matter-of-factly that he would simply post signs on telephone polls and in the lobby of our building advertising the items. Pressed to explain what we would do if the items didn’t sell, he responded that we would sell our car…or our bed…or anything that happened to pop into his delusional mind at the time.

Meanwhile on planet earth, I had problems that were too much for one man to handle. Whereas in crisis of the past Ric had been by my side to weather the storms of life, this time not only was he not by my side, he was the thunder and lightening and gale force winds propelling the storm. His behavior, more than anything else, was wreaking unbelievable havoc on our life. Each of his actions required an equal and opposite reaction on my part in order to minimize the damage.

As I told my mother on the phone when the caca was hitting the fan, “Everyday I find a new body. It’s just a matter of time before I discover where another body is buried. It’s no longer a question of if, but when”.

Sure enough, on Christmas Eve, another body surfaced. And this time, the stench nearly killed me.

Part V of Angels I Don't See here

1 comment:

alan said...

I wish I had words to somehow make any of this make Ric better...

I have always admired you, knowing what you had survived to end up at a place that seemed so happy until this past spring. Now I admire you even more for surviving it's collapse!

So many would just walk out the door and not return, unwilling to deal with things. Obviously your love is much stronger than that of most in this world!

Never could I have imagined this befalling the two of you!

Know that you are both always in my thoughts...

I know where to find one Angel!


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