Tag: Ward 3C

Dead son dreams of calling his father

What do you expect, being born on Friday the 13th? That was my fate without me knowing it and the madness that followed, followed the madness that followed the madness.

The shrinks had their own name for it but I called it a babbling hell of diabolical voices. I didn’t know what the hell was going on. They put me on Chlorpromazine and a bunch of other mindbuckers, but I had the last laugh. I took enough Amobarbital and Secobarbital to kill myself three times over.

The first time hadn’t worked and I wanted to be sure the next time. I was “determined that there should be as little imprecision as possible,” as my dad’s favorite writer William Saroyan wrote in ‘The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze.’

I hated doing it to my crazy father, and I wondered as I spun off into oblivion what would happen to him. I didn’t know if my death would do him in or not, but I suspected he would survive. He told me when he visited me in Ward 3C after my first suicide attempt, “I hope you don’t try this again, Will, because I don’t know if I can survive another one — and I’m into survival.”

My sparse response at the time was, “It’s good that you know about yourself.”

After some rocky years when I was a kid when my dad and my mother got divorced, we had a pretty good relationship at the end. Eccentric was the shrink’s word for it. Fragile was another. But despite our past differences and difficulties, we made contact on several occasions in the last couple of years. Times when we really understood one another and wrote many letters back and forth signed with the big L.

I kept all of the letters he wrote to me, and now he has them again, and I know he kept mine, although I don’t know if he can bring himself to read them. He’s a very emotional guy.

There were many times when we would drive each other crazy, but finally, now, in retrospect, I loved him and I know he loved me.

My suicide was a shock to all concerned, even though I tried it once before when I was diagnosed with this goddamned mental illness. 

At the end I gave everyone a false sense of security, to throw them off the track, to prevent them from stopping me. I had just one thought and that was to take those barbiturates I had bought on the street with my last hundred bucks and to get the hell out of this world. I was on “the wrong earth,” to quote Saroyan again.

You know what I’d love to do? I’d love to be able to tap into the Internet or into the phone lines or whatever and call my dad. As in life, I’d have to make it a collect call.

I know it can’t be done, but man, I’d love to do that. I’d tell him I’m sorry for hurting him by killing myself but I could see no other way to escape the voices, and I’d tell him that I’m at peace now and that I’ll love him through all eternity.

Even if I could figure out a way to do that, I couldn’t really do it. I mean, when he picked up the phone and heard my voice, he’d think he had gone mad. Who wouldn’t in a similar situation?


 

All Souls’ Day

The father thought about Ward 3C, the last place he had seen his son alive before the boy’s suicide.

His thoughts turned to the time his watch — an expensive gold Seiko his second wife had given him a few months earlier — stopped at 10:52 p.m. on Wednesday, November 2.

It was the day after Will’s funeral. His father was in a hotel room in Toronto, yelling in his Xanax and beer bewilderment that he was going to “get” the psychiatrist who had released Will from Ward 3C, perhaps before he should have.

In a black notebook in which he’d been keeping a record of past events the father angrily wrote: AINSLEY! THURSDAY! Apparently to confront the psychiatrist the next day and — do what? Threaten him? Kill him?

And that’s when the sweep second hand on his Seiko stopped dead. The batteries were supposed to last up to four years — he had been guaranteed this — and yet they gave out at that precise moment. Why then, at that very second?

The father considered the possibility that Will or Will’s spirit had stopped the watch because of what he had been yelling about the psychiatrist, knowing, as Will now possibly did, that he was on the wrong track, that it wasn’t Ainsley’s fault, or anyone’s fault.

The next day the father put the question to his ex-wife. She was a Catholic and had a belief that he envied. “Do you think Will stopped the watch because I was threatening to do something to the psychiatrist?”

“That’s possible,” she said. “But more likely, 10:52 p.m. Wednesday was the moment Will ascended to Heaven.”

The father was about as irreligious as you could get, but he liked the way his ex-wife’s mind worked.

“That was All Souls Day,” she said, “when Christians pray for the souls who are being purified in purgatory so they may enter Heaven.” The funeral had been held the day before, so it made sense, even to a pagan.

The father never got his watch fixed. It was a valuable clue, a historical artifact. He’d never tamper with stuff like that. It was found in his apartment after his own death, still frozen at 10:52.


Excerpted from original story:

Permalink: https://billmichelmore.com/a-place-to-heal/


 

God is a funny guy

God got even with me today.

Last night, in a satirical post titled ‘Where is God in this crazy world?’ I had him in a psych ward. [See HERE.]

And today — guess what! — I was racked with severe stomach and chest pains, all goddamn day. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t even have a beer or my nightly dosage of gin. The misery of that!

Finally, only Xanax could somewhat mollify the pain.

Conclusion: God does not have a sense of humor — Oh, damn, I suppose I’ll get hell again tonight for that comment!

Okay, I’ll play along — God does have a sense of humor. He’s a funny guy. I won’t go as far as calling him a clown, as the great religious writer and poet C.S. Lewis did in his book ‘A Grief Observed’, which since the death of my wife has become my Bible.

Lewis wrote: “Is God a clown who whips away your bowl of soup one moment in order, next moment, to replace it with another bowl of the same soup? Even nature isn’t such a clown as that.” [Page 14 of HarperOne edition]

Elsewhere in the book, Lewis asks the question: “Is it rational to believe in a bad God? The Cosmic sadist, the spiteful imbecile?” [Page 30]

Man, it takes guts to write that.

And this guy Lewis [1898-1963] was a Christian!

But I’m taking the easy way out, by releasing God from Psych Ward 3C. He is now free to go about his godly or ungodly business, whichever the case may be.

Just leave me out of it, Lord, and accept the fact I’m out of my gourd.

It is approaching midnight, warily, I turn out the light.