You ever get those days when you realize you should never have gotten out of bed? Those days when you find yourself taking deep breaths and repeating the Serenity Prayer more often than naught? Oh my, since they changed our program to a mental health program, those days seem to be coming more and more frequently. Yesterday was the day from hell.
It began when I got up. I 'really' didn't want to go. I was tired and suffering from a sinus headache. Thought about calling in, but I didn't. By the time I realized my mistake, it was already too late. Again, I forgot my I.D. Now, our I.D. just happens to be a key to get in as well. You swipe the back of it and the door opens. I was able to get into the office, but it sure got to be a pain in the butt when I had to use the ladies' room.
In group, I put on a video that "I" had bought and all was well until about ten minutes before the end. That's when it got stuck and wouldn't go any further. Turns out that someone who had borrowed it had not taken care of it and left a big scratch.
I walked out of group when it was over to find two clients waiting for me. Both had emergencies that could not wait so they followed me to the front desk and pestered me while I was trying to sign everyone out. The first was a female client who decided that 'she didn't need to be in this program, that she wanted to go to college instead'. I had to remind her of her excessive alcohol use and that she must get that under control before moving on to anything else; hence, the necessity of attending the program.
The other client has not shown to the program in almost two months. He has been medication non-compliant and it was obvious that he was not himself. He was yelling and carrying on so that 911 had to be called. But, none of this prepared me for the news that was to come.
In the midst of this all, I got 'the call'. One of my ex clients had passed away. His sisters found him in his apartment. The housing program had a myriad of questions for me, and I was really having difficulty holding myself together. I'd worked with this for two years; he was the nicest person. Never raised his voice. An alcoholic, he always had a hard time staying clean and sober. He'd put together a few months, then disappear. Later we'd find out he'd put himself in detox or the psychiatric ward. And, he had always been suicidal so when he disappeared, there was always that nagging fear along with the sigh of relief when he finally did show up.
After my office moved to our new location, his attendance dropped off, and he admitted to me he wasn't very comfortable with the new place. After much discussion, we decided that perhaps it would be better for him to attend a program closer to his home. At first he was agreeable, but then, as the day drew near for him to leave, he balked. Everything for his transfer had already been put in place, and he got a little angry about it and told other clients I was 'putting him out', but he followed through, and all seemed to be going well.
About two weeks the psychiatrist and I received a telephone call from him. He told me that "although I was angry about being put out, I realize that what you did was because you wanted to help me. I'm going to the other program, and I like it. I'm just calling to thank you for all the support you have given me. I love you, Mary. You've always been good to me." Our psychiatrist got pretty much the same call. We both had an eerie feeling about it.
Over the weekend his sister found him in his apartment, most likely cause an overdose. His calls to me and the doctor had indeed been a good-bye.
Today, I light this candle for Pascual. May he finally find the peace that he never found in life.
Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.
Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.
Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.
Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more!
Alfred Lord Tennyson