I don't believe you have to have eating disorders and mental illness to screw up.
After Betty’s death, things seemed to be settling back down. We moved into our new house and as soon as we were unpacked, I wanted to send out resumes, but Mel was determined that I was going to stay home and she was going to take care of me now.I didn’t need taking care of. I think she really just wanted to keep me where she knew she couldn’t lose me. No more than a couple of days would go by before she would start in about me leaving her. Her insecurity was my security I’m afraid. She was positive any moment I would leave her and return to Bootsie.
I had no intention. Ever. I was as much, maybe more in love with her than I was when we first promised ourselves to the other. But Mel was the insecure type. I couldn’t understand. How could she not see my total dedication to her. I took care of her bed ridden father, allowing him to live his last days at home with us rather than a nursing home. And I did the same with her mother. Mel didn’t believe in nursing homes. Taking care of her folks was no easy task. Both of them were invalid, incontinent and in need of 24 hour care. I did this with love. And I received a wonderful gift in the relationship I had with her mother.
But Mel was more insecure than ever. And she was taking me to more doctors. She would make appointments for me, I would cancel. I didn’t need them. So when she found this out, she decided she would take the time off and drive me herself. She had the most patient of bosses because Mel took time off far more frequently than I would’ve been comfortable with. It was a government job, and we all know how complacent those employers are.
Mel had decided to take me to a heart doctor. They did an invasive procedure called a heart cath. The results were varied and she told folks I was very ill. Not unusual, Mel needed me to be sick. I was throwing up daily. Mel never thought this was unusual. She ran hot and cold on the issue. When she was around others she doted on me and liked to talk about my maladies. But when we were alone, she couldn’t be bothered.
I cannot tell you how happy I was in my new home. I had dreamt of living in a place like that. It was in a little town Springfield Vermont, the town featured in The Simpsons, really, they chose that town when they did their movie stint and all the Springfields in the U.S. were in the running. The house had wood floors, a sun porch, two kitchens upstairs and down. My bathroom had a footed bathtub. There were gorgeous antique light fixtures and built in glass doored cabinets in the living area. We had bought venetian blinds, (for those of you unfamiliar they are 2.5” thick min-blinds). The kitchen needed some carpentry that we hired a friend’s husband from work to take care of.
I loved the charm of the small town. We could drive up the road to get fresh milk from the dairy. They had a drawer filled with money for you to leave cash and get change! Can you imagine? And there was a charming restaurant that had booths that were actually the entire front seats of cars, dashboard and all.
And when the first snow came, it was like a picture postcard. We had a waterfall outside and with the silence the snow brings you could hear the soft flow of the stream.
This would be one of my sweetest memories.
After moving in we went on an “all inclusive” vacation to the Bahamas that was given as a gift by Chris, a co-worker of Mel’s who also moved up after us.
The trip to the Bahamas was wonderful … until I lost my hearing. Completely. I was terrified, but it only made Mel angry. I was shocked. Instead of rushing me to an emergency room, she made me stay in our cabana only to go to dinner. She would talk to me as if I could hear and when I did not return conversation she acted disgusted.
This was when I started to see the first clear cracks in my happy little world. I know…I know. Reading through the chapters prior, it seems that I was clueless or in a big state of denial. But I felt my lie was perfect and complete.
Mel never had patience for me being sick, even though she liked to drag me to doctors all the time, but this was serious. In a couple of days, my hearing came back but only on one side. But Mel still acted disgusted, like I was faking it. I didn’t need to fake anything. Mel cold certainly drudge up illnesses for me without my help. She went about her way on the trip scuba diving and other activities that I could not do. I was prone to embolisms so diving was out of the question even though I had a PADI license or whatever they call it.
When we arrived at the airport on our way home, Mel picked up the messages (we didn’t have all the cellular accoutrements we have now). Patty Smith left us a message that she needed the house back.
I was hysterical.
“Don’t we have a lease?”
“No” Mel demurred “I didn’t think we needed one”
I knew it. I knew I should have gone when she signed all the papers. Of course you need a lease especially when renting from a friend! There was nothing we could do and we had 4 weeks to vacate. Apparently Patty had problems in Massachusetts where she moved to be with her boyfriend. She wanted to move home and we didn’t have a legal leg to stand on. After all my histrionics we started again with house hunting, only this time, the legal end of it was going to be my job. When they say things happen for a reason, I believe it. But there is always a price to pay...right?
We decided to house hunt in Piermont. A little city with 89 people. We found a house on River Road that was PERFECT. It was high up on a hill with a private logging road. It had a main house where the owners lived and this was another house they had just had built. The main house was level with the road. Our house was connected to the third story of the main house. That is how high up it was. It had a huge grassed prairie as a back yard. About an acre. The plain was surrounded by lush forestry and a path leading into the woods down to the Colorado river. It was a slice of heaven. And it was brand new. Everything was that clean and sparkly new car smell. We had a wonderful deck where we put a picnic table and an enclosed canopy. I could not have been any happier.
The person who recommended the house worked with Mel at the V.A. Her name was Linda. Linda had an elderly grandmother who lived about a mile down the road. We’ll call her Rosemary. Rosemary’s husband Ernest was in a nursing home. Rosemary could no longer drive, so Mel volunteered me to take the woman, every day if she wanted, to the nursing home to see her husband and then to run errands. I didn’t mind…most days. But Mel volunteered me a lot. And I did this free of charge.
Mel worked with a friend of hers who was a surgical nurse. Chris and her husband Murphy, were the first to make it on our heels to New Hampshire. This trek would be only the beginning of a trend. Chris was married to a man that was suffering from kidney damage and needed a transplant. She and her husband Bob, had a 14 year old boy and decided to go to China to adopt a little girl, which they did. I felt it was an irresponsible move since Bob had failing health. But they brought home a beautiful baby girl…for me to babysit. A lot. Free of charge.
During the holidays one year, I took care of the children, in their home from Thanksgiving to Christmas. I taxied them to school and back, cleaned their huge 4000 sf home, washed their clothes, cooked their meals and made certain the kids did not feel the anxiety their mother was going through. Bob was very ill and needed the transplant. Chris would go to Massachusetts, where he was, to stay with him. I made certain she had no worries. I cooked both Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. After the ordeal was done, I was exhausted and went to bed sick for Christmas. Mel left me there and went back to Chris’s (she was finally home) bringing the turkey and trimmings that I prepared.
Basically anything anyone needed, Mel volunteered me and lavished in the warmth of their affection.
The rest of the year that I wasn’t at Chris’ house, Emily, their adopted 5 year old daughter was at ours. Mel had no patience for the child and whenever possible, when volunteering me, would have me babysits at Chris’s house. When Emily WAS at our house, Mel would send us to the bedroom to watch television and close the door. If Emily wanted a larger area to play in, like the family area, Mel would go in her office and shut the door. When Chris came to pick her up, Mel was front and forward with Emily standing in front of her, Mel’s hands on the kids shoulder as if they were fast buddies.
I also, from time to time, would go to stay overnight just to watch the dog. Chris did not want her dog to stay alone. No, couldn’t just have a neighbor look in. Had to have someone stay in the house … with the dog.
People would ask “now that you aren’t working, whatever do you do with your time?”
Mel liked to say that I was living the life of a queen bee, not a care in the world. And for the most part, I guess I was. Mel had always been so full of fun, but lately I started to notice her verve waning and her depression came out in the form of constant shopping. I couldn’t look at anything l liked and say something about it without her buying it for me. I worried. When she didn't have money, she would get upset if I commented that I liked something.
"Dianne we don't have the money."
I would explain that I simply liked it, I didn't need it.
Mel liked to shop. She was on EBAY constantly. And there was a parade of UPS drivers leaving packages. It seemed there was a void that couldn’t be filled. The more she spent the more unhappy she became. She had applied for and finally got Social Security to pay for my end of the costs. Thank goodness in retrospect.
I had started to see a psyche doctor at Fletcher Allen, the hospital I was seeing for my pain. It is a requirement that when you are on the sort of meds I was, it is important to have good mental health whatever that is.
The doctor I was assigned to was a female named Cheryl.
Cheryl was a lesbian. I didn’t need to be told, but she said so right up front. And as it usually happens, the doctor started telling me about HER life. She had just broken up with her lover. Why I needed to know that is beyond me, but I let her go on and eventually we got to me. The reason I was paying her. Then Mel was brought in. Mel doted on me, as she is wont to do in front of others.
At the end of our first visit, she hugged me and told me how lucky Mel and I were to have each other. She said that she could tell by our interaction that we were a solid couple. She even said that we could be an example to others. Sounds a bit much, but a lot of people felt that way. If Mel and I had issues, we never brought them out in public and we made a commitment to each other that we would never betray each other in such a callous way as to make any spats we had, which were few and far between, the business of others.
I saw Cheryl once a month and we got on famously. I really did not see the need to see her, but it was the requirement of the hospital. In order for me to get my medications, I needed to be seen.
Mel was having emotional problems, with the instant loss of both her parents and then her sister’s callous betrayal, it is no wonder. Try as I may there was nothing I could do for her. So I suggested she start seeing Cheryl alone in place of my appointment.. I was certain Cheryl wouldn’t mind and my insurance covered it, No one but the three of us would know that Mel was being treated instead of I. No one until now that is. And as I hoped, Cheryl didn’t mind at all. At all.
Beginning of Book
Yes, this is absolutely positively true. If you lived this wouldn't you write about it? Some of the names of characters in this blog are fictitious. This is an account of actual events. Some of the events have been compiled together for the flow of the story. Even when I read my own work, I wonder how it could be so. But if you study your own life and compartmentalize it into less than 200 pages, you would be surprised how interesting it really is!
TRUTH HAS WITNESSES (Dianne Lindsey) This material is the copyright Dianne Schuch Lindsey and cannot be duplicated in any fashion without the express permission of the Author. All rights reserved ©