After the meeting with Dr. Wilson, Gabriela and I were sitting just outside the day room door. This was the fourth day I’d spent watching my daughter. She still had not had anything to drink, hadn’t eaten, slept, bathed, sat down, or taken her medication and she rarely spoke. All of this was taking it’s toll on both of us.
I remember how cloudy those first days of the hold felt even under the bright fluorescent lights of the ward and how there seemed to be a feeling of “gray.”
Because Gabriela and I had spent all of our visits in the hallway of Ward 400 I hadn’t met any of her ward mates other than seeing a father and his son who, like us, spent their visiting hours in the hallway.
The father had been there all of the day before and he was back again today. His son appeared to be a few years older than Gabriela and it was pretty clear that they had a relationship much like Gabriela’s and mine.
Gabriela and I were seated (her with a pillow under her feet) when up walked the father and son heading to the day room. I nodded a greeting to the father as they approached. In a casual surfer dude tone the son said “She’ll be okay, I was like that. She’s in there.” His dad nodded in agreement.
It may sound crazy but I needed to hear something positive and this was it. This boy had been where Gabriela was and his father confirmed it. The boy was by no means fully recovered but right now he was doing a whole lot better than Gabriela. I don’t think that boy will ever know how much his comment meant to me but I had a feeling his dad knew.
I left that evening knowing “She’s in there”.
As had become my routine on the drive home I called Gabriela’s father to let him know how she was and to answer his questions and concerns.
Let me be clear, I do not like my daughter’s father but he is her father and I felt an obligation to keep him up-to-date.
On that call he said his most recent ex-wife, Claire,(I was wife number two of three) would like to visit Gabriela.
Claire was not a person I had ever developed a relationship with but I knew that Gabriela had known her since she was about eight years old and that she liked her.
Claire and I have some amazing similarities. There certainly are some similar physical attributes, for instance, we are both tall with short hair of about the same coloration and we have similar body structures and are almost the same age; in fact, people might think we were sisters.
Gabriela’s father, Cody, apparently thought it was going to take some convincing to get me to agree to Claire visiting Gabriela. He was, as usual, wrong. I just asked him to text me her phone number and said that I would call.
By this time Claire and Cody had been divorced for not quite a year and this was the first time in years that I had spoken with her. I hadn’t much liked her while they were married and I knew that those feelings were mutual.
Oddly, she and Cody had come to stay at our house when Gabriela and I had lived in Washington before she married Cody. We had gotten along quite well and actually enjoyed ourselves to the point that it had annoyed Cody.
But during the almost ten years that they had been married, Claire and I had had no use for each other. I could never figure out what it was that I had done to make her dislike me so much but I had decided that it wasn’t worth my worrying about.
Now Claire wanted to see my daughter and I knew she would be someone that Gabriela would like to see. Claire’s brother has a mental illness and she is bipolar so I knew her visit would be good for my daughter and she might be able to bring some in-site and understanding to what was going on.
I called her. It’s amazing to see the changes in how people get along when there is adversity. In this case both Claire and I spoke with no animosity; we were both just dealing with something really important to both of us.
I briefly covered what had happened in the last year to bring her up to speed and asked if she would like to come with me one night during the week to visit with Gabriela. We decided on the next Thursday. This was a small thing that helped me feel less isolated.
But then, on Tuesday, I received a text from Claire canceling. She was unemployed and had decided she couldn’t afford the costs associated with the trip to see Gabriela. I offered to meet her closer to her home and drive her and I offered to treat her to dinner on the way home.
There were so many times before all of these events happened that Gabriela wanted to just call Claire and talk but she never had. Gabriela really missed seeing Claire.
I was so happy when Claire accepted not because I couldn’t wait to spend an evening with my ex-husbands most recent ex-wife but because I knew Gabriela really wanted to see Claire and I needed someone to talk to.