When I entered ward 400 Gabriela was excited to be leaving and ready for the work ahead starting with Bridges to Recovery.
Gabriela had been kept busy all day with discharge paperwork and her good byes. She greeted me with a smile and a hug. She was showered, dressed, and ready to go.
“I’ve already finished my paperwork,” she boasted, “I’m ready!”
I hugged her back and smiled timidly, “You’re not going to Bridges.”
“What? Why? What happened?” Understandably Gabriela’s mood changed instantly.
I started to explain, “They called while I was in the waiting area just minutes ago and told me that I had to bring a check for $20,000 when we arrive. There’s just no way I can get that in less than two and a half hours.”
The look on her face was frightened and angry. We had both expected her to go directly into the residential program at Bridges. We were hopeful that after she completed her month there she could then participate as an outpatient at Tranquility while she waited for an opening in their inpatient program.
“Well, you really fucked things up this time!” she growled at me, “I’ll just fucking kill myself! I’m not ready!”
I knew there wasn’t anything I could say to console her so I didn’t even try.
Everyone on the ward was wishing her well patients and staff alike. I had told Violet what had happened and that Gabriela was not going to Bridges after all.
Violet went to Gabriela and took her aside she told her that it wasn’t the place that was going to fix her that Gabriela needed to fix herself and that she had the strength and intelligence to do it … “Just look forward and work hard. Don’t get down. Look at the love that you are surrounded by and keep heading forward. There is light forward. You are not like the others here you are good and strong and you have so much to offer. Now go get it and if you feel down then you call me.”
She gave Gabriela and I her cell number, “I want to see you through the rest of your life. I want you to be in my life. We will be like family.” She hugged Gabriela then turned and hugged me. Gabriela listened to every word Violet said without responding, she knew Violet was right it would be ok but she was frightened. Violet walked us to the waiting area where she gave Gabriela a last hug.
Gabriela and I walked in silence from the hospital to the car, we expected that she would be going to Bridges today but that had fallen apart. Now we were heading home even though that was the last place she should have been headed.