Showing posts from May, 2018
July 4, 1994 Independence Day
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Thomas Jefferson  -  Declaration of Independence
Another holiday with nothing to celebrate. Since Thanksgiving every holiday has been empty of all meaning, just another day on the calendar. Although a few minutes ago I did have a brief moment of happiness as I fed the ducks and geese a couple of loaves of bread. It has always amazed me how such a simple act can bring such abundant joy - it warms my heart and allows me a fleeting escape from my mental madness.
Our most wretched wounds, our most stinging scars and our deepest drudgeries are never visible, for they are hidden in our hearts. What is often visible in our eyes and on our faces is the pain we suffer. As John Lennon wrote, "The one thing you can't hide is when you're…
June 30, 1994

"It isn't hard to do the right thing. What is hard is to know what the right thing to do is."
                                                        Father Buckley  - At This Morning's Mass

It is the last day of June. God, how fast days become weeks and then turn into months. I have been out of the hospital for just over a month and little has changed. I stopped by Chatham Storage this morning and nothing has been to my area since Memorial Day Weekend - most of my possessions are still missing. Maggie has either thrown away the rest of my stuff or sold it and pocketed the money. I must now call my drunken, no good attorney and have him find out what's going on - where are all my belongings?

I don't think I'll ever come back to this church again, once I walk out of here within the next hour. For years I have been active in this church, attending daily Mass, being an usher on Sunday and being a member of the Men'c Club. Now, those who I t…
June 19, 1994
Father's Day

"More tears are shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers."
                                                    Saint Teresa of Avila

I love my dad, he a good man, a kind and gentle soul with a giving heart. In an interview a few days before he was murdered, John Lennon was asked how he would like to be remembered in the years to come? He replied, "I would like to be remembered as being a good father." My dad is a good father.

When I was frightened as a young boy, he would come into my bedroom and comfort me and relieve me of my fears. When my legs ached from growing pains, he would rub and massage them until the pain disappeared. I am too old for such help today, but if he could, I know he would help make my fears go away, help make my pain disappear. I know he worries about me. When I come home at night he smiles, happy to see me - and I see relief in his eyes and on his face - for he knows I'm safe for the night, …
June 16, 1994

"Some of our most precious and greatest gifts come to us badly packaged and poorly wrapped."
Linda B  -  Sandwich AA Meeting

A month ago today I was laying unconscious on the floor of a room I expected to die in - but I was rescued and saved. Since I was told that there is no medical reason why I am a lived, who rescued me? Who saved me? The reasons why I didn't die are unknown, thus I must consider divine intervention, a miracle from God.

I can accept the miraculous but I don't have to be grateful. What good is life without direction? What good is life without hope? What good is life when one is mired in misery? What good are questions without answers?

Am I better today than I was on that Monday morning? Am I glad I survived? A month ago my life had direction. I had a plan and a goal. I had hope, the hope of death.  I am worst today than I was then, closer to death than I was as I laid on the  motel floor as my breathing  and heart slowed with…
June 12, 1994

"Slip slidin' away, you know the nearer your destination the more you slip slidin' away - God only knows, God makes his plan, the information is unavailable to mortal man - slip slidin' away."
                                                                    Paul Simon  -  Slip Slidin' Away

Four weeks ago today I sat in this same pew and wrote what I thought was my last entry in this journal. It was to be my D-Day, the day I die - but it wasn't meant to be. Now, two weeks out of the hospital, I feel myself slip sliding away.

Mothers do know best. My mother didn't think I was ready to leave the hospital and she was right. I should have stayed not just for Memorial Day Weekend but for another week or two.

Mothers also seem to know everything. God gives them some extra sense that tells them when something is wrong with their sons or daughters. Last night my mother recognized that I was returning to the thoughts that led to my suicide atte…
June 8, 1994

"Everyone gets scared when they are over matched in the dark - it's not something to be ashamed of."
                                                                          Robert Parker

Fourteen years ago today, on a bright blue Sunday, I met Maggie at J.C. Hillary's on Boylston Street in Boston - directly across the street from the Prudential Center. It was an accidental meeting of two strangers waiting for love.  Was it fate? An act of God? A fortunate encounter that fooled us? Today we are strangers once once again, but my memories of that day are as clear as this afternoon's sky. If fate is kind, then in some future year this date will become just another day on the calendar.

It's odd how the past and its long forgotten memories suddenly come back to the mind for no reason at all. After my grandfather killed himself, I used to go into the woods where he died and sit on the stonewall there and think about him - as I listened to the birds an…
June 3, 1994

"Lord. help me! I need your help but don't know what help I need. Since death was not in Your plans, what plans do You have for me? Please help me and guide me."
                                                      My New Prayer

I have come to realize that I can no longer keep this journal on a daily basis. I have neither the desire, dedication nor determination that I once had - I just can't focus as I did in the past. When I decided to kill myself and started this journal, I had a defined goal and a strong sense of purpose - today I am lost. Although I have a willingness to get better and a need to maintain this journal, there is an emptiness within me that has left me clueless as to which direction I am heading - if I'm actually going anywhere at all. Now that I've failed in my suicide attempt, does my life have any importance or am I  to just drift aimlessly alone with neither goals nor purpose?

I've had two meetings this week with my new…
May 30, 1994
Memorial Day

"We cannot tear a single page from our life, but we can throw the whole book in the fire"
George Sand   -   Mauprat

It has been an exhausting weekend and one thing is certain, I never should have left the hospital. I am not ready for reality's responsibilities - its demands, obligations and expectations. I yearn for the hospital's locked ward for it was a safe and secure asylum with thick steel doors, that protected me and prevented reality from entering. It was a hidden and homey haven and I miss its confinement of comfort and calmness.

As I walked out of the hospital on Friday afternoon, I promised myself I would do whatever is necessary to get better - aut inveniam viam aut faciam, I shall either find a way or make one. But by the time I reached my father's car, I was having a panic attack, fear and anxiety swept through me as I realized I was now a prisoner, held within the gruesome grasp of relentless reality. I didn't know what …
May 27, 1994

"Know not if it's dark outside or light."
             Elton John/Bernie Taupin   -  Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters

I am beginning this entry at 6:30am. I am sitting in the small kitchen and dining room, drinking coffee with Millie and Rose - two of my favorite fellow patients. If I had but one wish for this moment, it would be to have a cigarette. Smoking isn't allowed here, not even on the patio. I'm on a nicotine patch but am craving a cigarette. I've been up since 4:30am and the night nurses were kind enough to allow me to take an early shower.

Today is Maggie's birthday. There will be no card, co candy, no flowers, no birthday greetings bottle of wine.

At 4:00pm I'll be discharged after twelve days in the hospital - the last six I remember, the first six a complete blank. I'm being discharged back into the real world where I have no job, no place to live, a half-ass plan of do's and don'ts and little money. And I'm stuck …
May 26, 1994

"Because something is wrongly reasoned doesn't make it false in one's mind."
                                                  Sue Chance   - Stronger Than Death

My doctors are concerned about me and have been sine I arrived here. What bothers them is not so much the fact that I attempted suicide but the meticulous plans and details that went into it. The fact that I stockpiled pills for over two years, went to a funeral home and a monument company and picked out a casket and a grave maker, plus filled out all the necessary paper work and made my funeral arrangements - are what disturbs my doctors most of all.

Thus, they are very concerned about what my plans are once I leave here tomorrow afternoon. For the past five days the one question that has been a constant thorn in my side is this - "What are your plans once you leave here?" Every single day I've been asked that question a dozen times by my doctors, nurses and social worker/case man…
May 25, 1994
Part 3

My final words to my grandfather and to Anne were the same, "I'll see you later." And their final words to me were basically the same - that they would see me soon. But once those words were spoken, I never saw either one again. Were their words a lie? A clever deception? I don't believe so. Their words were innocent remarks that offered a promise they were simply incapable of keeping - words that were probably forgotten as soon as they were spoken. But I still wonder why I never saw them again.

Only God knows what thoughts went through my grandfather's mind as he sat on that stonewall with a rope in his hands and looked into the woods. Only God knows what thoughts went through Anne's mind as she sat on the embankment with a gun in her hand - and watched the Hillsborough River as it flowed towards the Gulf of Mexico. From my experience I know there was no fear, they were calm and at peace. The weariness of their life's journey was fin…
May 25, 1994
Part 2

Eleven years later I was a junior at Saint Leo College, which is about twenty-five miles of Tampa, Florida. I was editor of the college newspaper and was back on campus to open up the paper's office and to cover freshman orientation. On my second day back I was in the administration building when the Dean of Student Affairs, Norm Kaye, waved me into his office. When I entered he said, "Tom, I'd like you to meet Anne Bennett. She's a new student, a transfer from Saint Petersburg Junior College.

Anne stood-up and held out her hand. Before me stood the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. I knew immediately that she was a woman of grace and charm. She had angelic looks, long, light brown hair, bright green eyes and a radiant smile - a smile that could melt M&M's in your hand.

Dean Kaye told me that Anne lost a filling and asked if I had time to give her a ride to the dentist. I answered that I had plenty of time - and in my mind I thought th…
May 25, 1994
Part 1

"We have all been in rooms we cannot die in, and they are places and sad."
                                                             James Dickey   -   Adultery

One of the odd aspects of this place is that they give you homework. Every afternoon Doctor Kerr leaves small blank notebooks on my bed along with a list of questions he wants answered. The notebooks are the same type of blue books that I had in college for essay exams. Today's assignment is to write everything I can about my grandfather and Anne Bennett. He left  me six notebooks but I am not using them. Instead I'm using my journal and when I finish I'll have a nurse Xerox a copy for Doctor Kerr.

During the course of my life, death has not been a stranger. I have lost many friends, relatives and co-workers. Some died suddenly, others after prolonged suffering, a few after a brief illness.  But no deaths have affected me or haunted me as much as the deaths of George Frawley and Ann…
May 24, 1994

"Good Riddance!"
                 Jonathan Yardley  - On The Death of Richard Nixon

This has been another long and exhausting day. During the morning I had lengthy sessions with my psychologist, Doctor Kerr, and my psychiatrist, Doctor Silbret. And at 3:00pm this afternoon there was an intensive meeting with Doctor Kerr and my mother and father.

I am going to be released on Friday but there are some strings attached. I was given the option of being discharged on Friday as long as I spend the long Memorial Day Weekend with my parents in Sandwich and go to a few AA meetings - or I could leave next Tuesday under my own accord with no strings. Under both options it was strongly suggested that I continue my therapy at the Cape Psych Center as an outpatient - Doctor Silbret would remain my psychiatrist but I would have a different psychologist, Doctor Daniels. So, come Friday I am gone!

Anyway, when I get out of here and when my mind clears, I am going to re-read a fe…
May 23, 1994

"This is not a hospital! It's an insane asylum."
                       Hot Lips - MASH, The Movie

Thirteen years ago today Maggie and I got married at Corpus Christi in downtown Sandwich. And now I'm divorced and in a mental hospital -something I did not imagine on that long ago Saturday in May.

Yes, here I am a prisoner - a prisoner in an insane asylum. My cell is Room 119 and I'm suicide watch - constantly being checked by nurses and aides. Never have I had so much attention.

I read once that one of life's most important lessons, that usually comes wrapped in disappointment, is that we must all discover, sooner or later, happily or unhappily, that our original certainties of life require radical revisions. And as to what will require radical revisions in my life, I haven't a clue. But I'm sure my doctors will provide me with a list that is long and thorough. I just hope the list comes with simple, easy to follow directions.

At my meeti…
May 22, 1994
Part 3

Just then there was a loud commotion outside the living room that seemed to becoming from the nurses' station. I walked into the hallway and saw two Barnstable policemen talking to the nurses and aides. I heard one of the nurse's say that one of the patients, Christine, had escaped. It seems that Christine had permission to sit out on the patio with her boyfriend, but when no was looking they pulled themselves over the six foot high fence that surrounded the outside area - and off they ran into the afternoon sunshine. God be with her and may she never return.

Although I had never spoken to Christine during my two days here, I was scared to death of her. Every time I saw her, whether in the hallway, dining room or community room, she would stare at me with eyes that were fierce and frightening. Eyes that screamed, "Someday I'm going to kill you."

Jesus, Mary and Joseph! I'm enclosed within a confined ward with doors that are electronically…
May 22, 1994 Part 2
At around 10:00am this morning a priest stopped by my room to say hello. After some small talk he asked me if I would like to receive communion or go to confession. I told him I would like to go to confession and then receive communion - which I did.
A short while after the priest left, there was a slight knock on my door and a woman walked in wearing one of those white doctor coats and dark blue scrubs. She introduced herself but I've already forgotten her name.
She told me she was a doctor and worked in the emergency room, and was on duty when I was brought in by the Chatham Fire and Rescue Squad. She said I should be very thankful that I'm alive - that when I arrived at the hospital at 1:15pm on Monday, May 16th, I was on death's doorstep, as close to death as anyone could possibly be. She then said that I was beyond hope and that all the emergency room staff could do for me was to put me on life the life support systems - as a gesture of doing thei…
Part 2  A Journey Back To Life

May 22, 1994 Part 1
"This is the story of my life. I always go in the wrong door first."                                         Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Jailbird
This is not going to look on my resume - not at all. I woke this Sunday morning locked within the walls and halls of the Cape Psych Center, the psychiatric unit of Cape Cod Hospital. My biggest fears have come true, I'm in a mental hospital - I've landed in the cuckoo's nest, a nut house. I am supposedly confined for my own safety and protection. No one trusts me! I'm on suicide watch and every fifteen minutes a nurse or aide checks on me. I am reminded of the Hotel California by the Eagles and the words, "You can check out anytime you want but you can never leave."
Strange thoughts pass through a troubled mind. I feel as though I have woken from a night of bad dreams, only to find myself living in a nightmare without end. I feel a gun against my temple, my finge…