Friday, November 14, 2008

The First 48 Hours (Planning)

---Tuesday, November 11th: Today has been a very long day. It started Veterans Day morning with another phone call from Deb. In her message she was talking about a Separation Agreement and some rumor about me wanting Linda to sign it during the meeting. I had no clue what she was talking about. To have an agreement, you first have to sit down with both parties and they have to talk and agree first. Also, a Separation Agreement is only good if signed in front of a Notary Public, and unless there was one in the mental ward, then… You see where I’m going with this. As I said it, didn’t make sense.

I didn’t even bother with responding because I was due to be there in a few hours anyway. I worked on a few things in the house, decorated the house for Thanksgiving and kept myself busy until it was time to go. I made it to the meeting with a couple minutes to spare and was escorted to another little room to wait for Deb and Linda. After a few tearful moments from Linda and a few minor outbursts, Deb and I came to an agreement on the plan of action. Linda had her plan, but most of it was discarded by Deb as being against her best interest and her safety.

The agreed plan involves some things I don’t like, but I don’t have to like everything. Linda would have two more visits with the kids; first was later tonight and the second was on Thursday. These visits would not include me because I provide too much stress to Linda. (Hey it’s what they said!) But to alleviate my concerns for third party supervision of Stella and Keri, the hospital would have a nurse stay in the room with them. Didn’t like it; it was workable, if for no other reason then to ensure Stella had a chance to see her Mom before she leaves.

Next, I had to provide the money for her trip to Kentucky, We also agreed for me to pack all of her clothes and well she has a list of things. Then I need to fit it all into the car and provide the keys on Friday. I agreed on all this because then I can arrange for her Protection Order to be served legally before she leaves. But the plan then falls on Linda to leave for Kentucky without her needing to stay a single night in this area. She wanted to get enough money for gas, a motel room, food, and smokes. I am quitting smoking myself, so just why would I pay for her habit? We have to work that issue later.

Part of the plan involves Deb making contact with Linda’s Uncle Bill or Aunt Barbara to insure that she has a supportive place to go and for her to make contact with and coordinate an appointment with a therapist in Kentucky. Once Linda arrives there she will have to get a job in order to supplement the income she will be getting from me.

I cannot afford to pay for two vehicle loans, the insurance, fuel, and her needs down there; the bills here, the loans, credit cards and other debt she’s created and still be able to fully support the kids here. So I will make her responsible for herself.

After the meeting, I returned to Karla’s house to have a talk with Stella. Up until now, Stella has known that her Mom needs a lot of help from the doctors and Mom had to stay where she could be safe and not bring her anger back to the house. I haven’t shared any of the major plans and log term solutions with her, because I wanted to make sure how things were going to happen myself first. Stella and I had talked a long time ago about Linda staying with her family down in Kentucky and she was visibly torn up then.

So, I wasn’t looking forward to this talk. I had to make sure she understood what was going to happen and why, but in a way that she would still feel secure about it. Besides, if I didn’t explain it correctly now, then I would have to trust Linda to do it during a visit that I wouldn’t be at. Not a chance of that happening!

We talked about why Mom was in the hospital again to insure she was clear on the topic. Then I asked her if she understood why her Mom wasn’t able to come home. She explained it to me pretty good and we talked about how it made her feel to have all of the arguments taking place at home and about how Mom’s anger had affected Keri and her. I asked her if she had seen me or heard me act agree towards her Mom and she said happily, “No,” I explained that it she was staying away because of that anger and to keep the home free of stress. I told her why Mom was so angry with me was because of the Protection Order I had to place on her. That went into a discussion of what a Protection Order was and why I did it. We talked a little about Linda’s need to physically hurt her self and the impact on Keri’s emotions while she was involved during the events that caused Mom to be put in the hospital. When I asked her if she understood the term suicide, her negative answer told me how far to take this line of discussion. She understood everything so far. I made sure by asking her to explain it back to me. She still wasn’t showing any stress or tears, so I continued on.

I explained that Mom and I love her very much and that nothing that has happened between us was her fault and there was nothing she could do to make things better, except to give her Mom the time she needs to get better. Next, I had to explain that her Mom couldn’t and shouldn’t have to stay in the hospital and that she needed somewhere else to go stay and get support. I told her then that Linda would be traveling to Kentucky to stay with Uncle Bill and Aunt Barbara while she was able to get the help she needs, Stella’s only concern was if she would be able see her Mom again. I basically told her that although I wasn’t sure how long it would be before Mom would be healthy enough to return home, there would be chances to visit her Mom in Kentucky or for her Mom to come up to visit.

I went on to explain the plan in detail; to include the chance for visiting her Mom two more times before she left. When I told her how the visit was going to be handled, she got very animated. “Why can’t you go in? Daddy, I want you to be there.” I replied, “Because while Mom is still angry with me, I am a stress for her and the Doctors didn’t want additional stress on Mom at this time, but Keri would be there with you and I will be waiting outside in the waiting area. If at any time, you feel you need a break, you only have to tell the nurse that will be you.” She did not like that either, but settled down for me to continue our talk. The talk went on for about 45 minutes and I answered all of her questions. Feeling a little better about her ability to handle the next few days, I was able to set some of my concerns aside. One of the tougher questions was “What if Mom wants a divorce?” I could only be honest; “Then there is nothing anyone can do to stop her.”

We had time after our talk for her to play with her friends and have dinner. We arrived at the Mental Health entrance at 7:15 p.m. Linda and the nurse met us at the door and asked Keri, who had stepped into the ward with Stella, “What are you doing here. Keri’s only answer was: “I’m here for Stella.” Linda said: “I don’t need the stress and you need to wait with your father.” Mind you this is the last two visits (or chances) to set things right with Keri. The nurse wasn’t allowing me in at all, because of the Doctor’s orders. I simply asked the nurse to return with Stella at 8 p.m., to which she agreed. Then I escorted Keri back out to the hall to wait.

Keri’s anger and hurt feelings were just about to out run her control. So I chatted with her about her boyfriend and other things of interest to her in order to redirect her attention. It worked for the most part. You could tell that Keri was getting anxious as I was to have Stella back out of there so we could go home. When she did she acted as though she was a little sad, but otherwise okay. I only asked Stella if she enjoyed her visit, and she nodded her head yes and said she only cried a little at first, when Keri or couldn’t come in. We enjoyed singing some songs all the way to Karla’s house. We arrived by 8:30 to pick up Alysa and Paige so they could spend the night with Stella.

After they managed to get to sleep, I started packing Linda’s list and prepare for her trip. This I kept doing until it was time to get the girls up for school.

---Wednesday, November 12th: Keri first woke up to her favorite and rarely gets to have; biscuits with sausage gravy. She enjoyed that little treat, because she never gets a hot breakfast at home unless she gets up early enough to fix it herself; usually it cereal or a small snack until she gets to school. Just as she left to catch the bus I woke up the other three girls. As they came down the stairs they were all looking at a spread of their favorites too. We had pancakes with homemade syrup, scrabbled eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy and apple juice. Those sleepy little girls were quickly waking up and enjoying their food, but I had to rush them a little because they were running out of time. Alysa and Paige had to return home to pick up their lunches, book bags, and give Karla a hug and kiss goodbye. I brushed their hair as they finished eating, and then I had them get dressed as I finished cleaning up. We made it to the bus stop with 10 minutes to spare. I took a 1 ½ hour nap after they left. It would have been longer except Karla called me just to let me know she had been ringing my door bell for the past couple minutes. She wanted me to join her for some errands that I had forgotten about. After that was finished it was back to packing up more of Linda’s stuff until the kids made it home.

Karla had a friend at her house by this time and was rather busy. Keri was helping Alysa with her homework. And she had a lot of it too. I had her knock out the hard stuff first and took all four of the girls to the library. Each of the girls picked out only 3 books each to read, but the whole process took about an hour. I had a few people snickering or shaking their heads as each of the girls lined up to check out the books. I think I saw a look that was close to sympathy from the Librarian. We left and rushed to my house for dinner. Keri and I continued to help Alysa with her homework while cooking. Quickly ate and returned to Karla’s. Karla wanted to spend a little time with her girls. Great idea, because it allowed me time to spend time with Stella and Keri before they had to go to bed. Stella and I shared a little time playing on the Playstation. Stella appears to be addicted to Spyro and she wanted me to help her. I got her to bed after her shower and spent a little time with Keri. As hectic as the past 43 hours have been and as tire as I was, I was feeling a little bit of peace and a sense that everything was going to work out. I found a few minutes for myself and prepared for the next day. I don’t think I remember my head hitting the pillow though.



ELLIE said...

bless your heart - sounds like you are getting things together and trying to keep things as normal as possible for your kids - you have incredible patience and you are doing everything right - keep the faith - all will end well!!!
remember tho to take care of you!!

Paula said...

You seem to know the right things to say to the're staying focused and positive for them and that's so important... for all of you...YOU included.

Missie said...

You certainly have your hands full! Keeping you and your family in my prayers.