It was after my brother Bob’s suicide that I received the diagnosis of being Bipolar. Prior to that, I had always chalked things up to me being a drunk. Today, I understand those where symptoms and parts of my disorder. Bob’s suicide is the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with. I lost the only person in my adult years that could understand me. I lost my best friend. Today, I wonder if Bob had this disorder as well. Much of the studies that have been have done on bipolar show that it is genetic, much like alcoholism. Oh, goodie I had two gifts to unwrap.
I immediately went into mania the moment I learned of Bob’s funeral.
Stars were flying across country from LA for a funeral that was never to take place. I traveled across country, driving home from Seattle creating a persona that was not me. I imagined guards were with me to protect me. My bodyguards. They would not let anything happen to me. They protected me from real life.
People called and called as I rode from state to state. I cried and cried. I don’t remember being able to process the right here and now. I didn’t know what to do. When I got home it got much worse. I continued to create my own world. I created a memorial of my own.
I bought a white flower arrangement and placed them in the living room. Playing all of the CDs I had taken from Bob’s house. I felt abandoned from my sister and father. They were not the side of the family that “got” Greg. My father was in total denial of Bob’s suicide. He wasn’t even around for the first holidays without Bob. He boarded a boat and sailed away from the pain. My sister defended all that Dad did. They all returned to their normal lives. I could not imagine returning to anything routine or normal. I needed someone to give me a hug and tell me it was going to be all right. A lot of friends gathered around me and tried to comfort me. Suicide is taboo; people don’t know what to say about it.
I thought at any moment people were going to arrive and tell me what “all” of this meant. I believed there was a bigger picture to ALL of it, to all of my life.
People were watching me. They knew where I was going. They were watching what I was wearing. The slightest interruption could throw me totally off balance. I wore strange, loud clothing, things that got me noticed. Totaled two cars, which left me with no alternative but to buy a convertible. That brought me more attention. Driving around in the month of December with the top down and a big fur hat on my head. More attention.
None of it brought me that hug. What it did bring me was escape from the pain. Thank God I saw Bob’s body or at times I know I would have doubted if Bob was even dead.
Thoughts like a train
journey thru my brain
words flashing before the window of eyes
it can be so surprising
without even realizing
they tumble down from my pen
I'm not sure the words will ever end
they take me to so many places
some journeys filled with smiles and others with grief
moving forward toward the sun I'm filled with new belief
thoughts glide like a train again
bringing me to you and then
at the station
new words wait
like a vacation
so warm so inviting
unexpected and exciting
a visit that seems unreal
I've seen so many moments in my mind already appear
speeding fast without regret
sometimes I quickly forget
of days gone by I never did expect
for we never know when the train may derail
a destination unknown
but new lessons to be shown
thoughts move like a train it's true
shiny bright and new by you
passenger or stranger
it's up to you to be the rearranger
of past and of tomorrow
embracing possibility and sibling sorrow.