Before I get started, this is the story of my daughter, it is meant to be read in order, as if reading a book. I have a blog outside of this forum at http://www.polratings.com/shufani/ this is the beginning.
01: The Eye of the Storm
We were in the eye of the storm. It was still, silent, even peaceful for the first time in three days.
It was almost four in the morning, Gabriela hadn't slept more than three hours in the last 72, and consequently neither had I.
Now she stood in the entry way, just her silhouette lit, she was in the same jeans and tee she had put on three days earlier, bear-footed, her beautiful long brown hair uncombed. This was my only child; I sat silently watching her, knowing I had no idea how to help.
My eyes were like sand paper, they burned like hell when I closed them for a moment to rest. My roommate, Susan walked behind her, speaking softly as though Gabriela were listening.
“ You've done everything you can. You have to not help her, it has to get worse, or they won’t take her” Susan said as she walked up the stairs to set the house alarm, lock her bedroom door, and try to get a couple hours sleep.
I could feel my head nod in agreement. I did know she was right, I just didn't know if I would be able to do it. Not help my daughter? I had been the only one helping her for the last 10 years. This was the test … did I love my daughter enough to watch her completely unravel?
I cried silently as I watched her from behind still standing motionless. I examined her from top to bottom and noticed that she was unaware that she had started her period; blood was saturating her jeans like a spilled glass of wine on a table cloth.
She dropped her head into her hands, in such deep heaves, she cried from her center.
Her cry was hopeless. Not that sudden shocked high pitched cry from pain, or the slow build up from the of loss of a boyfriend …This was a loss of hope, a fearful cry that I had never heard from her before.
I went to her as she turned and held her and I softly asked if she would go with me to the hospital but she just repeated that she loved me, that she loved me very much.
“Let’s go to the hospital” I asked over and over. She cried, hugged and professed her love to me.
The combined smell of blood, unwashed hair and body, and her breath was almost overwhelming … I held her and stroked her hair repeating “Let’s go to the hospital, let me help you.”
Finally she agreed, crying softly into my shoulder. I moved quickly to get a long dress and clean underwear with a napkin, slipped her out of her clothes and into the new, we were ready to go.
I reached for the front door, one arm cradling her, gently guiding her toward the car. It was starting. Oh God, just let me get her to the car, I have to get her to the car …
She turned quickly, eyes wide, terrified, “Can we go to a church? I need to go to a church!”
“There is a chapel at the hospital” I assured her.
“Oh,” she stared up to the sky “No, it has to be a church!”
I was willing to agree to anything as I put her into the car and fastened her seat-belt….”Yes we can stop on the way.”
It was a thirty minute drive to the hospital, even with no traffic. Gabriela was obviously very involved in something of her own, but oblivious to everything around her. She sat comfortably next to me; smiling occasionally as though she were reassuring me that everything would be just fine.
She answered her cell phone; I glanced over knowing it hadn't rung. There was no one on the other side of her budding conversation. What started with a simple chat about exorcism and the need for a church and holy water, quickly snowballed into a rapid fire exchange with 4 individuals, each vying for her attention and responses … she was being instructed on which church, what faith, location of the church where the exorcism was being held, what time to be there.
Intruding in that conversation she had angry words with a woman that wanted to stop the exorcism. Gabriela would tell her, ‘Karen, Karen is that you? Just STOP, leave us alone!’ Then the third person, Mark, she would reassure ‘Yes, I love you too!’
She called them all by name — they were all real people who had at some point entered her life. Lastly there was the young dead boy who she had extensively researched, he was one year behind her in high school; she knew his older brother.
Gabriela had spent weeks prior to this evening building a story of a very involved relationship she had with this boy that died of a drug overdose. She had actually never met him, but was now completely convinced that she and only she could have stopped his sad drug abuse and subsequent death — they were ‘soul mates’ she would tell me. He was now the green slime that was attached to her body and trying to have sex with her … he was the reason she needed the exorcism, the reason for the church and the holy water.
I checked on her out of the corner of my eye as I drove, she was self-contained.
The conversation was non-stop with all four and there were only a few moments that she checked in with me to make sure I was correctly focused on getting to the holy water, advising me on the church. As long as she stayed involved in these conversations, I knew I would be able to get her to the hospital with no more disruptions.
I listened to her conversations and at one point I was thinking “Wow! This is my life?” This is the way some crazy homeless people act! My daughter could be standing on a street corner having her conversations with nobody, and she would fit right in.
It was a startling thought: My beautiful, articulate 22 year old daughter was acting like a crazy homeless person!
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