My Valentine

Blog 2305 – 02.14.2022

My Valentine

We cannot as hard as we may try, think for others even when they are not doing such a great job thinking for themselves, even when we think we know and love them the best. The ninth of this month had they both lived would have been my parents’ seventy-second wedding anniversary. My dad preceded my mother in death by three years and about three weeks.

Mom who had always tended to be less than optimistic, more than even a cup half-empty person, a somebody stole my cup person, went to even darker places in her mind after dad passed. Her three plus year spiral into an ever deeper and darker hole ended tragically with her taking her own life. Had dad been there maybe he could have stepped up and forced her to get professional help. Maybe not.

As I said we cannot force others to think differently even when we are sure their thoughts are self-destructive and we want desperately to save them. I wish I could have saved my mother. I was raised in a culture like most of you where I was taught to believe a Savior came to save us and always would, whether you are taking about Jesus, Superman, Superwoman, of some religious, scientific, medical, political, or business figure that claims to be the way, the truth, and the life, often life experience reveals those super heroes are more mythical than real when we need them the most. Her life long faith in Jesus did not prevent my mother from killing herself when the pain of her depression became too great too bear. No one not even her sons whom she loved tenaciously were enough to hold on to and so she slipped further and further away.

When I attended Bible College forty-nine years ago I was required to take two semesters of psychology. With that scant amount of formal education on the subject I do not claim any real expertise, but would like to share a story one of those psych professors told in class.

It was purported to be a true account of the first recorded person to ever come back from a Catatonic (or vegetative) state. A Catatonic state is when a person has had such a complete mental break from reality that they have closed themselves off completely from outside stimuli and are no longer communicative or even able to feed themselves. The young man the story is about was confined to a mental health facility where he was cared for and kept alive with little hope he would ever “come back.” But after a few years he was back, it took him several more months to convince the psychiatrists that he was well enough to be discharged so he used that time to observe the patients afflicted as he had been and he came to some conclusions. When asked what he remembered of his years in that Catatonic state and how he was able to come back from it he told his doctors that he believed the root of how people get into such a terrible state is that they become so all consumed with the voices in their head and so completely focused on one question “Am I of any value?” that they shut everyone and everything else out, completely shutting down to contemplate that one all-important question. He went on to say that he believed the reason that so few ever come out of that vegetative states is that they finally conclude that the answer to the question to be a resounding, “No, I am nor worth anything.”

Sadly we have all heard voices in our lifetimes and sometimes even sadder our very own voice saying, “You are worthless.” The young man said in all those shouting voices in his head there was a still small voice singing a chorus that he had learned as a little boy and he attributed his decision to finally come to a positive answer to the question to believing the words of that little song. It was: “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.”

I was attending a Christian Bible College so the professor and the school were promoting the idea that Jesus, or Christ is always the answer to every question in life. I am no longer sure and have not been for quite a few years that that is the case. But as the song in the nineteen sixties movie, “Alfie” says so well, “I believe in something even non-believers can’t believe in. I believe in love, Alfie.”

My beloved wife has been in the hospital, against her will, for several days now and the doctors are still trying to find a physiological cause for her break from reality, she refuses to eat or drink anything or to even let the nurses or family and loved ones including me be in the room with her for more than a few minutes. She is only allowed one visitor per day and I let her sister be that one visitor yesterday. I knew it would devastated her, but I also knew she loved my wife, her sister, and wanted desperately to see her, hoping that she could get through to her. My wife’s youngest brother is driving all the way from South Carolina, her birth state, to Texas our long time home, hoping like I did and her sister did that he can somehow get through to her. We, those that love her so, are still hoping the doctors will yet find in some lab work that her neurologist has scheduled for her today, some physical cause for her condition. That would be the easiest quickest “fix” but that may not be the case. After the results of today’s labs, depending upon whether they can yet find a physiological cause for her disassociated and confused behavior she will be evaluated by a Psychiatrist and a determination will be made by a doctor whether she is capable of making medical decisions any longer for herself. In our wills we gave one another “power of attorney” to make decisions for us if we were ever certified unable to do that for ourselves regarding medical treatment. I may have to step up and do that soon and she is not going to like it any more than she did my son and I forcing her to go to the hospital Thursday evening last.

My wife has, as long as I have known her, been a very private person, not wanting her business shared with anyone. I am the opposite and think “secrets” are all most always the cause of problems or at least contributing factors to our most serious problems. I can if asked keep a secret, but prefer not to. She would even in her best mind not be happy about my sharing this with you. So why am I, for one reason only, I would like the agreement of as many minds as possible that I am given the best reasoning ability to act on my wife’s behalf, and that the doctors and nurses too will be given the best insights into her care, but even more that my wife will listen to that still small voice inside her above all the harsh shouting angry ones and believe that she is loved and of infinite value. We all are, and she nonetheless. This is perhaps not the happiest Valentine’s Day for me or my Valentine but I believe that love always finds a way through even the most difficult of days and darkest nights.

Your friend and fellow traveler.

David White

No Matter What

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