It’s Too Late – She’s Come Undone

hI could say I didn’t see it coming.  Except that I did.  I worried and fretted and tried to talk to other family members about my fears.  I saw signs, and I especially tried to warn my mother.  She didn’t even have her name on their joint checking account.  What would she do if anything happened?

No one listened so I prayed.  I prayed every morning for six months straight. Please Lord, don’t let that horrible thing happen.

I had been attending the little white church for three years, and the sense of family and my relationship with God were wonderful additions to a life shaped by fear and sadness.   I had finally left Dr. Teemis and began seeing a young masters level student counselor doing his internship.  He continued to probe into all the dark places, the hurts that weren’t healed yet, the wounds that were still fresh.   I still didn’t understand my illness and hadn’t made a lot of progress.

My mother invited us over for dinner a few days after Thanksgiving.  My dad loved chocolate cream pie, so I decided to surprise him and bring one with me.  I was baking the crust when the phone rang.

“Linda, you need to come over here!”  I heard panic in my mother’s voice and got her to calm down long enough to tell me what happened.  My dad had put his shoes on and told her he was going to the garage.  When he didn’t return she went to see what he was up to.  She peeked in and saw him lying on the cement; she ran back into the apartment and called the paramedics, then me.

My chest felt hollow, and once again I found myself holding on to the dashboard of the car as we rushed over to the apartment.  My mind filled with memories of another emergency three years earlier, in August of 1975, when my brother committed suicide.  I tried to will the thoughts away, but they seemed to force the breath from my lungs.

We pulled up to the curb outside my parent’s apartment and I noticed a small crowd gathered across the street.  A paramedic was closing the back doors of the van and I saw there was no one on the gurney.  I looked over at the garage, hoping that my dad was chatting with a police officer nearby.  The garage door was partially closed, and my heart lurched as I turned away.  I went into the apartment and stood in the center of the living room, staring at my mom.  We didn’t speak.  There was a knock at the door.

A young police officer stood with a clipboard in his hand.  “I need to ask you some questions,” he said quietly.  “Was your father right-handed or left-handed?”

“Right-handed,” I answered.  What is he getting at?  I wasn’t about to ask any questions.  Maybe Dad will come walking in the door and we can all just go home and pretend this never happened.

“How old was your father?” he continued.

How old was he?  Was?  “Fifty-one.”  I am a robot.  My mind has become separated from my body.  I’m on another plane.  I may not be able to get back this time. 

It’s too late. She’s gone too far. She’s lost the sun. She’s come undone

~The Guess Who

Once the questions were over and the front door shut against the world, I walked past my mother sitting silently on the couch and went into the bathroom.  I shut the door and locked it.  And then I did what I thought any self-respecting believer in Christ who has any faith at all should do.  I stared in the mirror and whispered a prayer.  “Thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus, praise you, Jesus.”  But deep in the brain that had detached from the body, another phrase was repeating itself over and over again.  You’ve destroyed me, God.  I’m done.

20 comments on “It’s Too Late – She’s Come Undone

  1. I continue to be amazed at God’s overwhelming love manifesting in our lives to enable us to endure the unthinkable and come out of it sane. I am so sorry this happened Linda.

  2. Thanks, Dixie. After reading your book, “Climbing Out of the Box,” I feel the same way.

  3. I continued to be amazed at God’s saving grace in your life. This chapter is brillant and leaves me wanting to know more about the depth of your life. I was actually singing the song by the Guess Who…she’s come undone…and even though you didn’t know what you were headed for, praise be to God that He knew.

  4. It must be therapeutic to SHARE what life ‘throws’ at you. Let me SHARE an aspect of my past experiences, the one’s that hurt, the one’s that leave pain: It can become like–looking in the rear-view-mirror of a car, all the time, because you don’t want anything to follow to closely. And that’s not bad until your gaze becomes so intent on the past, what’s is behind you already, you neglect looking forward and wind up in a ditch. LIFE can sometimes be like that. I’ve learned and practiced, “don’t curse it, don’t rehearse it but disperse it and reverse it.”– “…forgetting what lies behind aand straining forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13).

    • Hi Mel. You are so right – Being sixty-one years old gives me a chance to look at this from a GREAT distance. I have written about it before, and spoken about it, the pain has all been healed. Now it’s time for me to get my story out there to give others hope. So for me, it’s not therapeutic any longer…I just want others to know what God wants to do for the broken-hearted.

  5. Linda, God definetly has used your story to reach others. I have felt the same way during the tragedies in my life, where I have said to God ” I will praise you ” but then in the back of my mind, I was mad…Thankfully, God doesn’t hold our anger against us and understands our human feelings and emotions. I know the loss of family to horrible tragedies definetly changes us whether we want it to our not. Thankfully, God can use our “stories” to minister to others. Thanks for the great post.

  6. Sage Amthor on said:

    I havent any idea how or why i discovered this at This moment, right Now.. I would’ve cried even lf you werent speaking of my dad and grandpa… but you are.. and I am.. I love you Auntie

    • Hi Sage…I just connected this to my Twitter and FB accounts this morning. I should have warned you. I am continuing to write about this in order to give others hope…keep reading! Love you so. Auntie Linda

  7. Dear Linda,
    I am reading your website for the first time. I understand and appreciate your mission to share and encourage. I, too, have wallowed in the pit of depression, but cannot speak of such tragedy as you have experienced. Recently, the loss of four loved ones over the course of three years, and witnessing my father-in-law desinigrate due to Alzheimer’s leaves me dull. Depression is complicated, as is recovery. Thanks for helping others to understand. I hope to do the same as I heal. Bless you abundantly.

    P.S. I like your use of song lyrics. i often remember songs when I write or meditate.

    • Hi Michael. Thank you so much for stopping by. There is no quick fix for these times. One thing I do when I start to notice depression that has no apparent cause is to look at how I’m thinking. I go back to Phil. 4, often, and I start to notice the things I am grateful for. Judging by your blog, you probably do the same. I’ll be praying for you, Michael. Thank you so much!

  8. I started a “Blessings” list a few weeks ago and filled several pages rather quickly. I add to it several times a week. You are so right about our thinking affecting our perspective, especially when it becomes stinkin’ thinkin’. I always covet the prayers of others, so thank you. I willl return the gesture with prayers for you. I will post a blog today which reflects the dynamic of perceptions and searching. I hope it resonates with you. Merry Christmas, Linda.

  9. Thank you Michael! Merry Christmas to you too. ;o)

  10. Such a true example of what we know in our hearts, but our mind goes somewhere else! So sorry for your losses, your love runs so deep (shows in your writings!)

  11. Oh my goodness, Linda. You write so vividly that it’s as if I was there. Speaking of your Dad in the past tense, the chocolate cream pie, the people across the street… raw and powerful. I am so glad that you can share this part of your life; it brings Him glory in a big way.

    • Thank you Helen. Coming from you I take this as a very high compliment. I love your writing as well, and as I said before…I feel as if I am sitting across the table with you, having a cup of tea!

  12. Linda, This is so very powerful. I can feel your emotions. I’m so glad that God is our rock. I too shared this on twitter. I hope you bless a lot of people. blessings, Amy

    • Thank you Amy! It really blesses me to know that my story touches others. There’s so much joy in the future and I almost cannot wait to get to that part of the story!

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