Sunday, January 24, 2010
Talking to the spirits again to prepare for departure
I seem to be taking lessons now on a regular basis on how to adjust to the hereafter when I go. I have no doubt there is one. My Grandmother King who I am writing about now for my contribution to a book about Boulder women for the festival gave me one of the strongest testimonies there is a hereafter I have ever received, this was in a dream following my incarceration and almost fatal illness in a psych ward at 20. Incarceration was not of course meant to threaten my life but it did because I already had had manifestations of chronic fatigue which results in extreme weakness and constant fatigue when it surfaces. The last thing that should have been my course of treatment when I started to fall ill with it was electric shock. But I happened to be in a mental ward where serious physical illnesses do not normally surface, except when I went in my room mate was terminally ill with cancer. She had requested she be transferred to the mental ward because she said she needed to talk about her impending death to someone. I am not sure she received any satisfaction, but she was in terrible pain. The second night I was there she died in our room, but not before she told me with some satisfaction that she was the only one not receiving electric shock treatment because she was too sick.
I must have seen my one way out. I was not sure I would survive electric shock therapy I was so weak by then then, but if I died before hand I might be able to come back, and so I accepted my fate and began to die. I remember a voice from within guiding me through it.
I really did not discuss this event with my family when I got out. They were already frightened enough. And were having a difficult enough time understanding what had happened. I did not understand the illness myself, nor that it could be life threatening until I had a couple of more bad bouts with it. In the mental ward, it was suggested that I manifested a form of an extreme mental disorder called catatonic seizure To this day I don't know if I caught the virus as a child which has now been discovered to cause chronic fatigue symptoms in some cases. I have not been tested, but I did have a mysterious virus when I was 10, during the school year, that no one else got, and I attributed the symptoms of what I thought might be leukemia the following summer to this mystery virus. I thought it was serious and might kill me.
My Grandmother had died when I was 14, but I knew she was very worried about the stress my father's suicidal drinking was having on the family. She had still been alive when I probably manifested chronic fatigue at the age of 12 when my father nearly died from drinking a bottle of rubbing alcohol. My symptoms were serious enough that my aunts were consulted and it was decided I must be removed from my home the very next year, instead of waiting until I went away to high school. My aunt Nethella intervened with the teachers and they consented to give all three of us in my grade a double promotion since we had all done well in school.
I was certainly able to do the work of students ahead of me, but socially I was always behind.
My beloved grandmother died the second year I lived to my aunts, many miles from home, and it was decided I needed to stay in school rather than traveling across the state of Utah to attend her funeral. My aunt, who was her daughter, went, but she stayed two weeks before she returned to resume teaching school. I remember feeling so sad because I could not say a last goodbye at her graveside.
Years later, I was having a nightmarish time when I came home from the hospital dealing with the perception among many that I had lost my mind while attending the University and would probably never recover it. They did not see me as having a tough time physically because mental illness was not considered life threatening. I would get a little better and then some stressful thing would occur and I would have a set back. My future looked extremely bleak because I did not see how I would be able to hold a job let alone have a career in anything.
One night I had this vivid dream. My Grandmother King I thought came to visit me and she said, "You know after I came here I had to spend several years in a place that is similar to a mental hospital. I just got out not long ago." I was very surprised and said, "Why would you have to go into a mental hospital when you were good enough to go to heaven?" She said simply, "Because I did not understand why all these tragedies happened to my sons."
I understood perfectly when she said that. She had lost her youngest son Max at the age of 21 from a fall from a horse in a rodeo. He had been raised on horses. It had been conceded he had been too drunk even to reach out his hand to break his fall and keep his head from hitting a stone. Her oldest son Glen was found at the age of 49 under circumstances that suggested suicide after his wife left him because of his violence when drinking and other unacceptable behaviors. Her son Reed had joined her in death three years later after he contacted TB in the mental hospital at the age of 45 where he had been kept because of his diagnosis of the dreaded dementia praecox, probably advanced schizophrenia in our time. My own father had escaped death too many times to count from his own suicidal drinking.
How indeed could she have been cursed with so many serious problems among her sons? I attributed my own emotional and physical crippling to my father's emotional problems as well.
I knew then that my courageous grandmother had gone on in another world to try to understand problems too serious for her to grasp in this one. She had not given up. Life did go on, I thought, with a reawakening of hope. I did not see much chance of my father receiving adequate help with his problems in this world, but perhaps he, too, could go to a mental hospital and be helped in some other realm.
My Grandmother had reached across an unfathomable distance to give me inspiration to live, even if crippled.
I was not the only child in the family to be affected. I believe my sister LaRae's death at the age of 51 had something to do with the stress we all lived in for so many years. I was worried about its effects on her even when she was a small child. She was plagued by nightly nightmares. Every single night we would have to wake her up from crying and talking what sounded like pitiful gibberish in her sleep and try to soothe her. I remember thinking if a child of mine was doing this I would take her to a psychiatrist. I thought my sister was super sensitive, and unlike me, she did not escape from this environment at the age of 13 as I did. She stayed there until she was 18.
She is the one who comes now to give me lessons. She says as when the quake occurred in Haiti that we never know the hour of our departure, so we should prepare for it so as not to be taken by surprise.
Last night for the first time in years I was able to speak to my Grandmother King. I am a playwright. Receiving such dialogues from spirits has been a preoccupation for years. I filled many journals with dialogues with the spirits. This was how I survived my crippling. I knew I could hardly have any kind of success at all, because success comes with stress, and stress would always surface the symptoms. If I wanted to live I had to live a life as stress free as possible. I could not even act on the stage because that was too stressful. When I first came home from the hospital I would have a too stress filled day and would start to die in my sleep. A voice would shout in my ear, wake up, wake up, you are dying! I would come to and try to think what the stress had been so I could relieve it as quickly as possible. The nearest I can come to explaining it was that stress would cause my damaged nervous system to spasm and I would start going numb. In the mental hospital this numbness deepened until I quit breathing. In another episode the next morning, the numbness advanced until I could only feel my bones and teeth. It was hard not to think I was dying when that happened. Only a rapid relieving of whatever stress was causing the reaction could stop it.
It was very difficult to find enough people to talk to in such a limited existence, hence the dialogues with the spirits.
There continued to be a lot of stress in my environment. You simply cannot change your environment enough especially when you are crippled to escape stress. So I had to learn how to deal with it. How to relieve it. Life was still filled with ups and downs and some illnesses I was unable to prevent.
But how happy I am I was able to have children and to stay alive to be with them to this age. I do think that learning to watch stress levels actually made me stronger in my old age than others in the family who had taken their physical strength for granted and taxed themselves beyond their strength. Everybody has to learn what their own limitations are when they begin to manifest weaknesses.
Last night my Grandmother took me through the family members who are there with her to say how they are doing. A beloved grandson of her youth has just joined her at the age of 79. She had taken care of him and his older brother a great deal as they were her first grandchildren. This grandson had been a Mormon Bishop for many years and when he saw that he had landed with one of his cousins who had rejected the church, he said why was he not in Mormon heaven, but with the skeptics? It was hard to explain to him that the separation of family through their church affiliation may have been one of the problems creating mental illness in the rebelling members.
I knew my Grandmother and my sister LaRae both were up to the job of discussing this with him, as my sister had rebelled against her church membership as fiercely as anyone I have ever seen. She demanded that she be excommunicated, and now here was one of her most devout Mormon cousins to welcome into heaven.
LaRae was best friends with Max, her cousin closest to her age who was Uncle Reed's youngest living daughters. Max became such a rebel that she could not hear the words church and God without breaking into a rant. Marion, her only other surviving sister became as devoted to the Mormon Church as Homer, the Mormon Bishop.
The battle between the two sisters became legendary as though one were the black sheep and the other the white. They could hardly visit. They could hardly be friends, because neither would give an inch, but I happened to know that Max the youngest had been severely abused by her alcoholic stepfather, probably the beginning of an intense resentment and rebellion against her mother's and older sister's religious beliefs.
Yet, as my Grandmother King said, both of her granddaughters must be loved and their needs met. I know she loved Max and Marion equally, as she loved all her grandchildren and children, religious or not. She had a deep mother's love for every child and grandchild. I always knew my Grandmother King would love me if no one else did.
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