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The phone call

Have you ever received a phone call that changed your life?

It could be good or bad.

Exciting or life changing.

This phone call was life altering.

A phone call you want to avoid though avoiding it does not change the situation.

When I left for college, my sister had already attempted suicide and had been in in-patient at Children's Hospital. She slowly was spiraling down a dark path but schizophrenia had not yet shown its face. Freshman year, when I would go home to visit, I would run into schoolmates. These friends would always ask me what was going on with her.

Have you heard....

I hear she's doing drugs....

Whats going on with her.....

I had no answers, I didn't know.

What WAS going on with her? She was changing.

It wasn't until sophomore year that I realized how much she was going to change.

I was in Montana for this change. I didn't see what was happening. My parents kept things from me in order to protect me, so when I got a phone call from my sister one night, I was knocked to the ground.

I remember the phone ringing.

A landline with caller id.

It was a call from my parents but it wasn't my parents.

It was my sister.

I don't know how to describe how she sounded, but she sounded like anyone but herself (something, a feeling I would feel for the rest of her life).

Something was different.

I don't remember the small talk at the beginning of the conversation, the only part I remember is her telling me that our mom could hear her thoughts.

It rang over and over in my mind.

I asked her what she was talking about.

I was so confused.

*Imagine for just one second that although we are not all perfect. Although life is not perfect, it is as "normal" (another word I will use often but they will always be in quotations because really, what is normal?) as it can be. It is filled with the usual dysfunction such as hating your job, being annoyed with your family, losing your credit card. You may be married, you may be single. You may be young, you may be old. You may be stressed but the stress is manageable. All very "normal" things. Now imagine someone telling you with vigorous sincerity and honesty that they think other people can hear their thoughts.

Sit with that thought for a second*

Never had she ever uttered such a bizarre and confusing sentence in her life.

I asked her a couple times to repeat what she said.

With much conviction she told me again.

I asked to talk to our mom.

This is where my memory is somewhat foggy because I know my mom acted like she didn't know what I was talking about and it was news to her, but was she doing that to protect me or was it the first time she had heard that, either way I was on the first flight home that weekend.

I got home and she wasn't there, she was gone.

She was at another in patient at a regular hospital.

My mom had to sit me down and talk about what was going on with her.

At that time she wasn't diagnosed with schizophrenia yet but she was showing signs of abnormal mental health.

My parents were in the eye of the storm.

Usually I feel that saying is meant to be about how calm it is in the eye of the storm but I mean quite the opposite.

They were in the eye of her storm watching her self destruction.

Tornado winds ripping and damaging everything in its path.

Stepping out of the eye into the storm.


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