November 27, 2014,
5 years ago today at approx. 3am
I’m asleep. My phone rings. I’m 2ish hours from home visiting a friend for the thanksgiving holiday. My youngest kiddo is with me but the middle two are home with grandma and the oldest is at her own home. She’d just moved out a few months before.
My phone rings and it’s the county sheriff. He tells me my #3 kiddo, who had just the day before turned 14, is on her way to the hospital via ambulance.
She’d attempted to end her own life. The Sheriff tells me “get home as soon as you can.”
But I’m visiting a friend.
On an island.
It’s 90 minute trip that includes a ferry ride. But it’s 3am and there are no ferries for a few more hours. Plus, it’s a holiday weekend. And Black Friday.
So, I can’t get off the island – unless I drive all the way around and across the pass – an 80 mile drive, which I was in no frame of mind to handle. And it’s 3am. And dark. And the ferry is on holiday scheduling.
What can I do?
My mind is racing now. My hands are clammy. I decide to go take a shower.
That’s not long enough. I go to the kitchen and make coffee and drink at least 2 cups. Maybe more. Who knows? My friend and her partner are still asleep. So is my son.
More coffee. Pack up my stuff. I attempt to eat something. I’m shaking. Time is both standing still and going too fast all at once.
A few hours later, I wake up my friend and tell her what’s happening, that I need to go now as the ferries are finally running soon.
Wake up my son, tell him what’s happening. We pack up his stuff in a hurry. My friend attempts to make us something to eat. There’s a whirlwind of activity as we get ready to go.
On the ferry, my mom calls. The local hospital is transferring my daughter to Children’s Hospital in Seattle because they are not equipped to handle a teenager in this condition. And her condition is rapidly deteriorating.
Moments later, the woman whose son, who was friends with my daughter and had alerted some other friends who knew our address, and had dialed 911, calls me.
I tell her how fucking grateful I am to her son for letting her know what was going on and for calling 911.
It’s time to get off the ferry but now I’m bawling. Can’t see through the tears streaming down my face.
My son and I finally arrive at the hospital just as they’re loading her in the ambulance.
Grandma and big sis are there. They take my son and head home. It’s already been a long day. I call my sister and tell her what’s happening, ask her to drive me to Children’s because I know I can’t make it alone.
We spent days. . . days. . . in the hospital. And I saw all kinds of —- flaws, for want of a better word —- in how mental health patients are treated. Minor mental health patients.
And it is appalling. Healthcare in this country is a fucking joke. Mental health care in this country is band-aid at best and a farce.
I don’t talk about this often but this is the fuel that fans my fire. I don’t talk about it often because even just writing this out is making me sick to my stomach. . . even still, 5 years later.
But I am writing this out for one simple reason:
It takes a village.
And the village is YOU.
And the village is me.
The village is aunts and uncles and cousins. It’s neighbors and friends and colleagues.
It’s all of us.
It’s ON all of us.
My mission on this planet is to create a world of peace and love in One Generation.
To eliminate hunger and poverty. To eradicate war and violence and fear.
To show our youth and young adults that love and truth and peace are the pathway forward.
And it begins with you.
It begins at home.
That’s my thanksgiving and Christmas and hell, my every day wish for all of us.
Just. . . Be love.