My first experience with suicide was when I was barely anything more than a toddler. I can still remember it all so vividly. Wandering an empty house, trying to care for my crying baby sister who was still in a crib. My life as a caregiver began that day. My sister and I are 2 and one half years apart in age.
My mother and father were 10 years apart. To be more specific, 9 and 1 half, the same number of years our son is to his oldest sister and the same amount of time between our son and grandson.
My mom inherited 3 children from my dad. She was 19, him nearly 30. She was suddenly the step mother to children between 6 and 12. My sister and I are her only children with my dad. My mom and dad were married 25 years when he died of cancer.
My dad was a very dominant man who used his hands on her at his will. I wasn’t 16 yet when he was first diagnosed with lung cancer. He had a partial lung removal. When I was 22 it returned with a vengeance. By this time I had been married 4 years and had 2 beautiful daughters. That same year I lost my twins. One ectopic the other was lost during the exploratory laparotomy which would make me never be able to have children again. I would give birth to a son months before my 30th birthday. 3 years later I would have the injury that led to CRPS. 1 year before my injury we lost our rental home and it’s entire contents to a fire. My husband and our son was in that fire. My husband not only threw our little son out the window, but managed to, having already been burned make it to the connecting unit and help them and their baby out of it.
I worked on the main avenue and I heard all the sirens. I remember my heart sinking of fear and then I dismissed it as an overactive imagination. 30 minutes or so later an officer came into my work and asked for me personally. He said “Ma’am you need to come with me now”. I asked “Why?”. He responded “your home is ablaze”. “Where’s my husband, where’s my baby? Tell me their alive. He said “I don’t know”.
I dropped to my knees because I knew I left them sleeping when I went to work. When we arrived 2 blocks were blocked off and I could see the flames raging out what had been my kitchen window into the street. He told me to stay in his car but I couldn’t. I ran toward my house. There were so many people in the streets, fire, rescue, police, even the American Red Cross was on the scene before I was and I don’t think that officer could have gotten me there any quicker. I ran away from him and into chaos. Eventually I seen my husband near an ambulance. His fingers were burned so badly that they looked like freddy krugar knives. Part of his ear was melted off, all facial hair gone. His chest was burned and his feet were bare. His face was burned and blistering, he had severe smoke inhalation. My baby was already en route to the hospital. I’ll never be able to describe that emotion. My husband was taken after I got to him. My son went out the window in a diaper, my husband was in his underwear.
The red cross put us up in a motel after assessing all that it was. It was all gone. We still had our jobs. My husband never took disability for that event instead he used his accumulated sick leave and vacation. I walked to work for weeks. Between the fire and the fear I reduced my weekly work hours to be with my children and as a result when I became injured it would alter compensation for the next chapters of my life. While my WC disability rating is above 70 percent I would go on to received $76.04 a month. Less than the minimum under the state. I would receive only “wages” instead. Had I not lessened my work hours the quarter before, my lifetime stipend would have been considerably more.
My career prior to this job was high management. Restaurant Management. I took that job at the time so that I could be farmer’s little duck without any title or responsibility other than my own cashier position. I was the manager on duty the night of my injury. I wasn’t a manager. What I was is someone often used for another persons gain. Someone who would give, and then give some more. Sort of like the last 16 years of CRPS as well.
Within a couple of years of that first suicide experience I was molested for the first time. That would continue for another 2 years at least and because I was the oldest of my sister and I, I would end up taking the brunt of it for her.
I learned really young to hold it. I learned so well that by the time unrelenting physical pain came I couldn’t show it enough. Not out in the world. Only online. Only in words.
Facebook is one of my flaws because it becomes too easy to say too much even if the intention is well.
My birth daddy, no matter how hard would lead me into never being able to speak up for myself. He didn’t allow me to complain or not feel well. Just like my mama. My mama never had a voice, couldn’t laugh or play. She couldn’t have friends and she couldn’t want to be around her own family. Even when she went to real-estate school she was accused of doing something wrong. I would end up submissive and someone who could only give, but never receive. That man did me right even so. I would be the one to close his eyes when he died. I would be the one to pry his hands off the hospital bed railing that he must have grabbed onto as he was taking his last breaths. I would be the one to wake my mom when it was over. My dad died in the home of my husband and I are our 2 little daughters.
I would end up someone who would give everything above herself. I would end up being someone who could hold intense pain so well that not even a professional could recognize it without diagnostic proof enough to believe.
I would end up losing another child after the same injury that led to RSD/CRPS, one I never thought could be possible because I was told it wasn’t possible. I would lose that baby because of consequences directly related to it. I have finally let that go to the extent that I carried it just this year.
December of 2012 my husband had a quadruple bypass. He had his first heart attack at 37. 2 stents were placed in his heart. He had another heart attack within a couple of years. He was diagnosed with Diabetes during the first. I never left the hospital and because I couldn’t drive, I slept outside in the van in a really hard winter.
Less than a year before that our son had a Traumatic Brain Injury. He was intubated, and in a coma. He sustained a severe trauma to his frontal lobe in addition to other areas of his brain. I never left the hospital for that 11 days either. When he was 17 and his back was being evaluated due to the head injury we learned from Shriners Hospital that he was born with birth defects of his spine. I’m grateful that the doctor never told me he was in trauma as I gave birth to him because the cord was wrapped entirely around his neck and his body. The doctor literally spun him out of me. I gave birth to Ozra entirely natural. Had I known, my body may have reacted in fear and inadvertently caused his death.
In 2013, our oldest daughter would be diagnosed with a rare liver disease called EHE. She’s been on the liver transplant list. I wanted to be a living donor for her but because I had part of my liver removed just months before, and because I also have lesions on my liver in other areas, and because the vessels in mine are adverse, I haven’t been able to go forward. If I die, my child will have my liver. It’s still good enough for someone who needs one. It’s not good enough while I’m living.
My daughter Rikki has served in the U.S. Army. She would have been deployed to Afghanistan with a rifle in her hands. A military training session would bring her back home. She’s never sought disability compensation. The incident to be clear was not her fault she was just someone receiving the worse of it.
Our children are 29, 28 and 20.
I would be fine through it all. I would fake it to make it. I would compartmentalize all of the before in order to survive CRPS and coexisting diagnosis’ and developments. . Until physical pain reached a level I couldn’t breathe through, think through, or feel anything else through. I had fell into the CDC Guidelines being created and implemented, the physicians who became afraid to prescribe or consider us as anything more than the less than that we became. I would be fired from pain management of 12 years 6 days after that first suicide attempt.
The first time I attempted suicide on Valentine’s Day of 2016 I was 11 days off medications. Medications I had appealed, won, yet never received. I wanted to be happy I survived. I wasn’t. The second time April 19th of 2016, I’ll never know how I survived that one. The 3rd time, January of 2017, I understood after that I’m not obligated to anyone. I’m not responsible for anyone other than mine. I don’t owe anyone anything that I didn’t return mutually already.
I know what I’m indebted to and it sure isn’t anyone here.
I love my mama who I’ve only seen but a few times in 20 years, and I love both of my fathers equally because one gave me my first 22 years of life and the other has been for this rest of it. But most of all my dad now has given my mom everything my dad couldn’t give her. A life without being hit, belittled, or scorned. My dad suffered from his own mental health dilemma’s because he was cheated on in his first marriage. He believed my mom wouldn’t ever be faithful. She was and she is.
I would end up someone who wouldn’t take any kind of ka ka from anyone, anymore.
Even at my weakest points, I’ll always survive you.