I’m in the Uber on my way to the airport. Just popped a Klonopin. I slept four hours last night and my back hurts. But I made it. I did it. Ten days. It was the most difficult thing I have ever done and I got through it. Human will and resilience is a real thing people.
The guardian ad litem came this morning to interview Takkin and I about my guardianship petition. He and Tak joked around and had an easy rapport, while I sat and watched my brother gesticulate and answer questions enthusiastically. Much like the Hartwood intake assessment, the questions were geared at gaining a better understanding of his needs and skills. “What a friendly guy you are,” the guardian ad litem told Tak.
After 20 minutes or so, it was my turn and I was inundated with questions, most of which were rote and to be expected. Then he asked how old my dad is: 78. And I knew where the conversation was headed. “And what is the plan for when he can no longer care for your brother? What if the group home doesn’t work out?” In retrospect, of course he would ask this question, but for some reason, I was shell-shocked and sat dumb and numb for what felt like 5 minutes. I lifted out of my body and watched from above as the words came out. “I would never let anything happen to him. I’ll do what I have to do.” I didn’t even fully know what that meant, but it felt … final. Like I was signing something in blood.
So, what does it mean? I’ve been thinking about it all day:
- A lot can happen in even a few months. We were just at his psychiatrist’s office today and he added a new medication and plans to add another. Medication saved me, it could save him too.
- As evidenced by the past two weeks—save yesterday—he is pretty good with me. I could have more sway over him when it comes to staying in a group home or trying day programs and services. I haven’t lost credibility with him yet, and that goes a long way.
- We are so much better off than so many vulnerable populations out there; we own a home, we have family in the area and abroad who are willing to help; we know how to navigate the social services system (as much as anyone can know that insanity). Amazingly enough, I know that things could be much, much worse, and I am grateful for the things we have.
- I am not the first person who ever had a mentally ill brother. There are other stories that parallel mine and those people survived through it. I will find those people and learn.
- Yes, today I may be exhausted, but tomorrow I will not be. And I haven’t yet explored every resource, every service, every option out there. There is more to access and more to try. And I will try it all until something works. Something will work. Because it has to. And because when you love someone, you find the grit to keep going.
I’m almost to Reagan National Airport, and something just dawned on me: I did not water the house plants one single time these past 10 days.
I guess I was too busy.
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Thanks to all who have supported me throughout this time and to those who followed me on this journey. I really wouldn’t have made it without you.