I couldn't sleep the night before Christmas Eve - images of last year kept playing in my mind - the 911 call - the struggle with David as they fought to get him into the ambulance - the surreal trip to the hospital - I just could not sleep till David was safe and sound asleep and in his nervous state that didn't arrive till 4:00 am. And so Christmas Eve began in a fog and with a prayer - so far - so good - just please help us through this day.
The first grandmother's went surprisingly well - David interacted with the family in what I have come to recognize as falsely cheery talk - many in the family took his cheer for reality and gave me quick hugs for congratulations that things were going well - I, however knew too much to let the illusion comfort me into a lull in my vigilance. My nerves began to feel like stretched rubber bands inside and I fought to hide my anxiety behind smiles and murmured small talk.
The second grandmother's was when I began to see the signs that the day was wearing on David - he still smiled obediently and opened his gifts - but I saw the furtive glances around the room and the agitation that was growing in his eyes - my instincts were confirmed when I heard him ask his sister in a whisper - "where are we"? Elizabeth glanced at me to see if I had heard ,then answered bravely "We're at Grandma G's for Christmas" - "Oh, yes, of course"he answered - "these holiday things are just getting me confused." David spent most of the rest of the time outside "getting some air."
Finally at home to prepare for the last gift exchange of the evening - I felt my nerves unwind a bit - at least half the day was behind us - but David's agitation seemed to get just worst - he wandered over to the neighbor's and must have started drinking because the next time I saw him he was more agitated and now slurring - as always I thought of what my parents, and cousins who would be there soon would think - but then I pushed those ideas aside - I am not David's keeper and it would be better for those who love him to see him in his bad moments as well as his good - if we want him to be with us as a family - we must learn to except him as he is, not as we wish he were. To be cont...