Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Funeral

It's strange, taking into account the amount of rain we get, that whenever there's a funeral, it often stays dry. I suppose it would make sense that pathetic fallacy doesn't work in the real world, but the weather always seems to go actively out of its way to be unatmospheric. (and no, the irony of that comment wasn't lost on me)

I'm sorry I couldn't get this up earlier, the Laptop of Doom decided to live up to its name again. On top of that I've got a lot of work to do for college. It's supposed to be the holidays, for goodness sake! Anyway, mimi-rant over, time to move onto a slightly bigger rant.

The funeral was probably what you would expect. We met at the church (mostly so that everyone could find it, and so it was a central point, partly so we didn't have to have people round at the house), the minister said a quick prayer of strength for us, and then we drove to the crematorium. There were quite a few people there, mostly people who knew us from church. There was a short service and my Dad gave a eulogy, then we headed back to the church for a bite to eat.

It was when me and Dad were welcoming people into the crematorium, that I noticed my old psychiatrist in the line. My initial internal reaction was one of fear, then anger. I suppose I should go into more detail on the backstory here. I haven't seen him since I was a child. In fact, since just after that time I tried to go back to school (I think it's in my second introduction post, hang on, I'll go look for it - here it is ). He's the one who tried putting me on various medications that just made my symptoms worse. I had to spend time as an in-patient, it got so bad. My hallucinations weren't as vivid during that time, I'll give him that, but they were much more disturbing and I lost the ability to think clearly. From near the beginning my Mum tried to convince him to use CBT instead, but it was only after it seemed like he'd tried all the medicines in the book (seriously, in total there was around ten of them, and they left me with side-effects that aren't all gone) that he finally stopped drugging me. I was sent back to school once I was able to repel my delusions and understand that my hallucinations were just hallucinations. But then I met Liam and my peers decided they didn't like me after all. Shortly after that my Mum managed to get me discharged into her care (I don't know how she managed it, but I don't care, words can't express how relieved I was when she told me I wasn't going back). I was pretty messed up after everything that had happened, but she worked with me (and so did Dad, to a certain extent, since he was the one who stayed home with me) and I am who you see (or don't) today.

But back to what made me annoyed. For the sake of my naming scheme, I'm going to call him Dr. D, just in case I need to mention him in the future (hopefully not). He's old. Even older than my Dad (who I hope never reads that comment - sorry Dad!). He retired a few years ago, but evidently he still keeps in contact with the other staff, or he wouldn't have turned up.

So now you understand why I felt like that when I saw him. The only times I saw him and my Mum together were when they were talking (or more accurately disagreeing) about me, and from the occasional comment she made at the dinner table, I gather she didn't agree with his approach.

I had to fight to keep my face straight as he shook my hand. I just wanted to slap him, or punch him, or just yell "WHAT THE F*** DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING HERE!?". Unfortunately my Dad was aready trapped talking to an obstinate church elder, so he couldn't come to my rescue. Our conversation went a little like this:

Dr D: I was so shocked when I heard what happened. She was always so full of life.
Me: Yeah, it was a real shock. She was fine one day, then she was just ... gone.
Dr D: She was a great doctor, the service is going to miss her.
Me (thinking): So finally you admit you're not the ultimate genius of the universe. You were nothing compared to her.
Me (aloud): I'm sure they will.
Dr D: How are you coping?
Me: We're doing alright. It's difficult sometimes, but we've been supporting each other as much as we can.
Dr D: That's good. I remember when my wife died. The whole family almost fell apart. It was a nightmare.
Me: Oh. What brought you back together?
Dr D: *shrugs* We got a dog, and looking after it was such a task that we forgot to argue with each other. *he chuckles*
Me: *looks over at Dad, who is still talking to that elder* Heh. Well, Dad already has me to look after, and I'll be looking after him as well now.
Dr D: *smiles* Good good. Oh, and how are your symptoms nowadays?
I could have punched him. Our church friends know about my "mental illness", but what if they didn't?
Me: *smiles sweetly* Oh, they're still vivid, but not nearly as disturbing as they used to be. I don't let them trouble me.
Dr D: That's good to hear.
He looked almost relieved to hear that. Could it be he actually feels remorse for what he did to me? Perhaps he was just telling himself "see, you didn't mess that little girl's life up after all".
Dr D: And you're managing to fit into society?
Me: Yes, actually, I'm at college this year. And I've got a job.

I couldn't help myself - I'm sure a little bit of pride sneaked its way into my voice. My mind was gloating. Despite everything he'd taken away from me, I've still managed to find a way to live. I'm paving my way into society one slab at a time and nothing can stop me.

Dr D: That's amazing. *his face softens* You really are a testament to her memory.

At this point, the chapel was ready so we started filing in. I was glad to get away from him, but he was right. I wouldn't be where I was without my Mum, and I hope I can do her justice while I'm here.

After the service there was an obligatory shaking of hands again as people came out. When it came to Dr. D's turn again he offered his condolences one last time, said he was sorry that he wouldn't be able to make it to the lunch. And then he gave me his phone number. He said to give him a phone I ever felt like I needed some advice or support, or even just for a little chat.

I knew then exactly what I was going to do with that phone number, and it hasn't left my sock drawer since.

There were two more of my Mum's colleagues at the funeral. I was talking to one of them at the church afterwards. He'd met my Mum and sat in on some of her consultations when he was a student, so he knew what she was like with the patients. He told me that she was sympathetic and understanding, unlike the slightly apathetic style that was more common among psychiatrists at the time (apparently), and she made an effort to connect with them. From what he said it seemed like they got on well. I'm glad she made friends, but I'm also sad that there's more people she's had to leave behind.

Anyway, it's way past my bed time, even for the holidays. Night night!

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