All That I Have Written Is Straw. . .

Meanderings of a Catholic Devout

“Friends, they are jewels, twice as beautiful and few.”

with 2 comments


A good friend and mother-figure of mine, J—, had a stroke this weekend.  I was devastated. This woman helped me with so much in my formative years and she helped my father to understand how to raise a teenage daughter.

When I was 15, I went through my first real heartbreak. I had used a lot of drugs and had a completely co-dependent relationship with the guy. It was sickening how many bad things I did with him, so much in fact, that those things still affect me to this day. When we broke up, I attempted suicide by overdosing.

A girlfriend of mine, S—, happened to call me that evening while I was fading in and out and she saved my life. She managed to get it out of me what I had done and because we were only 15, she couldn’t drive to my house. So she called another friend, L—, J—’s daughter. They rushed to my house.

My father just happened to be coming home at the same time they arrived.  J— calmly explained to him what was happening. I will never, ever, forget the look my father gave me.  With tears in his eyes, he unprecedentedly raised his hand to slap me but J— stopped him as I collapsed on the floor in a pathetic slump out of fear of him and defeat. 

After a trip to the emergency room and getting my stomach pumped, my father didn’t want me to come home because he was so angry with the selfish thing I attempted to do. So J— let me stay at her place. Waking up the morning after was the worst feeling of dread I have ever felt because I didn’t know which was worse: having to face life or knowing that I failed at suicide. But J— was so nice to me.  She gave me a necklace with a cross on it and told me it brought her strength.  She was giving it to me because she knew I was learning how to deal with life. (At the time, it wasn’t the cross that I cared about because I didn’t have faith; rather, it was the idea of a token and the act of giving it to me that brought me strength.)

Later, when her daughter and I got sober together, I passed that cross onto another girl who needed strength, too.

Of course, there were many memories, happier ones, that I share with J—, but this memory is the most important for me. 

Two weeks before her stroke, I went to visit her and helped her bake cookies for her granddaughter’s school. We chatted a lot about life and the Church. We talked specifically about the Eucharist and how much we both miss it at times.  She was withholding herself from it and she knew that. She expressed her hope that she would soon make peace with the Catholic Church, that attending a Lutheran traditional service just wasn’t quite the same. 

So watching her in the worst way, strapped to a hospital bed, sedated and recovering from surgery, I whispered a rosary over her and held her hand.

According to her daughter, she is doing well on responsiveness tests and she is alert when they purposefully stop the sedation and anesthesia medications to check. I heard she opened her eyes shortly after I left. Thanks be to God. Please keep praying.

(Happy Birthday, J—!)

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Written by Written Straw

October 14, 2010 at 8:13 am

2 Responses

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  1. I feel blessed (if I may use that word) to have access to you through this blog. intimate details I’ve regretably been unprivy to because of the various lack of facilitating intersections in our divergent lives, I’m learning about here. (how’s that for obtuse language?)
    also, congrats on your other blog. It pleases me that you get the opportunity to express your experiences in a public forum.

    Sean

    October 16, 2010 at 9:50 pm

  2. Words are not prohibited from your language. The audacity to use them is what makes you such a great person (as long as you don’t abuse them). I’m sorry this episode was previously unbeknownst to you. It’s not really a topic I bring up in the middle of funtime with friends.

    Written Straw

    October 17, 2010 at 8:05 am


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