Sunday’s Child: Epilogue

It had been several months since Gregory had visited his good friend, Sal, at the monastery. He’d had a lot of time to think since then and he had been in regularly via email and e-cards. He was praying the Liturgy of the Hours regularly now. He enjoyed it very much. He had tried to pray the Rosary as he had once done so religiously, but it was no use. He just could make it work. It was too frustrating trying to remember all the different parts. Once upon a time, it had been like breathing for him, but now it was impossible. He went back to his mala and chanting “Om Mani Padme Hum” just like he did before “the Visitation.” That he could do. That was what his soul needed.

The medications he was taking now just to fit into society, now made it impossible to paint, but he wasn’t making stained glass either! The very thing he feared the most, and that had kept him from seeking help before he did, had happened. He was no longer excited about anything. Everything was gray, no color anywhere except in his dreams. He still managed to see beauty in nature, but he was no longer inspired to re-create that beauty. He knew that this was the way it had to be. It was a sacrifice he was willing to make for his partner, his family, and his friends. So what if he never painted again. There were other things in life besides that. He would find other things to occupy his time.

He wasn’t unhappy, far from it. It’s just that the elation, the excitation, the motivation were gone. In truth, the mania was gone and he missed it! He always felt like he could do anything. That he was on top of the world. But all that had been replaced by gray todays and would be replaced by gray tomorrows too. Gone were the frenzied days, but the angry days were gone too; those days that had been filled with unfathomable rage, when he could have raised his hand in anger as his father had done to him.

Gregory had always assumed his mother and sister had suffered from bipolar disorder too. But now he thought maybe he had been wrong all along. Perhaps they had merely been depressives. Perhaps his father had been the one to pass on the bipolar gene to his son. He had always been an angry man as far back as Gregory could remember. If Gregory’s disorder displayed itself as uncontrolled anger and aggression, could that explain why his father could also have been so horrible. “How strange,” Gregory thought. “Why has it taken me so long to see what was right in front of me all along?”

All those times Gregory had cussed people out over the phone, or written vicious emails, yelled at a coworker, they could all be traced back to his illness. But more importantly he could point at them and say,

“I am just like my father. For better or worse, I am my father’s son. I don’t’ have anyone to blame, but myself, though. I am at fault. No longer will I put the blame on others. I will accept responsibility for my actions, good or bad. I may no longer have bright white days or deep black ones. I may have to accept the gray ones and find the beauty wherever I can, but I will no longer be ruled by my disorder. I will take the medicine that makes my days gray, but the alternative is far worse. I have lived with that for far too many years and will no longer. My name is Gregory, and I have bipolar disorder. I won’t run from it any longer.”

There was still one more thing to do. He searched for Joe on Facebook and found him! He had so many questions about their time together. As it turned out, he had repressed so many memories from his time in Pittsburgh (as a result of the rape) that there were holes in his memory of his life there… of he and Joe, there. Joe was more than willing to share fill in all the missing pieces for his “David.” He knew that they were no longer the same people, but it was good to reconnect with his first love. Good to learn who Joe was now. Good to know that all the decisions Gregory had made, for better or for worse, since that day in the apartment at One Allegheny Square, had led him to this point in his life.

*****

John: “As soon as he could talk, his mother and I prayed that our son would think before he spoke. That he would measure his words with care so as not to hurt others. As soon as he could walk, we prayed that he would follow the path of the Lord. That he would walk with his head held high, not out of vanity, but out of respect for himself. And as soon as he could run, we prayed that he would not run away from his problems, but face them head on like the man we knew he would become… and he has… finally. Thank you, God.”

Susan: “My Lord, I have hoped for so much for my little brother. He has been, for the most part, healthy. He has been strong both morally and spiritually. He found someone to love and who loves him in return. He has experienced joy and even though no one knows better than I that life can be harsh, he was spared the worst of it. But most of all, I wished that he would live a long and happy life. That is still my biggest hope.”

Billie: “Thank you, Father, for watching over my baby boy all of his days and nights.  His joys have outweighed his sorrows. He grew up to be a man that affected the world, in a positive way, as a teacher and an artist. Please help him rediscover his love of art. I am so glad he has come to know you, trust you, and love you as I do. Thank you! Amen.”

“For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary.

For those who do not believe in God, no explanation will suffice.”

Song of Bernadette (1943)

The Author’s website: http://www.dgregdenton.com/index

The Author’s blog: http://www.dgregdenton.com/blog1

Recommended Reading: The Bipolar Disorder Survivor’s Guide: What Your Family Needs to Know – David J. Milkowitz, PhD

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

– Kay Redfield Jamison

Some of My Poetry

Madness fills my soul with contempt for life and all its sorrowfilled days and nights keep me from becoming who I am is what I never will be more than I am in this great void I reach out to another who is not there to fill my void with nothing but contempt for life and all its sorrowfilled days and nights keep me from becoming who I am is what I never will be more than I am in this great void great void I reach out to another who is not there not there to fill my void with nothing with nothing but contempt for life contempt for life and all its sorrowfilled days and nights keep me from becoming who I am who I am is what I never will be I never will be more than I am in this great void in this great void I reach out to another who is not there who is not there to fill my void to fill my void with nothing

© Denton ’90

There is no light.

Only darkness exists in truth.

Happiness is an illusion.

Family means suffering.

Intensity of sound, but lack of sight.

Burning flesh smells pleasant.

Thick, dark blood flows.

Peace is a fantasy.

War within, my reality.

Tired of living the nightmare.

Green and purple darkness

lights my way.

Seeing all,

but nothing do I see.

Day with moon,

night with dead star.

Longing for release,

escape,

mercy,

continuing instead.

A simple life

Made too complex by living.

Release?

Escape?

Mercy?

There is no god.

© Denton ’90

We Believe

We believe what we’re told,

told to believe.

Father,

Why did you lie?

We deserved better.

Lying words:

“stupid, incapable, unlovable fool”.

This is the picture

you helped us to paint.

We don’t want to believe,

believe what we’re told,

told to believe.

Scars of purple and red

heal more easily

than those within.

We can’t hide anymore.

We’re starting to show.

I can see them, too.

It frightens me.

Where do we go from here?

I no longer believe what I’ve been told,

told to believe.

© Denton ’90

Pain, joy, no not joy, confusion, no not confusion, sadness

yes, sadness, a sadness that fills the empty days with depth but no substance,

because substance would mean caring and there is nothing, no one to care for,

only sadness, an all consuming sadness that marks life like a pen on paper,

dots and scribbles, no meaning, no content,

only sadness which doesn’t mean anything really,

it just is and can’t be helped by all the do-gooders or well-wishers,

it just is and isn’t, it isn’t what I want,

it just is what I have and no one can take that away from me,

it’s exclusively mine, I cherish it and it comforts me

as I sit alone in the empty rooms of my life wondering what I did,

what I will do, why I must do anything at all, it isn’t enough just to be,

or so they tell me, but IS I anything, need I be, does it even matter?

Questions but no answers.  Isn’t that what this thing called life is all about?

No, just sadness, only sadness, an all embracing sadness in my soul.

© Denton ’90

Family

Mother, Father, Son, Daughter;

such is the family of me.

It’s getting crowded in here,

some of you will have to dissolve.

But I need you all,

please don’t leave me.

Keep me sane,

save me from doing it.

Come together as a true family.

Love each other

and strengthen me.

We have a long way to go,

but we can make it.

Stop fighting

and learn to live

together.

© Denton ’90

My heart is in my ear, the beating is loud, growing louder.

What does it mean to hear it, feel it pounding next to my brain?

The pain is stronger now, stronger than when it first began.

How do I endure it, day after day, year after year?

The numbness grows as well, marking time in hollow hours.

Will I end up like her, shattered, body broken, alone in an empty mind?

I cannot see tomorrow, the next minute hard enough for me.

Does each day pass or is it all a dream from which we cannot wake?

I fear the end, yet long for it, I wait in warm anticipation.

Will I make it to the end of my days or vanish as if never there?

© Denton ’90

The Light

Darkness all around me.

Only one small light

to guide me.

“Stay on the path.

Do not stray

to the left or right.

Look straight ahead.

Keep your eye

on the light.

You’ll be fine

if you do as I say.

I won’t let you down.

A few more steps;

we’ll soon be there.

No need to hurry.

Not much further now.

Take your time.

How do you feel?

Are you tired?

That will all be over soon.

You’ll be able to rest.

Here we are!

Aren’t you happy

you made it?”

“Thank you for your help.

I couldn’t have done it,

without you.”

All is bright, white, warm;

I am no longer me, alone

We are us, together.

© Denton ’90

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