I had heard tales of my dad; violent and desperate stories. Over the years he got in many fights with police and other people in similarly difficult life situations as himself. Perhaps the most difficult to process was the fight he was in prison for resulting in the murder of his friend Phil. Throughout the years, I was told all these stories and more about my dad, but these stories are of a man I had never met. My dad did everything in his power to safeguard me from that life.
When my dad came home from the hospital after attempting suicide, he was clearly in another state altogether. This state was primal, almost as though he had slipped back to the time in his life when he had to fight to get through each day. I cried and begged for him to see me, his son, pleading for his life, but it made no difference; his mind was made. He wanted to die.
After speaking with his sisters on the phone, and then further discussing with his partner, Peggy, and my husband, Scott, the decision was made to call for the police to bring him back to the hospital. Paramedics wouldn’t have been able to handle him, especially considering it took five or six police officers to bring him down. We had given the officers a warning to park down the street, ensuring they left their sirens and lights off as they arrived due to his tough history with the police. This didn’t make a bit of difference, as my dad spotted them from his balcony, instantly rushing downstairs to strap his boots on as if going to war. No amount of assurance or pleading that it was okay would change his mind.
The second he went to open the door, the officers burst through and took him to the ground. I had to quickly instruct Scott and Peggy to go back upstairs. I had never seen such a look of horror on anyone’s face as I did when I turned and saw the shocked state they both appeared to be in. My dad kept yelling that Peggy had betrayed him for having allowed the police to come to bring him to the hospital, despite it being a collective decision. I had to keep myself together to give the officers information about my dad and all that had happened until that point, while also getting the necessary information from them about what the next steps were for my dad on his arrival at the hospital.
Everything from this period has become a large blur in my mind. I must have shut down in some capacity. I do remember that I was told by Peggy that she could no longer handle dealing with any of it and that my dad would not be allowed in the house again when released from the hospital. I can’t fully remember how it was resolved, but in reality, it doesn’t matter. The support from inside the camp was gone, and I was left to pick up the pieces of a broken man and the woman who didn’t want any further part in it.