I spent two and a half hours going to visit Daughter yesterday. When I got there, most of the patients were out in the courtyard. Daughter was entertaining her artist friend and a young man with her own special rendition of Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee. When I sat down she was approaching the end of the song. She didn’t acknowledge me, so I touched her knee. She held her hand up to stop me from saying anything. After she’d sung that last line several time several different ways, I touched her knee again. Again she held up her hand. Finally, she finished her song and turned to me.
She told me she was feeling better and engaging with people more. She told me the voices hadn’t come back, and that her blood sugars were running high. Then she said, “I’ve told you everything I have to say.”
“It sounds like you’re asking me to leave.”
“Yes, I am.”
“I drove all this way and brought a card game for us to play.”
“You can leave the card game with me, but I don’t have anything else to say to you. I’m enjoying time with my friends.”
I didn't leave the card game. I asked one of the staff members to let me back in. He did, and asked if I was her mother. I said I was, but she didn’t want to see me. He pointed out I’d come a long way, and asked if I didn’t want to stay and see if she changed her mind.
“She won’t.” I was on the verge of tears again, and I’d done enough blubbering. I wasn’t going to stay and make a fool of myself. I also wasn’t going to reward bad behavior by giving her another chance. I called people to report in on the way home, and asked Sister to call Dad, as I didn’t think I could handle talking to him about Daughter. By the time I got home, I had taken two and a half hours to spend three minutes with Daughter. I’ve no doubt the people I spoke with could tell I was upset. Two of the three people I had called checked with me later in the evening to make sure I was okay. I tried to comfort myself with the thought that she was no longer depressed and withdrawn.
This morning as I got up to preach, I heard the church phone ring. One of the saints ran to get the phone. As I waited for her to return, all kinds of scenarios passed through my head. I pondered who was on the phone. I wondered if it was Daughter, or worse, Daughter’s nurse or doctor calling with bad news. The saint returned and flashed me the okay sign. I was relieved and put it out of my mind.
After worship, the saint came and told me it had been Daughter on the phone. She wanted to talk to me, but told the saint not to interrupt my sermon, just to ask me to call her after worship. I figured she wanted to make sure I came to visit today. I had already planned to call her before I left, because I wasn’t about to make another trip for a three minute visit.
When I got home, there was a message on the answering machine. It was the whiny, pathetic voice of Friday. I called her. She apologized for her behavior. I told her I loved her and I would come see her. She asked me to bring some t-shirts and the card game. She reported she’d had trouble waking up this morning. She then told me that the man who let me back in had confronted her about her treatment of me in the group he led this morning. She had been embarrassed, and was now feeling very guilty. I like that man.