There Was No Secret

It occurs to me, there was no plan. She was backed into a corner. I figure we put her there.

Sa Jul 20, we (Ian, Gem and I) had got back from the lake, on way home had stayed at Auntie Susan’s condo at Whistler. Shoulda coulda gone right to hospital when we hit town. We dropped Ian at the condo. Sam saw Gemma and was agitated. He says he saw her and was upset. She was at home and we were here. But I can’t understand, how could he be all riled up if she was there. But he figures we had dropped her at home. Maybe he and I drove her on to hers, we could have stopped at emergency instead, we dropped her and her stuff off at her place, and then came home. And that’s when Sam started in about 911. Kind of a delayed reaction …

The secret was spontaneous–Sam remembers something like, she asked me on the phone, “Is Dad serious about calling 911?” He was concerned. He had tried Barbara, “Confidentiality means I can’t tell you anything.” Gem said, I have an appointment next week, I’ll be ready to go in then.

M 22 Jul Gemma texted, don’t worry, I’ll be seeing Dr. Klassen tomorrow. I phoned the ED clinic office, “I can’t tell you anything, due to confidentiality–but I can tell you Dr. Klassen is not in tomorrow.” Sam texted Gemma–Oh, said Gem, I was mistaken, I’m going on Friday. Sam texted, Get back on track. Gemma texted, Okay, thanks Dad.

There was no Dr. Klassen appointment. She hadn’t been to the ED clinic since Sep 18. It was Sam that said, “I’ll call 911,” to have her hospitalized. So, hospital was our idea, and, no visitors was her idea. She didn’t plan to lie. She didn’t plan a secret. It was where we were going to put her, so, she sort of … went there herself. Only it was fiction. She thought, “They will figure it out and come for me. Then I’ll be in trouble. Then I will really have to go to hospital.” She was annoyed. But that’s the way it would have to be.

Only we didn’t pick at her story. I didn’t go to her landlord to check her “empty” place. I didn’t go get some flowers and take them to her in hospital–even if I can’t see her I can leave them for her with staff. I didn’t do that. I didn’t go buy a Scrabble game and take it for her, even no visitors, a visitor unseen would still be heartening. I took her at her word.

I thought I knew, good things were happening–recovery, and I figured not to bother her, or burden her with me or my thoughts or news good or bad. I didn’t want to tell her I went for a swim at the rec centre, I didn’t want to ask if she knew about the fugitives on the run–a terrible news story.

I could have stopped at the library and got her a big bag of books. But I pictured the unit, so familiar, and the book case in the walkway by the TV, and the books there. She told us she was reading and watching movies. Anne Frank, she said, hadn’t read it in a long time, she said. Just like me, she said, up in her little garret.  I don’t think she said, Hidden. Hiding. But she might have.

I was itching to go see her, but I thought I would refrain from ruining it, behave. Stay away as she thought it was helping.

After 6 weeks I saw her and she still looked terrible. Gemma! But, she told me she was in the program, just a weekend at home. I have get various evening drives mixed up, maybe she had “a pass,” one time, too. Another time she texted me to pick her up at 3:00 at the hospital, but not if I was too busy. And I texted her quite a while later that I could do that. And she took a while to come out of the hospital … she was never there. She had to hurry from wherever she had gotten to and come out the hospital door by the parking. And I had no problem with that. I must be the stupidest person in the world.

In debrief letter Barbara told Gemma, You feel terrible about lying to to your parents, but you can go forward anyhow (about the spoiled admission, the discharge that came after a melt down, she told us she was discharged a couple weeks after she was). We knew she was on the unit that time, Clara helped her take her stuff for that admission. But she had let us off the hook, “No visitors,” her idea. I didn’t know family supporters are considered essential or “no visitors” would have been the give-away. I only learned things after she died. I thought no visitors sounded reasonable. That she had her own way to recover, and I would honour her wishes.

She painted herself into a corner. The fake hospital admission, a lie, she figured we would be mad about that. The no visitors–she probably forgot all about that, and we were staying away to honour her–but she figured we wouldn’t stay away, we would find out she had lied once we finally came to visit.

Hints that I can remember were, emails and texts, reading Anne Frank reminded Gemma of herself in her little garret (did she say, hiding, in her garret?). Another hint was, “on a pass, Burger King.” I accidentally texted back to Sam though, “Burger King??” And late in the day he wondered what that was about. And Sam got, “Went to Denny’s.” And he asked her in phone conversation, and she listed what she had had.

By that time she was probably thinking of food 100% of the time.

Past admissions to intensive treatment and she would start to sound happy and relieved right away. Control was wrested from the anorexia, she was forced to give it up, and things were all good, she could relax. That’s all it is. She didn’t mean to lie.

We were going to call 911. She had to think of something. She didn’t want to lose the anorexia. She could recover all by herself at home.

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