Alone in a Fog, On a Teeter-Totter

I woke up in a solid white room.

Alone, strapped to a bed.

“You have bipolar disorder,” they said.

I got a diagnostic code to replace

My points per game, my GPA, and my SAT score.

DSM 296.4×4.

I would need treatment the rest of my life.

I spent most of the next year heavily medicated.

I prayed to God, but couldn’t hear a response.

I read the Bible, but the message escaped me.

I tried to write, but the words wouldn’t come.

Mostly I slept, and ate, and took pills.

My mind was thick like fog.

One day Alice was taking a nap with the children.

A friend stopped by to take me for coffee

I left a note which read:

“Dear sugar bear,

Gone to the mountains to pick blueberries.

Be back by spring.”

The church was wondrously generous.

They provided me paid leave.

They stopped by with meals.

They watched Sarah and Grace

When Alice and I had appointments.

Eventually, I went back to work full time.

But I had nothing left for home (or so I thought).

Alice was fed up.

She decided to get a job,

Then a divorce.

We went for counseling as a last resort.

In counseling, the fog started to lift.

Not overnight, but gradually, and steadily.

I asked Alice to stay.

She agreed, thank God.


We enjoyed some time of basic balance.

Like when you’re matched with someone of equal weight

On a teeter-totter.

But soon we learned that Alice’s father had cancer.

Colon cancer – very aggressive.

She took the children and moved in with her mom to help.

He made it through surgery, but something went wrong

And he ended up in a coma.

For six weeks Alice managed her father’s illness,

Advocating for him while caring for Sarah and Grace.

I came up on Sunday nights and stayed through Tuesdays,

The pastor’s version of a weekend.

It was winter time, and the storms blew strong,

But we weathered them together, traveling the distance.

They discovered his chemo had induced the coma.

With time and physical therapy, he got better.

Alice and the girls returned home,

Eager for spring, looking for new life.

Alice wanted more children.

It was her calling, to be a mom.

We became foster parents.

Shortly after being approved, we got a call.

Two sisters, ages five and nine, needed a place to stay.

Jessie and Elena became part of our family.

They were with us over a year before

They found a permanent home.

Life was good.

God was in heaven, and all seemed right with the world.


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