All has been quiet at the house lately so I thought I would tell a story that happened to me after I lost a good friend.
I may have mentioned in one of my past blogs that I worked in the psychiatric field until I became ill 3 years ago, and had to stop working.
I became very close with many of the patients, this was the job I was waiting for it was in the inner city, kind of a last resort inpatient facility that would take those that had been everywhere else and asked to leave. In addition to regular psych. diagnosis, such as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder , there are myriad of other diagnosis that most people don’t know about. There are dual-diagnosed example schizophrenia & bi-polar sometimes with developmental disability thrown in. I chose this job not because I couldn’t find anywhere else to work, I was employed when I took it, the reason was I wanted to help those labeled “the worst of the worst” by other facilities and most people, including those in healthcare. The facility was a locked facility. Employees, visitors and those patients lucky enough to have outdoor privileges had to be buzzed in and buzzed out by security at the door.
I became particularly close to a patient I’ll call “Henry”, he had a background of being homeless, he was a double amputee. He lost his legs during a winter night sleeping outdoors, he had built a fire to keep warm and his legs caught fire in his sleep, they could not be saved.
He was now in the system. He was hospitalized and received rehab for he amputations, was deemed mentally ill, his diagnosis “Intermittent explosive disorder” which basically means he could and would become violent at the drop of a hat. After living in several long term care facilities that couldn’t handle him he ended up with us, and I was glad of it. He and I clicked we had the same interests, he was helpful and kind, funny and sad at the same time. He became very involved in our department. I was the Recreation Director. He always helped out, he came down from his room every morning to say hello and talk until I had to go to our daily managers meeting.
Henry did not exhibit his “behaviors” when I was around and if I heard him going off I would go to him and he would always stop and say “It’s cool, It’s cool” with that grin on his face.
Now some of the behaviors I have seen were attempted suicides, fist fight’s, a resident pulled a knife she got from the kitchen on a nurses aide, I could go on and on. However this is expected with the mentally ill, that’s why they are there. Well to shorten this up Henry was involved in a minor altercation with another patient it was stopped right away, however “Henry” was not very well liked by most residents because of his illness and his tendency to always want to “run the show” so to speak. Another manager talked his “victim” if you want to call her that…believe me she’s no angel, into pressing legal charges for assault I was heartbroken for him he was just turning around, getting involved in good things, however she followed through and he was arrested.
I cried, he cried, I saw them take him away and knew he wouldn’t be back, his offense was minor and I knew he would be back on the streets in no time. He was considered a “problem child” at the facility but he was trying and I think we were his last chance. Needless to say I have never seen him in person again.
Several month’s later after trying to find out where he ended up to no avail, I put it to the back of my mind and hoped for the best for him. But now I know.
I went to bed like any other night but this time I had a dream, unlike any other dream. Now I have known people who have died before and have not felt any sort of afterlife contact, until then.
Henry was a small man, he kept himself clean however the years on the street were not kind to him, he had some teeth missing, his face was quite marked up and of course he had lost his legs.
I was in my car parked in a parking lot somewhere, I don’t know where, it was a warm night and I had my window open and I was drinking a beer, from behind my car a man walked up bent over into my window, took the beer out of my hand and took a long swig, he gave it back to me, I looked up and it was “Henry” he looked at me with a slight smile, his teeth were perfect, his skin was a smooth soft brown, his head was perfectly shaved, his legs were back, he was handsome! He walked away and joined some others I did not know, I got out of the car and walked towards him, he was dressed in a long white shroud, as he stood with the others he turned and looked at me, smiled and nodded as if all was o.k. and went back to the group, I knew somehow I did not belong and turned and walked away.
The next day I woke up and knew this was not just a dream, it was not disjointed like most dreams, I wasn’t lost, or my teeth weren’t falling out (really) like I usually dream, or still in high school and all the bizarre stuff people usually dream. This was different, I was different, I felt a calm and a sadness I don’t know how I knew but even though I have no concrete proof that “Henry” has died the dream was so clear so different so soothing, though I hope he hasn’t passed, he couldn’t have looked happier or healthier. I still have a warm feeling when I think about the dream, was this a message from beyond from my friend? I choose to believe so until I here something different I am going to hold on to that dream and my fond memories of “Henry”
**I changed his name for privacy purposes, and altered his picture for the same reason.