Author: Dooley M

  • Staying in her life

    Staying in her life

    I meet her now for lunch. We share food and conversation. I can check in on how she’s doing. She can see that nothing bad is happening to me. Her mind is lively. She’s still interested in art, architecture, politics. She showed me a couple political books she’s read lately. She’s in there, interested in…

  • An unexpected benefit of self-care

    An unexpected benefit of self-care

    Self-care comes naturally to some people. I am not one of them. Self-care has long been difficult. In the past several years it has become even more challenging. In my support group, we go around the circle at the end of the meeting to talk about what we’re doing to take care of ourselves in…

  • She’s going to disappear for a while

    She’s going to disappear for a while

    She asks me if I even spoke in Meddler. I tell her no, I don’t even know what Meddler is, except for what she has told me. She says it’s a communication system. She says that someone in Meddler spoke to her who she hadn’t heard before. She had a young voice, which is unusual…

  • A new walk

    A new walk

    I was walking through the city today, seeing people wrapped in blankets sleeping on the sidewalk, elders sorting through their belongings, women my mother’s age, women homeless as my mother is. I thought it was the alienation I have been feeling towards this city, how we allow this. It is also the knowledge that these…

  • Closing the year

    Closing the year

    Here we are, approaching the end of the year. It’s been nearly three years since my mother has reappeared. I’m no longer in full flaming freak-out. I’m no longer in the deepest despair of her situation. There is a low murmuring grief that we are here, another year of my mother on the street. Another…

  • Time capsule

    Time capsule

    I was clearing out my old files and found my mom’s medical records from the last time she was hospitalized, the first time she disappeared, that I wrote about before. Then I found my notes from that time. Notes on the state of her apartment, the missing persons report, her extravagant shopping bring me back…

  • Of mental illness and bus rides

    Of mental illness and bus rides

    I hear him before I see him, with the louder, faster than usual talking. I am sitting in the window seat, knitting a hat, when he sits down next to me. “I couldn’t protect you. I couldn’t protect you.” fades back into unintelligibility. I am thinking about my mother now, how much this is like…

  • Don’t want to

    Don’t want to

    It’s Thursday morning and I have lots of work to do. I still haven’t read the writings my mother gave to me and I’m meeting her for lunch. I don’t want to read her writing and I know I have to. I’ve already read the happy ones, the mini-memoirs of the happy events of her…

  • An alchemy of mental illness

    An alchemy of mental illness

    What good can come out of this? This thing I can hardly talk about, but weighs down my every day. Isn’t that the thing? We want to know that whatever difficulties we’re going through, it’s all worth something. I look at these last couple years since my mom reappeared, at all the time and energy…

  • Mom’s been found

    Mom’s been found

    I got a call from the police at 10:30 p.m. They found my mother in a park and saw the open missing persons report I made from the last time she disappeared. They asked me about my mother’s history. We talked about involuntary commitment, which they said they did not have cause to do. I…

  • My mother has disappeared again, the fourth time.

    My mother has disappeared again, the fourth time.

    I have made the calls, which was easier this time. It was easier because I know what city she’s hanging out in now. It was also easier because I’ve done this before and we were reconnected in time. It’s become part of the process of my life now: mom disappears and I call the hospitals,…

  • Again

    So, I’m at the regular meeting spot on the appointed day and the appointed time and there’s no mom. Two weeks ago I missed our meeting because I threw my back out. As is our agreement if either of us misses a meeting, I came to meet her same place, same time, same day. No…