What a day! The time just seems to fly. Visiting with old friends and sharing all those wonderful Mother’s Day story was so much fun. Bernice’s story really made me come away with a different perspective. I was scared she was going to do it. Do what! You know the thing with the elevator. Did that really bother you? Yes, it did. Girl, when I made a reservation I wanted to make sure we did not have to go up to some sky-scraper restaurant and use an elevator. So how many places did you call? I only called 42 restaurants. Get out of here! What made you change your mind? I was curious to see if she would do it after all of these years had passed. Were you disappointed when Bernice got on the elevator and didn’t do her spill? Part of me felt relieved and the other part of me felt as though Bernice had let go of some really dark secret in her life. It just always bothered me because she has never uttered one word.
So What did you think? I will never forget the life lesson she taught me on this Mother’s Day. It drove me nuts when Bernice would get on the elevator and face the opposite way. All I could think of was being stampeded by the people on the elevator for thinking we had a nutcase with us. No matter where we would go she always finds a store or building with an elevator. Here comes her cheerleader always encouraging Bernice to do her “thang.” You would get on the elevator and act like it was a normal day in the neighborhood and the queen had her clothes on. This where I wanted to pull out the Comet Can and get the Wire Hangers and spank you and Bernice A… For some reason the people on the elevator never seem to get indignant. What’s Up with that? You are so good at imitating Bernice. Do it! Go ahead and Do It. Okay, if you insist. Hel….looo! Hel…looo! I’m Bernice but you can call me Bern. I’m just here checking out your eyes, mouths and whatever you got to remind me of myself and family. You sound so much like her. After all this time it all makes sense.
I saw Bernice grab your hand as she got on the elevator. It felt as though she was my daughter and we were having our first Mother’s Day Dinner together. All through the dinner, she didn’t have much to say. She had a lot on her mind. After we left the restaurant and got back on the elevator she grabs my hand again. She laid her head on my shoulders. What was going on inside of your head? I felt as though I needed to protect her. Once we got to Justine house Bernice leaned over and ask me could she sit next to me. It was fine with me. I did not want you to feel left out. Hey! I was always cool with you and Bernice relationship. I felt we were the 3 musketeers and could conquer all together, “One for all and all for one.” Relationships get messed when one person in the group began to act as though they need all the attention. Here we go with the I Nucleus Factor. Everything is centered around me. I control everything and everybody. I take all the credit. Some people have some of these characters and traits or all of them. WHEW! Our friendship lasted all these years because we gave credit where credit was due. It’s always enough love to go around.
After everyone told their Mother’s Day story with the exception of Bernice, Justine brought out those famous cinnamon rolls packed with much love. Justine can throw down when it comes to cooking. That is Bernice favorite dessert. Hey! Did you call ahead and ask Justine to cook those rolls for Bernice. Yes, I thought it would help her get through her story. All 8 of us (me, Justine, Bev-lo, Bernice, Avis, Paula, Gina and you Melody) are looking like the Boo-Hoo sisters. Bernice cleared her throat and proceeded to tell her story. She turned her body toward Melody and her eye contact put Melody’s face in a vice grip. This would be the first Time the crew would learn Bernice tried to take her life as a child.
Bernice told of the day she was cleaning out the attic and she ran across some old newspapers. Underneath were adoption papers. She said she freaked out and went downstairs and start attacking everyone about how the family had all lied to her. Bernice couldn’t think about all the sacrifices her parents went through for her. She ran from the house and no one heard from her for hours. When Bernice was found she was in an elevator with her wrist slit. My family got the called around 4:30 p.m. We all rushed over to Barnes Hospital to see what was Bernice condition. It was hard for me to think about killing myself but I was not in Bernice shoes. At the Time both Bernice and I was only 13 years old. I was so glad and thankful for my parents. Hey! I thought parents were parents no matter where they came from. When it was my turn to go in to see Bernice I had never seen so much machinery and tubing in my life. I was so scared. All I could think about was How Could I Ease The Pain. That is one of my favorite records by Lisa Fisher. I have never prayed so hard in my life. Bernice looked like a little gray ghost and her arms were bruised from where the nurse had tried to find her veins. My parents were comforting the Davis family and I felt emotionally drained. It seemed too much to comprehend as I listen to Bernice tell what happened.
Bernice said the only thing she remembered is running and running. She didn’t remember stopping off getting any blades to hurt herself. She ran into an elevator and backed into a corner and the lights went out. It was hard for me to hold back the tears. Bernice said that morning she felt as though she was at the top of her game. Her favorite place in the house was the attic. She felt untouchable in her make-believe castle. Bernice curious mind leads her to open this big old trunk with dragons layered on the front and back side. The trunk’s top was so heavy she found a rod to prop the lid up. As she began to dig there was a small jade box underneath the papers. When she opened the box and unfolded the papers. She became unglued. This couldn’t be true. Bernice felt shafted. From the top of the attic to rock bottom, the elevator came crashing down fast. She doesn’t remember having the blowout with her family. Anger can really do a lot of damage and thinking straight will not happen. Suicide is not the answer. Opening up about her attempt to commit suicide was a big leap. Something happened in her life that made her realize she could lose the most important people she loves.
All I wanted was for Bernice to heal but I knew it would take a long time. It was Time for me to go in search of a support team. I was on a mad search for some really good peer buddies that could help Bernice get through her crisis. Bernice anger isolated me but I had to give her some space to process what had happened. It took little brother Bobby getting hit by a car to snap her out of her I Nucleus World. Bobby got banged up pretty bad. His legs had gotten crushed and he suffered severe spinal injuries. Bobby would never walk again. Bernice began to focus on Bobby’s care and I could see her getting back on the elevator on her way to the top. That is how Avis, Paula, Bev-lo, Justine, Gina, me and you Melody came together. Bernice really took to Melody. It was all good!
Man, a lot of years have passed. Our crew got through it. We all have witnessed births, marriages, graduations, divorces, deaths all sort of life skills lesson. Do you know anyone that has perfected the lesson of life skills? No! These lessons are not to be perfect. You can become very skilled, knowledgeable, or an expert in your field. They can become your greatest strengths and achievements. Look at Bernice accomplishments. She is a renown Psychologist and looks what we would have missed in our lives if she had been successful the day she attempted suicide. Look at all the people she has helped take the elevator ride to the top.
We all shared a common denominator. Some of the crew shared more. We all had adopted parents. Bernice clinched Melody’s hand tighter. “Are you ready to take the elevator ride to the top?” Melody all teared up and the rest of the crew breaking down. Bernice asks Melody, “Will you marry me?” I pulled out my comet can along with my wire hanger and began to tap them lightly. It took you guys forever. Jaron is Melody’s son from a previous marriage. Melody found out she couldn’t have any children and Jaron was adopted. Melody’s husband wanted his own kids. Whatever the hell that means. Mr. I Nucleus Factor never excepted Jaron as his child. Jaron is crazy about Bernice. This kid is so fortunate. Jaron will have a wonderful set of parents. Are you ready to take the elevator ride to the top? Do not let your elevator crash to the bottom by not evolving and appreciating other people lifestyles. Of course, you know where the wedding will take place. 🙂
wow that is powerful stuff Ms. Linda…
another story that has a life lesson with raison d’etre.a story filled compassion of love for friends and family.