Updated: Apr 8
I was in treatment for two weeks when I received the phone call that my grandfather, pawpaw Patterson passed away. He had been very sick. I stopped by his and my granny's home before I left for treatment to visit. I am so grateful I did. My pawpaw and granny have been a huge part of my life since I was born. If I was not at my house, you would find me at their house. I knew his time was coming, but nothing really prepares you for a loss of someone you love dearly and who has always been a stable part of your life. I will always hold dear the memories we shared together. Their home was my safe place to land where I was always greeted with love and compassion and good food! When I received the phone call, I took a day pass for the funeral. Honestly, I did not want to go. I had not spoken to my mama since our last fight, and I was mentally tapped-out. I wanted to remember him as I knew him. I did not want to face the loss and feel any pain regarding death. I did an excellent job burying it away; like I did every uncomfortable feeling in my life. I was already grieving the loss of my children and Eric and with my pawpaw Patterson's death; it felt like I had been hit by a Mack truck. I dissociated as much as I could. Not only that, but I wanted to hide underneath a rock. All my family, friends, and people I had known since childhood would be there and I was annihilated with shame and embarrassment. As everyone walked in church with their spouse, kids, and close family members, I walked in behind them and had never felt so alone in my life. The questions and curiosity to why Eric and my children were not there left holes in my heart. I was distant from my mama and brother as I remained angry and hurt by their previous action with the police. If a therapist or doctor had asked me-what is your level of pain on a scale of zero to ten, I would have been a fifteen. I physically hurt from the burdensome of grief and loss.
A couple of days later, I was called to the office as the supervisor, Norma, said she had to administer a drug screen. I had already taken a drug screen as soon as I entered back into treatment. I was dumbfounded as I asked, "why?" Norma explained that "word" had been out that I appeared to be on drugs. Pissed me off. I went from the quiet sweet girl to a strong, opinionated lady with a foul mouth. As I began, "who the fuck is starting this rumor? Norma, If I was getting high, I would not stay in treatment. Who the fuck wants to get high in this environment? This is ridiculous!" Norma did her best to calm me down. "Tawana (The Women's director) authorized it because some of the girls brought it to her attention." I walked out the bathroom furious. I had been having a difficult time adjusting and when I heard some girls trying to start crap with me...my temper flew off the handle. As I walked to the gate, to get a ride to the thrift store, I bypassed Sonya and Tawana as I steadily cursed.
When I arrived back at the thrift store, I made it known to whomever wanted to run their mouth and start drama that they did not know me and needed to keep their mouth shut with choice words said. Shortly after, Tawana walked toward me with my clear backpack I carried and asked me to come with her. We walked to her office where she asked me what was going on. This is my very first impression of Tawana. She searched my backpack and found only my Lexapro and Wellbutrin. We were administered our medication every three days. We began to talk, and I finally released all the stored emotions I had kept inside. I ugly cried. I had snot all over my sleeves while Tawana collected my tears on her shirt. I cried about missing my babies and all my other current troubles. Tawana listened. She encouraged. She gave me hope. I believe, in that moment, Tawana knew I was a mom grieving many losses with no love remaining for myself. I was inundated with ignominy. I needed the thirty minutes; Tawana pulled me aside from all the girls. I despairingly had to mourn and release my deep regret and sorrow. In order to heal, I had to feel. My road ahead was difficult. I had to essentially lay down my life and all my false beliefs and replace them with God's truth. In order to do that, I had to first, believe God's truth. My counselor, Donna, asked me one day, "Hope, why do you not love yourself?" (Truth hurts. Truth heals.) I did not know. I realized then, I could not manipulate my way through this program. If I wanted to dis-engage I absolutely could; many girls barely bypass the program. I was fully aware of God's presence and had the awareness that I was there for a reason. Even when I tried, in the beginning, to keep walls up; God knocked them down every single time.
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”