To my Colleagues and Friends,
I want you to understand a few things before you jump to any conclusions about the current situation you are observing.
From the day I brought Eve into the ward, she was a challenge. She had an amnesia that none of us had ever seen before, and night terrors that most children could never endure. Eve was 4 years old when I brought her in. She was 4 years old when I rescued her from car that had gone over the embankment and was semi submerged in the river. I grabbed her after forcing the back door open and wrestling with her seat belt. She was still in her car seat when I brought her in. The nurses like to tell people, “He took his melancholy out the back door,” because I guess the story of Eve does sadden me a bit. Eve may have survived in some form but unfortunately, her mother did not survive the accident.
Over the years, she spoke to her mother as if she were alive. She had very animated conversations with herself, changing her voice slightly to mimic the one who would be her mother’s. Sometimes the conversations became heated arguments, arguments about “HIM” and Eve’s inability to sleep. The ironic part of this argument she continually had with her “mother” was that Eve was asleep, heavily sedated by tranquilizers I had administered myself or with a watchful eye over one of my staff. It wasn’t until Eve was in her 20’s that I told her about the death of her mother. She laid very still and seemed to actually hear me as I described her mother to her and how she had died in the accident. When I had finished, her silence was broken and she let out the most blood curdling scream I had ever heard from her. She had never “spoke” to her mother again after that.
It wasn’t every day that I could observe Eve. I had other patients to tend to, and Eve was going to be and has been a long time resident. Her case was too important to me and to my studies to let her care fall under anyone else’s but my own. I mostly saw Eve at night after my normal rounds or many business trips. There were times I didn’t see Eve for weeks, but I kept in close contact with the other doctors on staff to check in on her progress or lack thereof.
We learned that anything and everything within Eve’s reach could be considered an implement for her to mutilate herself. There were a few instances of nurses checking on Eve during her quiet times only to find her in a puddle of blood from self-mutilation or attempted suicide. This behavior started at an early age: her preteens. It took some time for the staff to realize that if Eve wasn’t screaming and she wasn’t in the midst of heavy tranquilization, then she was up to no good. She was a challenge both clinically and emotionally. She had literally grown up in the ward, everyone knew Eve. Everyone took care of her. Everyone knew her story…except for her.
I tried telling her about the accident when I saw her at night. I tried to assure her that she would always be taken care of, but the only thing she seemed to grasp from my talks to her was that her mother had died. I told her night after night how beautiful she was, how she looked just like her mother. I told her how she would always be taken care of because that is the promise I made to her mother.
After her last series of outbursts, I had a discussion with a colleague about…letting her go. Letting Eve go would mean breaking a promise to her mother and to Eve herself. I thought about it for days, nights, weeks as Eve’s condition worsened. We could all see her slowly slipping into a place she would never come out of, a place that I knew was hell for her. Years of over tranquilization, experimental drugs to keep her calm, and attempted suicide had taken a toll on her physically and mentally. It was time.
An act of kindness…No one knew. It was my night to sit with her, administer her drugs, and calm her screams as she clenched tightly to Bear, her old faithful friend. It was my night to let her go. It was my night to let my Eve, my daughter go, just as I had watched her mother go as she drown in that river water late that night. It was my night, I had decided, to also let myself go.
If you are reading this now, you know that Eve and I are both gone, hopefully to a better place than this ward. Hopefully we have found her mother in heaven and we’re reunited as the family we were before the accident. Hopefully, this act of kindness was the end…the end of The Darkness of Eve.
With my most sincere apologies,
Part 8 of a series. Catch up on The Darkness of Eve
This post was inspired to be written by a prompt from Studio 30+
Prompt: “He took his melancholy out the back door ”
From Katy Brandes , “On the Cusp of Spring.”