An excerpt from the memoir I’m writing, while my state is in lockdown again

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a very hard year. Here in New Mexico, the covid-19 cases are spiking and we have been ordered to shelter in place once again.

Throughout this year I have written at least a few words in my memoir every day. I am writing about events that happened more than fifty years ago, when I had a post-traumatic breakdown and my abusers put me in a state mental institution. They did this when I was 14 years old, against my doctor’s advice.

I feel like I need to write this story, both for my own peace of mind and for the many hundreds of others who had a similar story, but were never given the chance to tell it.

Sometimes I feel like I’m time traveling, from one crazy year to another. I am so thankful for my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, which gives me a deep, abiding peace, regardless of my current circumstances. Without Him, I doubt if I could write this story, especially now, in the middle of a worsening pandemic and another lockdown.

I am posting here below, the 460 words that I wrote in my memoir today. Be warned, this story is sad. It involves a death. Not violent or gory, but still sad. Please don’t read this if you believe it may be a trauma trigger for you.

In almost all of my memoir I am changing everyone’s name, for the sake of privacy. But in this story, I will use what I believe was my fellow patient’s real first name, as a memorial to her.

My book has not been published yet, as I am still writing the first draft. I designed this cover on my computer graphics design program. However — thanks to my ‘slight’ OCD tendencies — the cover is subject to change.

* * *

Margaret. She was skin and bone when I first saw her. Tall and lanky, with wispy gray hair. She had the haunted eyes that so many of my fellow patients had, dark and hollow.

She wore threadbare dresses and scuffed slippers, shuffling around the hallways like a silent ghost. I never heard her speak. Occasionally, Margaret would smack herself in the head with the heel of her hand. But she never did it hard enough to incite the ire of the ward attendants.

I noticed when she stopped eating and drinking, because it was my duty, at that time, to clear away the dishes after every meal and help wash them. Margaret’s plate and glass were always left full and untouched.

Every day, for each of our three meals, Margaret obediently moved with the crowd to the dining room, limping down the hall in her scuffed gray slippers, sitting in silence at her customary seat, staring at nothing, while everyone around her ate and drank with abandon. She sat in front of the door at the first table when you entered the dining hall, so it was impossible not to notice her sitting there like a frozen statue, staring into the distance, never taking a bite or a swallow of her food or drink.

I wondered why someone so skinny did not want to eat. During those two years between my mom’s two marriages, when we rarely had food in the house and I never had money for school lunches, with my stomach constantly growling and the other kids making fun of me for being so thin, I would have been thrilled to have this much food to eat, three times a day, every day of the week.

There was always at least one nurse attendant with us in the dining hall. Did any of them ever notice that Margaret was not eating?

It never occurred to me to say anything to the nurses about it. Margaret was at least my parents’ age. Surely she would start eating and drinking again, when she got hungry and thirsty enough.

I was walking out of my dorm room, a few feet behind Margaret, when I saw her collapse. She didn’t appear to be breathing. Just a moment ago she was alive, like me, like all the rest of us, shuffling down the hall of the state mental institution, going nowhere. But now, looking down at her colorless, sunken face, I knew she was dead.

A nurse checked for a pulse, then ran to the office phone. Two men dressed in white came and carried her lifeless body off the ward.

Margaret. She lived a sad life and died a sad death. And I saw it happen, when I was fifteen years old.

53 thoughts on “An excerpt from the memoir I’m writing, while my state is in lockdown again

  1. @preacherbiker November 19, 2020 / 2:18 pm

    Hugs for you. Love of my life

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sue Cass November 19, 2020 / 2:24 pm

    Thank you for sharing. That’s another step forward in healing. It isn’t just in your head or on paper for a book now. It’s out there for everyone to see. Good for you!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Linda Lee/Lady Quixote November 19, 2020 / 2:26 pm

      Thank you, thank you, thank you. I didn’t cry when I wrote this, though I wanted to. But your affirming words just broke the dam.

      Healing tears are good!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Sue Cass November 19, 2020 / 2:47 pm

        Yes they are so you just cry your heart out and the Lord is catching every one of them in His special jar with Linda written on it. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  3. bornagain732 November 19, 2020 / 2:58 pm

    I haven’t read this yet… but I will when it’s quiet snd I have a box of Kleenex close by ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. simplywendi November 19, 2020 / 4:43 pm

    wow………I can’t even imagine experiencing all of this………sending up prayers for you this evening as you write all of these memories on paper!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. atimetoshare.me November 19, 2020 / 5:04 pm

    I know this is hard for you but it will be cathartic. Things from my past which seemed so insurmountable then have faded with time, the help of a God fearing husband and God who looks beyond my faults and only sees Jesus.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Linda Lee/Lady Quixote November 20, 2020 / 9:09 am

      Dear Kathy, you bless me every time you comment. Thank you so much!!

      I’m sorry it took me so long to reply. I thought I already had replied, but apparently this was one of those times where I replied in my head, but didn’t get my reply in writing, when something — probably a phone call — interrupted me. Duh!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Salvageable November 19, 2020 / 5:49 pm

    Reliving that memory must be stressful. We tend to think of eating disorders as an adolescent problem, but they can strike at any age. And they are hard to understand and hard to watch. God’s blessings to you. J.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Lisa Beth November 19, 2020 / 7:50 pm

    I truly appreciate your courage and fortitude as you share from painful memories. I must have missed something while following your blog, is Growing Up Crazy a book I can buy? I looked for it but can’t find it.
    Thank you for sharing during these turbulent times, God bless you and your home.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Lee/Lady Quixote November 19, 2020 / 8:12 pm

      Thank you so much, Lisa Beth, for your kind comment. And thank you, too, for asking about buying my memoir. I haven’t finished writing the book yet. Obviously, I need to make that clearer in this post! Duh, sometimes the obvious just flies right over my head!

      I created the book cover on my computer graphics design program, and purchased an ISBN for the back cover. But it is not published yet. My guess, it will be ready sometime in 2021.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. successbmine November 19, 2020 / 10:45 pm

    It is so sad to realize some people die before they have even lived. It sounds like Margaret was one of them. It makes you wish you could do something to change their story to a happier one, but, of course, we cannot do that. Thank you for sharing her story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Lee/Lady Quixote November 21, 2020 / 9:39 am

      Thank you, Diane. I thought I had already replied to your comment, but apparently I only replied in my head. Silly me!

      I’m loving your coloring book. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • successbmine November 23, 2020 / 11:36 pm

        I think you did “like” it, so maybe that’s why you thought you replied. I’m so pleased that you are enjoying my coloring book. Have a great week.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. lavenderandlevity November 19, 2020 / 11:01 pm

    I only skimmed because it is late and I’m up feeling unsettled about my own dreams. But, what I read was beautiful. Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Lee/Lady Quixote November 21, 2020 / 9:35 am

      I found your comment in spam! I can’t imagine why, you are definitely not a spammer. Thank you for your kind words. ((HUGS)) back! ❤

      Like

    • Linda Lee/Lady Quixote November 21, 2020 / 9:42 am

      Awww, thank you so very much. ❤

      Apparently, when I receive and approve a comment very late at night my time, I tell myself that I will reply in the morning when I’m awake enough to make sense — and then I forget. Sorry about that!

      Liked by 1 person

        • Linda Lee/Lady Quixote November 21, 2020 / 11:43 am

          Oh no, your kind and gentle nature shines through in everything you write! My mind has been too focused on my ancient history, lately. Writing my memoir is, indeed, good for my soul. But not always so much for my mind, if you know what I mean!

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Brian (SearchingForLostSoul) November 20, 2020 / 6:59 am

    Sending prayers 😢For you and her…

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Bruce Cooper November 20, 2020 / 7:45 am

    I don’t know what it is about you Linda Lee, but during our numerous conversations you’ve kinda wormed yourself into a place in my heart and I can easily understand why your preacherbiker husband loves you like he does. There is a gentleness in your heart that shows itself in the words that you speak and the things that you share. I am one of those crazy people who thinks that everything happens for a reason and how each one of us becomes finely attuned to a specific reality that is necessary, so that we can identify with others who experience the same thing. It’s a baptism by fire kind of thing and you can’t buy or read about what you learn by going through it. Your sensitivities are alive when others sleep. Can’t help thinking that God is proud of you and that your book will indeed bring Him His due glory and when all is said and done, that is really what it is all about. What He has done by taking a negative and turning it into a positive, in and through us, His vessel. And you are indeed His vessel! May God’s grace, peace, joy and blessings continue to rain on you and yours. – Bruce

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Lee/Lady Quixote November 20, 2020 / 8:46 am

      Oh, dear brother Bruce. Thank you. God bless you.

      Anything that’s good in me, it’s due to God’s amazing love and grace. I was so broken, so lost. Deeply wounded, desperate, and ANGRY! But God…

      Like

    • Linda Lee/Lady Quixote November 20, 2020 / 9:06 am

      Thank you, Ann. He is, indeed! On August 1, when I was in the middle of writing about the single most hurtful thing that has ever happened in my life, I took the trash down to the dumpster in the alley behind our house. There, in our back yard, a few feet away from the alley and the dumpster, I saw something red lying in the grass. I assumed it was a piece of litter, so I picked it up, intending to throw it in the dumpster.

      What I picked up was a very thin piece of tree bark, about the size of the palm of my hand, that someone had carved into the shape of a Valentine heart. It has been painted red on one side, and these words are written in white paint, on the red side of the heart:

      Jesus Loves You

      We had just had a strong wind, rain, and hail storm. How did it survive the storm, and how did it end up in our yard? Wow wow WOW!

      I wrote about it in a blog post a few days later. You may have read that post and even commented on it, I don’t remember now. But every day since then, when writing my story hurts… when LIFE hurts… I remember that Valentine. I remember that Jesus loves me. Indeed, He loves us all. I have learned, through all my sorrows, that we can trust in His great, amazing love. And always, when we trust in Him, sooner or later He will deliver us from our sorrows and bring GOOD out of the hurt!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. thewheelchairteen November 22, 2020 / 6:01 am

    I think that your story is definitely one that the world needs to hear so thank you for being courageous enough to share (And I hope that you’ll be able to benefit from the process too). Your writing is breath-taking: just 450 words, and I already felt drawn in and taken to another world. It’s made all the more startling by the fact that it’s real. Poor Margeret. She was alive, she breathed, had hopes and dreams… At least by writing about her you are helping to bring her to life again so to speak. I am completely captivated by your words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Lee/Lady Quixote November 22, 2020 / 9:27 am

      Your precious comment here has literally brought me to tears. I just love you! I am very much looking forward to reading your memoir when it’s finished.

      I reblogged your post about fun facts and wheelchairs. Your writing is AMAZING. And your attitude is even MORE amazing! ❤❤❤

      Like

  13. Anna Waldherr November 22, 2020 / 9:06 am

    This story is heartbreaking, Linda — both for your sake and Margaret’s. It was a gift that you were there for her as a witness. It is a gift that you would honor her memory now.

    You have spoken of healing through God’s love, in the years since. I am sure your book will help others toward their healing, as well.

    With love,

    A. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  14. ibikenyc November 24, 2020 / 11:46 am

    Breathtaking.

    What a picture this paints.

    Thank you for writing. I am looking forward to reading the whole story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Lee/Lady Quixote November 24, 2020 / 2:01 pm

      Thank you! These last few days of writing have been soooo hard. But I’ve come too far to give up now.

      Reading your comment gave me the extra boost I needed today. ❤❤❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • ibikenyc November 24, 2020 / 2:05 pm

        Oh, my goodness! (Blushing) I am chuffed! 🙂 I’m glad you’re prevailing through the difficult parts!

        Sorry you guys are back on lockdown. SIGH. We sure do seem to be going back in that direction here, too. Staten Island is now the most-affected borough.

        I am consciously and sincerely grateful to God every day that I don’t have any obligations outside the home.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Paul Martin November 24, 2020 / 2:42 pm

    Your writing is a ministry to yourself, and to the people you reach. It’s a ministry to yourself, because with each word you write, the healing comes. Our scars are reminders that we have been healed. And your words are a ministry to others in that you can reach others who’ve gone through similar things, and be able to offer them the HOPE of Jesus Christ! Thank you SO MUCH for being willing to share your story! I LOVE reading your blog!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Phoebe Wagner November 25, 2020 / 6:46 pm

    Dear dear Linda Lee/ Lady Quixote, these mere 450 words or so took my breath away. Thank you for plugging away every day at your memoir. It will be a remarkable book and testament to your life when it is finished. I would write more but just not sure my comment will take, given that I could never comment before. Am trying a different email this time…

    Love,

    Phoebe

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Lee/Lady Quixote November 25, 2020 / 7:06 pm

      Your comment came through! Yaaaay!!
      Thank you so much, Phoebe. Your encouragement is huge. ❤❤❤❤❤

      Like

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