lisa zarcone
Author of The Unspoken Truth


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Going To The Chapel - Do NOT Let The Title Fool You #mentalhealth

Going To The Chapel – Don’t Let The Title Fool You

 It was a hot summer day as I am busy running with the children. It is summer vacation and our lives are filled with high energy.  They say during summer time the schedule gets lighter, but not when you have a house filled with children and their friends!   My husband and I created a happy safe home filled with chaos and laughter.  We were the safe house for all the children in the neighborhood who were not as lucky as our crew.     My past has taught me that not all homes are safe and comfortable like ours.  As the phone rings I pick it up, the voice on the other end brings me right back to that time in my life when all was dark!

Before I could finish the word hello my mother was frantically screaming at me so loud that I had to pull my ear away, so I did not become instantly deaf.   Her fast-paced manic tone told me instantly that my mother was off in a very bad way and me her devoted daughter was going to go on another countless emotional ride to hell.   As I try to calm her down and understand what is happening, I hear her screaming then another voice comes on next.

“Hello is this Lisa Zarcone”, the man asks, and of course I say “Yes”.  I am a police officer and we have come to take your mother to the hospital as there have been many complaints about her out of control behavior.  My heart instantly sinks, as I know all too well what that means, as I continue to hear her screaming bloody murder in the background.  My eyes well up bringing me to a moment when I was a young girl watching the police drag her away kicking, screaming and fighter for her life.  

I compose myself and ask that they take her to St. Raphael’s Hospital (New Haven, CT) as they know her there, and she will get the help that she needs.  You see my mother was what they call the “revolving door” patient in Celentano 1 (the psychiatric unit). My mother was severely mentally ill and struggled for years with this disease.   There were times in her life when she would take herself off her medication, and the downward spiral would begin.  

Here we are again!   I ask the police officer on the phone to please try to be kind to her as she is a very sick woman.  He told me they would try, but unfortunately when my mother was in this state she was violent.  I have been on the other end of the violence too many times to mention and every nerve inside my body is now shaking as I fight off the flash backs of the past to stay in control of my own emotions, as my house filled with innocent children do not need to be connected to that in any way.    The forever balancing act of an abuse survivor.  I was living in two worlds at the same time, trying to do it all, and keep my own personal feelings/thoughts under wraps.  This takes a toll on the brain after years of being beaten down by old patterns they die hard.  The words placed upon me by my own mother drip from my soul tainting me with scars so thick you could never see through to the light of day.  MY SILENCE…

I contact my husband and ask for him to come home and take over so that I can make my way down to Connecticut and handle the situation, making sure that my mother was ok.  You see I was her forever advocate as so many others left her to the way side with me holding the bag!     

My ride down from Massachusetts to Connecticut was always the same during these trying times.  My mind would wonder to the past, the old memoires come flooding back.  I try to focus while I drive but it is nearly impossible.   OMG.. this pattern that I relive repeatedly each time she ends up back in the hospital is always the same.   I am angry, distraught, worried for her safety and guilty on every level because I should be able to save my mother, right??     This is what my past has done to me!

As I make my way through the hospital I know the exact path to take, walking those steps, hearing the loud stomping of my own feet as my heart raced pounding in my ears.  I briefly look over at the big paintings on the wall of the priests, nuns and doctors of the past their eyes staring at me glaring like to say, “YOU AGAIN” and in my head I say back “YES ME”.  The door to the chapel is glowing as the light is on in the middle of this insane darkness.   I whisper, “I will be back soon”.

I hit the buzzard and I announce who I am and ask if I can come in to talk about my mother Joann.   The nurse of the other end says, “Ok Lisa come in”.  She knows me by first name, that says it all right there.    I make my way to the nurse’s station we have a brief chat about what has happened and then she takes me to my mother.

There she is my mother sitting in a chair talking to herself, as she is crying, swearing and spitting on the ground spewing such vulgarity that you would never think such a devout catholic woman would ever say out loud!   As I stand there just taking it all in, she turns her head with this evil glare in her eyes she says to me, “Are you hear to take me home you bitch”, and I calmly say, “No mom not today”.   Then she unleashes her vile bantering onto me with such force my insides shake to the core of my soul.   When she was done screaming so loud that she pees her pants, as well as the floor, she sat in her urine and starting to sing this crazy song about a monkey’s asshole waving her arms in the air instantly high as a kite fueled by the manic energy bursting at every seams.  I stand there in horror.  I have witnessed this display many times before, and it never lessens the pain of the moment, it enhances it each time I see it.   My insides scream as my inner child weeps for protection, but my outer shell is tough as nails as I manage to get out the words that need to be said in that moment.

When it is time to go, its back to vulgarity, blame, hateful words and tears.  She weeps screaming at god why do you have to be so cruel.  Screaming for her only son now in the hands of the lord.   It’s a very sad and disturbing display to witness when all you want is your mother to be OK.  All you want is your mother to be your mother, but in reality, I am the mother!  I am the caregiver, protector, diligent daughter/mother all in one.     I kiss her on the forehead as she weeps, and I leave.

I make sure that the doctors and nurses are all on the same page, and that they have all my information to contact me, and I assured them that I will be calling in later and I will be back.   I always made sure that my mother was cared for the best way possible.  It was hard being her daughter.

As I walk out the door and hear it slam and lock behind me tears well up in my eyes, that old familiar pain seeping out of me.  As I walk I make my way to that chapel door and sit up front closest to the alter.  There is nobody in there and I am grateful.  I feel the angels always knew when I needed alone time with god.  I weep silently and share my most inner thoughts with the spirit that I feel moving through me.   I always ask why and what do I need to do next?   I drop to my knees and pray.  I pray for strength, courage and the inner faith to see us both through another battle that continually tears us apart.  Mother and daughter connected by the love line never to be broken is chipped away by an illness that is bigger than both of us.    I ask for forgiveness for anything I may have done wrong in my life to deserve this, then I sit in silence and wait.   I wait for answers.  I wait for calmness and peace.   As I close my eyes I feel wind blowing over me, cool and calming.  I breathe it in as the tears begin to flow harder more intense.  Then it all stops.  As the lights flicker in this little chapel of peace I am OK.   I get up and make my way to the door holding on to my faith with all my might.  As I make my way down the hall I look at those paintings and I say, “watch over my mom I love her, and she needs to be ok”.   Then I leave making my way back home to my family who needs me.     I am torn between two worlds every day and my faith is what has seen me through.   I am the constant juggler.

Embrace The Journey.

God Bless

Lisa Zarcone

Author/Advocate/Public Speaker/Blogger/Inspirationist

The Unspoken Truth A Memoir