This series is a form of creative writing known as fan fiction. Detective Robert Goren is a regular character on the Dick Wolf television show, Law & Order: Criminal Intent. What follows is one longtime viewer’s breath of life into an already popular character.
I’m waiting to hear back from my mother’s doctor. After her recent break they’ve tried lowering her meds back down a bit. The thinking was to stabilize her and then try to get her back to the lower dosage. Last night she had a setback. The problem is nothing appeared to trigger it. She was alone in her room and basically just collapsed mentally all over again. She slept last night and woke this morning in the same fragile state. They opted to pump her full of those damn drugs again and she’ll be down for the day. I’m not sure what the next step is. Keeping the meds elevated leaves her really lethargic at best. But does she need a higher dose. Is it better for her to be unaware of her inner demons? I just don’t know what to even hope for. Whatever is in her best interest is best. Escaping her inner torture is a blessing I’m sure. I know that. But what quality of life is that? Not that a mental break every few weeks is better. It’s beginning to feel like a lose/lose situation. She has been slipping away from me for most of my life. I’ve watched it, seen the gradual mental decomposition and it… Hurts, but she has always known me. An increase at this point means she won’t always communicate or even realize I’m in the room. If she does realize I’m there she may not know who I am.
The lesser of the evils… for her. How do I know what that even is?
All the thinking, trying to figure out what is really best has made me really look at my mom’s life overall. I could say upping meds so that she is lethargic if not catatonic is lousy, but is it better than her moment by moment reality when she is clear and alert? No one but her can really answer that. Clear-headed but haunted, or spacey and at peace? I think it’s one of those situations where you think you know what you’d rather but when presented with the situation for real, your mind could change.
When I think about her relationship with my father… I wonder if she just couldn’t handle him. Did she start backslidding mentally because it was better, easier than staying in the present. Was it easier to get lost in her own psychosis than it was to really admit how lousy her life with her husband was? Even when I was a kid and they’d fight, I knew what he did was wrong. I blamed her for him leaving, but I also thought he treated her badly. He was always so self- important and self-absorbed. Every conversation was turned into something about himself. He had a way of doing that and it drove everyone nuts. You always felt like he was superior, not because he really was, but because he needed to believe he was. His own arrogance led him to believe that he could say whatever the hell he liked to anyone at all – but if they responded, well. How dare they? How dare anyone say anything negative about him?
A fine example of a man who could dish it but couldn’t handle getting back what he brought on himself.
In many ways they were polar opposites. Mom wanted peace and calm while dad thrived on chaos and drama. Two radically different sets of needs trying to coexist in a merged world. I can to this day remember mom trying to talk to him and feeling… less than him. Or that’s how she believed he saw her. One night not long before he left us I heard them fighting. I didn’t understand it very much then. Now as a grown man it kills me. She was asking for the simplest of things. Emotional support. She felt doomed in his presence. He wanted particular things accomplished then slammed her when she tried to do them. The gist was if you can’t be supportive then at the very least, stop dragging me down.
“If you love me why do you take so much pleasure in insulting me just for kicks?”
I can still hear her saying that. How did he respond to her request to back off and stop being so hurtful? By slinging more insults. Pushing more buttons. Belittling her for things undone and insulting anything accomplished. Hitting raw nerves one at a time until she finally snapped and punched him.
I can still see the big, pompous, self-important man on the living room floor choking my mother while I watched from the next room. Mangling the body of the woman who was half his size. Sealing the deal, showing her exactly what type of dirt beneath his shoes he thought her to be. She was good enough to carry his children, cook his meals, cater to his insane extended family, but how dare she… How dare she ask that he treat her with the same respect that she instinctively tried to give him? The nerve of her to initiate a conversation where she simply asked to be treated with a little bit of kindness. A reminder that she needed to feel supported and held up by someone and as her husband, shouldn’t he be the one to want to do that?
My father left that night after finally letting mom go. He was gone for a few hours and I’m sure she prayed he would drive his sorry, drunken ass into a telephone pole. She was oblivious to me even being there. She was just lost in her own thoughts. I lost count of how many times I heard her tell herself out loud that she hated him.
“I hate him. I hate him. I hate him.”
It was almost like a chant.
The next morning she was withdrawn from everything. Bruised and slow moving. She looked defeated physically but emotionally I think he did choke some of the life from her. That was a clear turning point in her sickness. If she stayed lost in her own head, if she withdrew into her own deluded world – well maybe those delusions were better than reality. Maybe in her delusions she fits in. Maybe the people who live in her head, maybe they treat her with kindness. Maybe she is treated like a human being there and maybe she believed that no one on the outside, no one in the real world, would ever treat her well for very long. So she retreats back into her own created safety zone.
All she wanted was to have a husband that adored her and instead I think he truly broke her.