Finally, there is clarity? Then and now with OnceAndFuture

Thank you for your writing. You're a very good writer by the way. Not everyone can make a story out of hardship like you. Your last post, although we don't know if it's indeed prefiguring a positive plot twist, seems to convey hope. And because of that, your story is still incredibly helpful. For me, it's a reminder that even the darkest moments can pass.
I wish you best of luck, the kind of true strength that only comes from knowing what you already overcame, and a newfound meaning in life.
I hate coming back here, even just to check in, under such dire circumstances. I thought I had some hope back in December when I posted here. But once again everything has gotten crushed.

My financial situation is incredibly grim. I've almost depleted my savings and I'm owed over $10,000 by my business partners and $2,500 by a bank. I'm down to less than $500 in my bank account after I pay my rent this month and there is no guarantee I will see even a cent from either my business partners and the bank by the end of March. I've stopped going out to anything, even to my therapy group, that I don't have to go to in a desperate attempt to save money. I haven't left the apartment since Friday as a result. I have no friends, no online friends, no nothing. The only people I have left to talk to are my relatives, none of whom even live in this state. The only saving grace right now is that I have enough to eat for about two weeks.

My migraines have come back terribly and I spent the entire month of January with one. My neurologist said that I had the highest migraine pain score she had ever seen--and this is with my botox treatment--but we have largely run out of treatment options. I want to move to somewhere with more stable weather so that I am not in constant pain, but I cannot afford to, and I cannot break the apartment lease I had to take here.

My divorce with The Signal is almost formalized. We met with the mediator last week. I think the agreement was fair. But I don't know how I'm going to pay her for her share of the mortgage unless I get paid soon. And once the divorce is finalized I will no longer have health insurance. I won't be able to have the botox treatment--of course it seems as if it is no longer working anyway--and I won't even be able to afford my rescue meds. And though things were bad between us, we were always able to talk. Now I have nobody to talk to. I spend pretty much all the time crying to be honest.

The most frustrating thing is that I am working almost all the time. But I just feel more lonely. Working at home with almost no contact with my clients has just isolated me more than ever. I know I need to find a full-time job somewhere. But there aren't any jobs here in my field, and I can't afford to move or break the apartment lease to move somewhere else. I feel completely trapped here. I keep trying to look for a silver lining but there is none. I have been crying, screaming for help from everybody I can think of but I am getting no answer. There is nobody to talk to.

I'm sorry this has been so much of a downer. Know that I am still alive. It has to get better--I'm afraid it can't get much worse.
I am SO sorry. Is there any possible way you could have another person in your therapy group give you rides? It seems like you really need to go.
My legal brain is telling me that there's something not right with your situation. Does the divorce mediator know about your financial situation? Does The Signal have no means of support? How are you owed $12,500 during a divorce, that your divorce attorney isn't trying to collect for you or at least have applied on the "losses" side of the column? Do you have an attorney that you could consult with? If you don't have an attorney, please, please, please look into getting an attorney. You might qualify for a free or low-cost attorney through legal aid, particularly since you have some serious physical hardships.

About your financial situation, a lot of people file for bankruptcy after a divorce since divorces are seriously expensive for everyone involved. In the end, it might be worth it to break your lease for a better job and better living prospects in a different city, even if you don't end up filing for bankruptcy. You'll take a hit to your credit score, but breaking your lease isn't the end of the world. Especially when you are uncollectable... which is what it sounds like you are rapidly approaching. Legal aid might also be of some help there.

Anyway, no need for a response to me, just some things that you might not have thought about. Wishing you well.
Please Once and Future, know that there is help and hope for you if you hang on. I am so sorry for your ongoing pain. If there is anything we can do long distance aside from offering sympathy, understanding and advice let us know. Avid researchers here could possibly find you the help you need if you let us know where you are located.

For medical insurance, Medicaid covers people with disabilities, which you probably could qualify for, and if your state has its own program the coverage may be quite good.

Your depression makes everything an uphill battle but you NEED help. Try the group you had been attending. Leave a message for the group leader, or go by the meeting and talk to anyone there you felt even a bit of connection to. It must feel nearly impossible to reach out for connection and services, they are out there though.

Your lease is not an unbreakable thing. You do not need to live in poverty and pain because of a lease! If you were to find a job elsewhere you could always make a payment plan for the landlord, if the landlord cannot find a new lessee quickly. See if your landlord can take late delayed payment. Heck, if you are sick and disabled but working let them go through the eviction process, it can take awhile,you can at least pay for other necessities and your finances might improve.

Do your partners understand your situation? Are they in similar straits, or do they have some money to start paying you? You may feel getting a lawyer is more than you can handle so you can try insisting on your legal pay yourself. Let your partners borrow from someone to pay what they owe you!

Please keep reaching out, even a little bit if that is all you can do, there are people out there who will help.

“And I’ve been waiting for nine years now and…” – Jale, “Nine Years”

Yes, this is really me.

So what all happened in the (looks carefully) five and a half years since I posted last? Well I unintentionally left on a bit of a cliffhanger, being near broke and being owed about $10,000. Thankfully—if I remember right—my business partner fronted me $2,000 so I could make it through the next month. And eventually the whole $10,000 came through, followed by a gig that gave me enough money to finance a move out of where I was staying so I could move to the Southwest, and even enough to rebuild a small nest egg.

In March 2019 I moved to Tucson, AZ. At first the gig continued for a while, and I was able to start to make a living there. I met up with a couple of meetup groups and slowly started to feel like I’d made the right decision for one. My migraines, which had wrecked my previous year, started to disappear. Then the gig suddenly dried up with nothing to replace it. After a couple of months I was desperate enough to start filling out surveys for small bits of cash. I think I went about four months without any consulting work, though in October I got one small gig. The nest egg was down to almost nothing. I had to borrow money to pay rent. Things were looking bad again. I traveled back to visit my dad for Christmas. I came close to asking him for a loan, something I’d held back from doing before and really didn’t want to do again. He’d gotten re-married in April and I still didn’t know how he was feeling about his future. At the end of the visit he started feeling violently ill. Also the news started talking about some strange disease showing up in China. Those were the last things I remember before I left.

On the drive back I really thought about ending it all. This wasn’t the life I wanted to have. I started thinking that I’d never be able to do any of the things I’d really wanted to do in life. It was looking increasingly unlikely that the consulting job would work out. But I was still mentally and physically unready to start working in an office again. I still felt crushed by my past. The only thing that kept me on the road were my cats…who would feed them if I wasn’t there? I still felt indebted to them for keeping me company during the migraines back East.

I got back to Tucson to a phone call from dad’s wife. He had an intestinal blockage that needed major surgery. A few days later he called me to tell me the blockage was a large malignant tumor. I remember then lying in bed for days, thinking to myself I had to get out of this for him. Even though we’d never really been close, I felt like I couldn’t end things now, not while he was sick. It wouldn’t be fair to him or his new wife or my sister or anyone. I started doing some more things for the consultancy, even putting together an online course—it didn’t make enough money to pay for everything, but it at least allowed me to hold on.

Of course in March 2020 the pandemic started. The bad news was that my meetup groups stopped, never to start again unfortunately. The one social outlet I had disappeared overnight. The good news was that I managed to get an almost full-time gig, one that lasted over two years. That one gig managed to pull me out of not just my financial hole but my emotional pit as well. In my off time I built a pool table in the living room of my place and played for hours a day. When the pandemic started to lift I joined a pool league…I didn’t make many friends there, but at least it was a way to get out. The full-time gig was so successful that other places started noticing, and I was getting more work. Eventually I saved up enough money to move to an apartment closer to the city center—though I had to leave my pool table behind as it didn’t fit in the new place. But the downside was that I was working more and more. The pool league eventually stopped, and I didn’t join another one. I was spending all of my time either working, sleeping, or eating. I wasn’t exercising, and I started putting on a lot of weight. My clothes didn’t fit any more—too embarrassed to go out and get better-fitting clothes, I started spending more time sitting at home in the dark rotating the few outfits I could still fit into, or my bathrobe, or on really bad days, just underwear.

All this time dad still battled his cancer. By late 2021 it had spread to his lungs and liver. By mid-2022 it was starting to become clear that his chemo wasn’t reversing his condition. I visited him for Thanksgiving last year and asked his wife to give me a clear diagnosis (by now he wasn’t really updating me on anything). She was honest that she wasn’t sure how long he had. I had saved up enough that I could afford to move away from Tucson. I decided it was time to move closer to dad. I had been away from my mom when she passed away and I felt like I couldn’t forgive myself if I was away again when dad passed. So I started looking at apartments nearby, even though my apartment lease in Tucson didn’t run out until August 2023. I was hoping he’d still be around when I was able to move. (Spoiler alert before the next entry: he is.)

Part 2 when I can write it.
The 12 months between July 2022 and July 2023 were about the worst I've ever had thrown at me. In July 2022 I had a nervous breakdown over work. My main client was asking me to do work that really shouldn't have been done by someone outside of the office, and my solutions to their problem ended up alienating everybody. After the breakdown I was asked to take a month away. I'd been working 60-70 hours a week and literally didn't know what to do with myself now that my work went to almost zero. I took a two-week trip to visit relatives and friends, and came back and slept for two weeks. Afterwards my main client quickly cut me off, which was a relief but left me with almost no income. Fortunately this time I had enough savings to live on. Unfortunately without much else to do I started eating and eating and eating. I think I put on 40 pounds over those 12 months. In December I started working with another main client...the good news is that I am still working with this client and they are very happy with everything I've done. The bad news was that five side clients were handed to me, and soon I was working 60-70 hours a week again.

And that, and one of my relatives passing away, and a side client which seemed determined to drive me to an early grave led to another nervous breakdown in mid-July. That was particularly tough as I had to pull myself together to go on vacation with my dad and his new family, then get back to Tucson to move immediately afterwards. Somehow I did manage to get through everything, get everything into boxes, the cats into carriers, and myself into my car to make it to my new place. I've been here now for a month and a half, and although it's been an adventure--for starters, my car was stolen two weeks after move-in, but I had a tracker on it so it was recovered quickly--things are getting better. My business partner has noted that I seem happier than in years, and I have started dieting and exercising finally.

The other things, though...I am going through the longest case of anhedonia I could have ever imagined. Nothing seems remotely fun anymore. I'm just eating and sleeping and working mainly. I used to enjoy playing computer games, but I almost have to force myself to play now. I don't read any more. I haven't watched a TV show or a movie in years. Just about all I can stand to do to pass the time is to drive around and listen to podcasts or music. Really the most I'm enjoying anything is lying in bed at night listening to music and holding my cat while she sleeps. I don't know what I'd do without her.

I haven't been on a date in five years. I can easily see myself going another five without one. Or maybe the rest of my life. I don't want to go through it any more. I don't want to put someone having to be around me any more either. I'm not saying this to attract pity, I'm saying it because I know it's true. I'm not enjoying life now and I can't imagine anyone spending a lot of time around me would enjoy it either. I don't know what I need to do to make my life any better. I've been to four different counselors and therapists over the last five years, and been on three or four different medications. Nothing has worked...nothing even feels like it might work.

I know this isn't common to read on a board like this but...I am really, really angry at myself that I tried being poly. Would my life be any better if I hadn't? I'm starting to think so. I don't know if I'd still be with The Signal. With all the breakdowns I've had recently...I can't see anyone wanting to stay with me, and I wouldn't blame them. The worst thing is that I can't even talk about what's wrong to anyone. Talking to the counselors about it was like talking in a foreign language. And there's nobody else to turn to. I guess that's why I'm writing about it here and not somewhere else.

It's been a miracle that my dad has managed to stay alive as long as he has. He's been in Stage 4 for over two years now. The cancer has spread around his body so much that one of his tumors has actually broken through his skin. A few other tumors are so large you can see them even when he wears a baggy t-shirt (and since he's lost over 80 pounds since his diagnosis, all his shirts are baggy). He hasn't had chemo for over six months. Instead he's been on this weird diet in an effort to "starve the cancer". It's not working but he and his wife have put so much faith in it nobody can talk them out of it. But somehow he's still mowing the lawn at his farmhouse and working on a few odd jobs around the place. He is a lot more tired. I'm grateful that I've moved here while he can still get around and do a few things. But I lost my mom to this. I know how it ends.

So, right now there is no future for me. There's today, and a list of things that will happen in the next two months. That's as far ahead as I'm thinking right now, and even those things are just dates on a calendar. Any day my life could change dramatically--I could lose my elderly stepgrandmother, or my dad during that time. Even myself if I'm not careful. Right now I am just trying to do my best today, go to sleep, wake up, and do my best tomorrow. That's all I can handle.
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I am glad to hear from you! I have thought of you over the years and hoped you were making it through. I am sorry you have not found a treatment that works against your depression. One of my partners has suffered from it most of his life and is fed up with treatments that do not help. If you have the energy at some point, you could see if your diagnosis is correct. I suspect my partner is actually bipolar with his “manic“ phases mainly manifesting as becoming so wrapped up in projects he goes without much sleep. That makes him feel good so it never occurred to him to mention this to his doctors.

I think it is good both of, and for, you to have found a way to be with your Dad during this time. You both seem to share an admirable determination.

Please keep trying as you clearly have people who you care about and you have more of value to contribute to those around you.

Just sending a caring thought your way. I doubt any advice could help. It's just very tough right now :(
"He fills himself with culture
He gives himself an ulcer" -- Gang of Four, "At Home He's a Tourist"

Two things happened since I last posted. Well, there were other things, like Christmas and all the events around that, but two I wanted to talk about.

The first was that I went on a cruise last month. I won enough points on a phone app to buy the cruise...well, almost, as I still had to pay taxes and fees, but it was at least a lot cheaper than it would have been otherwise. Because of the nature of the purchase, I had to go by myself--which I wanted to do anyway. The only other cruise I'd been on was with my dad and his new family and it all felt very claustrophobic. This one I would be able to meet loads of women and have a fantastic time with them and who am I kidding. Not that I didn't have a good time. I got to visit a couple of nice port cities, ate far too much food, saw a magic show, etc. And of course I was away from the apartment and dad's situation and work (which was particularly good as I'd lost my main client a few weeks before the cruise started). So that was definitely a positive.

I did meet a couple of women. One was about my age. We sat next to each other on the trolley around Cozumel and talked for a couple hours. That was all very nice, but she had a husband and so I just treated it as a chance to talk to someone. The other was a younger woman who happened to be from near Tucson. We talked for a good period of time, I invited her to a show or dinner later, she wasn't interested, and that was that. Honestly, after not having had even a date over the last five years, it felt good to even talk to someone I was interested in. Here in this town I haven't even met anyone single and my age yet (more about that later).

There was one interesting situation late one night. I was going back to my room and a couple walked into the elevator with me and a bunch of older passengers. The man was about my age or older, the woman was quite a bit younger and very attractive. Both were a bit soused and the woman was wearing very high heels and wobbling a bit. The man repeatedly said to the woman "see, you don't need me" and the woman responded "no, I need you for introductions." It wasn't an argument, they were laughing about it. So I figured they were doing some roleplay...but whether that was swinging, hotwife,, who knows. And then later I thought maybe I should have asked them about it. I mean I kind of would really sort of like to get laid once this decade.

But maybe I don't want to get involved in something like that again.

"Two steps forward
Six steps back, six steps back, six steps back, six steps back" -- Gang of Four, "At Home He's a Tourist"

A pall hung over the cruise. The night before I left I called my stepmom to see how things were going back home. I could hear talking in the background and I asked about it. "The nurse is here," she said. Oh, for your mom? "No, for your dad."

Dad didn't have an at-home care nurse. At least until after I left for the cruise.

I found out what happened after I got back. It was actually worse than I thought the whole time I was away. Dad's hemoglobin levels were at "go to emergency room immediately". He spent three days in the hospital, taking on three units of blood. When I got back he was out, but looked in horrible shape. Apparently the situation had been really serious as he'd talked to a chaplain about whether this might be the end or not.

After the transfusion his hemoglobin levels stabilized, although his last blood test showed they were creeping downwards again. It's possible his liver is starting to fail, and his body can't produce enough of it to operate effectively. Or--since this is dad--he'll stabilize again and outlive everybody. It is true though that he is very tired, even by walking for a few minutes. He tries to hide it by leaning against things or "needing to watch something on TV", although he did admit it to me last week.

So one more thing to worry about.

"She said she was ambitious
So she accepts the process" -- Gang of Four, "At Home He's a Tourist"

One of the things I kind of accepted when I moved here was that I'd have to put up with dad and his new family's political leanings and their church. The first one I try to skate around by just leaving when they put on the "Fair and Balanced Channel". Honestly I'd consider going anyway when they put on TV--I don't go to someone's house to watch them watch TV.

With the other one I thought I could Kobiyashi Maru it by attending a few of the services to help my stepgrandmother (and increasingly dad) get around their old, large church. And it's true that I've started volunteering at their food bank, because I've done that at a lot of other places and it's something I enjoy doing. But everything else at that church....they really want me to join the church and start going every Sunday. I've been sort of religious most of my life, and I haven't minded going to more liberal services. But this place, oof. It's a diverse church demographically, but an extremely conservative one theologically. They're not even OK with divorced people remarrying (how my stepmom handles this is her business, but it makes me feel like a second-class person). Of course that's nothing compared with how they feel about people with different sexual or gender identities. I feel like a traitor to my LGBTQ+ friends and colleagues even being there.

I can't accept this process. My sister who just came to visit is encouraging me to stop going. But that would upset the rest of the family to the point that they'd probably stop speaking to me entirely. (And if they knew about my past? I'd lucky to ever see any of them again.) So I think I'm somewhat stuck. I think the best course of action is to quietly step away by being out of town more often on weekends. And I probably could say that I don't "deserve" to join the church because I'm divorced.

Or maybe I could find a partner who attends a less restrictive church and go there with her. Judging by the number of churches and liquor stores in this city, there's not much to do here but go to church and drink.
"You call me a fool, you say it's a crazy scheme
This one's for real, I've already bought the dream" -- Steely Dan, "Deacon Blues"

When I lived in Tucson I made a friend I'll call Dan, because he reminds me of a character in a Steely Dan song to be honest. I met him at a writer's group there. Dan got divorced around the same time I did, so we had a few things in common, and after the writer's group broke up after COVID we stayed in touch.

In a lot of ways Dan is kind of like a typical successful but divorced guy of his age. Business-wise he went from strength to strength when he was younger, and about 10 years ago he started his own company and made a decent amount of money. His home life didn't go as well. I won't go into all the details. Anyway, like a lot of divorced people Dan ended up spending a lot more time by himself. He tried to fill that time by writing novels, and to some extent that worked. He's completed one which is with an agent now, and he's nearly completed a second. Truth be told they're pretty good, although they're not in a genre I read much of: he's been disciplined enough to take criticism from editors and re-write large parts of his work to good effect. I haven't been able to write anything since I left the group myself, though I'm thinking of re-writing a short story for an anthology this summer (it would be my second publication there).

Now that Dan sees himself more as an author than a businessman, he's been thinking about living an itinerant author's lifestyle. He works from home so he's not stuck in any one place, and he's considering renting out his house and traveling from one city to another on the proceeds. Problem is he's been thinking about this for a few years now and it hasn't happened. He is getting closer to renting the house out, though...maybe in a few months. He says. He's thinking about moving to Washington state for a while. Or maybe Rhode Island. Or New Orleans. He hears the south of France is pretty nice. At one point he was even thinking about Montevideo in Uruguay (for the record, he is fluent in neither Spanish nor French).

Wait, why am I talking about this? OK, so at one point Dan was considering writing a story featuring a poly character. Without thinking I asked him what kind of poly he foresaw for the character. "What do you mean?" Well, you know, are they going to be in a triad, a quad, a cluster, maybe they're into anarchic polyamory... He asked for an explanation of all of those. After I explained, he said, huh, you seem to know a lot about that, how is that?

It occurred to me that I had never mentioned that I'd been in a poly relationship to anyone outside the relationship, this board, or (as I've mentioned) to therapists who seemed baffled by it all. I figured that Dan and I had already talked about a lot of strange stuff by then, so I admitted that I'd been in a poly relationship myself. Of course he had a million questions, only about three or so of which I really wanted to answer. The others I fended away with a mix of half-truths and no comments. Either he didn't notice or he didn't care....obviously I'd learned the lingo so I must know what I was talking about, right?

Dan looked at the ceiling for a while, as if thinking about something in his past. Then he looked at the floor and said, "I wish my wife and I had done that."

I've often wondered how people on the outside of polyamory (I'm not going to say "mono", because I want to include the polycurious) look at people in poly relationships. It feels like there's an odd mix of anger and jealousy. ("How dare you have a relationship with more than one person...because that might be fun and that's not fair.") But it also feels like there are people like Dan. Again, I'm not going to go into his past, but there have been other times when he's suggested that if there was a socially-acceptable "safety valve" to their relationship, maybe they'd still be together. Like if it was OK for them to be with other partners for a time, then they could maintain their marriage. Is that reasonable? Well, probably not; I never did tell Dan about how awful a lot of the relationship was, and how long after it ended it chewed at the foundations of our marriage until the whole thing collapsed. But it was interesting how he treated poly as a sort of might-have-been: if only we could have tried....

Really, though, Dan--near the end you and your ex couldn't agree on where to go for breakfast. You think you two could have hammered out a poly agreement that would have suited you both?
"Oh my, oh my, have you seen the weather?" -- Prefab Sprout, "When Love Breaks Down"

OK, this is going to be a two-part post. Part 1 doesn't involve poly so if you want to skip this post, go ahead. You might want to skip it anyway, because this is about this past week.


Awful thing #1: Migraines. Yes, they're back. When I lived in Tucson I rarely had them. I didn't realize how good I had it. I knew they were going to get worse when I moved out here to be closer to Dad, but...this week was a reminder of the bad old days, when I had migraines that lasted for days on end. These last eight days I've been incapacitated for the greater part of six of them (and the other two weren't totally migraine-free either). The reason for the migraines: same as when I lived in the northeast--the up-and-down weather here. 67 yesterday, snow this morning, back to the 50's tomorrow, two days of thunderstorms coming. Which means I can expect to have more migraines for the coming week too. I missed pretty much every event I had on my calendar last week, and this week looks pretty bad too.

As a consultant, migraines = no work. Which means no money. Now right now I have enough to make it through a few months, but it's not a great idea to be going backwards. We're in the middle of sending a proposal to a new client, and I'm hoping it will at least be partly accepted. That will be a relief...but then I'll need to start working on it. I'm not sure exactly how.

The one possible light at the end of the tunnel is that I'm going to be taking a sleep study...the bad news is that it isn't until April. And I am seeing my general physician in two weeks. Unfortunately the meds she prescribed aren't working at all.

Awful thing #2: As I hinted at in a previous post, Dad's hemoglobin levels were sliding downwards over the past few weeks. On the one day I was able to get out of the apartment, I got a call from his wife--he was back in the hospital, with his level back down to where it was when he was hospitalized the last time. This time they gave him two units of blood. But he returned as tired as I've ever seen him, almost unable to speak. A couple days later we went out to dinner and he was unable to stand in line for our food, having to sit down and wait for us. That was particularly troubling so soon after the blood transfusions which were supposed to get him moving again.

It feels like something is changing now. Now I've thought that many times during his illness. In a couple weeks it's going to be a year since he stopped taking chemo. I mean, that alone should show how hard he's fought this. And it's been three years since he was diagnosed with Stage 4. But, I realize that he can't fight this forever. When my stepgrandmother heard about him going back to the hospital, she was in tears. I hadn't seen her in tears like that since her own husband passed away last year. She loves him dearly. We all do. Of course we don't want him to go.

But I don't want him to go through this just for us.

Awful thing #3: The friend from Tucson I mentioned in the last post, Dan, is going through issues. It's not for me to really talk about that here. The problem is that he's leaning on me heavy, at a time when I just can't support him right now. He calls every day and wants to talk for hours, even when I'm in such bad pain from my migraines that I can't see. He wants me to drive back to Tucson to spend time with him because he "has nobody else to talk to". As I mentioned above I'm potentially starting work with a client this week, and on top of that it's dad's birthday this weekend...I just do not have the ability to drop everything and drive out. Also....well, let's just say I'm not sure my safety is guaranteed if I spend time with him.

Awful thing #4: The problems I'm having with my family's church are coming to a head. They want me to join the church. I hoped that I could postpone that because of migraines (awful thing #1). But then with dad being sicker (awful thing #2) they're hinting that maybe it would be a good idea for me to join so he could see the ceremony in person. And, in order for that to happen, I need to attend a Pastor's Dinner next weekend.

So, while I was lying in bed unable to move this week, I decided to just go ahead and join. Ugh, I feel awful saying that, like I am such a weak-willed person. But I don't see another path that doesn't lead to family disappointment, at a time when everyone is already feeling overburdened with dad's health and my stepgrandmother's health and a bunch of other family issues I don't want to go into here.

So now I have to join this church I just do not want to be part of. At least after the events of this week I realize that I won't be able to stay here much longer, not with the weather's effects on my migraines.

The last awful thing will be in the next post, and wow, it's a doozy.
Sorry I was away for a bit longer than intended. I'm going to have to skip what I was going to write about. Unfortunately something happened with my friend Dan. Trigger warning--imagine the worst that could happen, and if that is too much to handle, please skip my post. I'm going to ramble because I'm still reeling. I have to post here because I don't know where to post and I have to write something down.

The day before I posted last, I talked to Dan. He seemed really off, really paranoid. He was afraid someone was going to break into his house, into his car. Then he claimed someone had broken into his house, although all they'd stolen was a shirt. I asked him to get help. He didn't want to do that. After an hour of back and forth I had to go--I needed to go see my dad. I promised to get back in contact the next day.

I tried calling him, texting him, even emailing him for four days. On Wednesday I started thinking maybe I should reach out to the authorities. That night I called the police for a wellness check. The police got back to me with a story that they'd been called out by his family the previous day. Apparently he went to his neighbor's house and asked the neighbor to call for an ambulance to take him to a local hospital. I called the hospital named by the police, but they said they'd never admitted him. They said it wasn't a privacy issue, they didn't have any record for him. I called three other hospitals in the area, none of which also had admitted him. By this time it was past midnight here, I went to bed.

Thursday morning out of the blue I got a text from Dan asking how I was. I asked him how he was, I heard he was in the hospital. A couple minutes later he called. He sounded like he'd been sedated. He said he was OK, his dad was there taking care of him, but he couldn't talk now and he would call back soon, like in a couple of hours. Then he hung up. He never called back. I reached out to him for days with no response.

A few weeks before Dan had given me one of his sisters' phone numbers in case of an emergency. Last Wednesday night I decided to reach out to her. At first she was really suspicious of me and she asked a lot of questions about who I was and how I knew her brother. Finally she told me what happened--on the day after I last talked to him Dan took his own life. All I could say was "I'm so sorry," over and over again on repeat. She didn't give me any details. I did ask her at the end of the call if she would call me if she or the family needed anything, and she did take down my name and number. Then that was it. I haven't heard anything from her or the rest of the family since. I haven't heard or been able to find if there is or was a memorial service or anything. He had books that I know he wanted to give to the local county library, and I don't know what's happening with that.

It haunts me that Dan told me he'd call back and then didn't. I know he hadn't been himself. He was going through a medical issue that I know can cause mental issues or hallucinations. But it haunts me more that he wanted me to come back to Tucson, and that I hadn't. I know there were very good reasons not to go back--not the least of which is that I probably would have been in danger of him myself. But he also was upset that I'd left Tucson in the first place. I know he'd been planning to leave...for over a year I'd assumed he was going to be moving out before I would. Of course I made the decision to move here to take care of my dad. Yet I'm racked now with guilt. Would he still be alive if I hadn't made that choice? Dan needed someone to convince him to go to the hospital and stay there until his physical and mental issues cleared up. I know I wasn't able to convince him over the phone. Could I have done it if I'd been there in person? I don't know. I don't think I will ever know.

And I feel a bit let down by the support system I have here in the new place. My stepmom had the nerve to tell me the day after I found this out that "the worst thing (for her) was" that Dan died "not knowing God" and "didn't get to go to heaven". Well, she just guaranteed I'm not going to spend one more day here that I have to, after my Dad passes (and I'm afraid that it might not be as long as I'd hoped). I even asked the pastor of the church to call, and he was supposed to today, and I guess he forgot or something, not that I was in any mood to talk to him. Everyone else around here thinks I should get over it already.

Maybe I should. I know I hang onto things longer than I probably should.

But why didn't he call back?
@OnceAndFuture I’m so sorry to hear your friend Dan took his own life. It sounds as if you were a great support to him, even when you had migraines, and you should not feel guilty about ‘not doing more’. It seems he had a lot of problems that, even if you had gone back to Tucson, you could not have solved. It can be hard accepting that we couldn’t have changed the situation.

Of course you are grieving for this friend and won’t be magically suddenly ‘over it’ despite what others say. It’s a shame your friends cannot support you in this, as it is only a few weeks ago. It takes time to come to terms with any sudden death, let alone suicide.

And all I can say about the righteous religious, is that if there is a god, s/he would certainly have a bigger heart than your stepmom imagines. I hope you find peace soon. Sending a big virtual hug x
Well, that happened.

It was a mistake to come back here to get burned once more by poly. Guess I've learned my lesson now. Wish I hadn't learned all these lessons over the past three weeks but I suppose things come in threes (like my first poly relationship...nah that was a bad attempt at making myself laugh).

Anyway, I'll leave the other person here to explain. I'm out. Thanks everyone, and enjoy your lives.