Posts Tagged fire and brimstone
John always wondered if there were others who felt the same loneliness that had almost always been a part of his life. John lived a somewhat secluded life because he was unable to explain the bizarre behavior of his mom. He worked hard at keeping his friends and his mom at a safe distance from one another.
John first noticed that things were not right when he was 10 years of age. This was when his mom complained of “ringing” in her ears. Since he was only a kid, John was not able to comprehend the implications. He only knew that his dad was concerned and his mom was obsessed.
John’s mom, Mary, was a very pretty woman. She was raised in a home that can only be described as an environment of poverty. Mary’s father was a “hell fire and brimstone” preacher of a small congregation, perhaps a dozen people. Mary’s mom never worked. Mary related stories of ridicule by her peers because she dressed differently from the others. This was more a result of her father’s religion than his bank account. She was the youngest child by several years. Mary had two older brothers and two older half sisters. Other details of the childhood environment are unknown.
The ringing in Mary’s ears progressed rapidly. It was a matter of months and the “ringing” became “voices.” John and his sister, Carol, did not understand when Mary began making bizarre statements. She would talk about events that never happened. “People have been eating our groceries,” she might say. She would go into long diatribes telling stories in great detail. This confused the children. It scared them. Mary told the kids they were going to hell. The voices told her many things to this effect. Mary’s statements were given more authority when she began with “god told me…”
John’s stepfather, Fred, was a very kind, patient, Christian man. Fred was a man in his early thirties when Mary’s diagnosis of “paranoid schizophrenic” was first delivered. As an older adult, John is amazed when he thinks back at the responsibility his stepfather assumed at such an early age. Fred felt helpless. He had no idea how to handle the situation. Fred only knew that he must not abandon his daughter, his stepson or his wife. Fred was gifted from Above with the abilities needed for the situation.
It was about 9:30 in the evening when Mary had her first serious episode into the bizarre. She told the family that god was not pleased with them. Mary slammed the front door and ran down the street stopping to knock on doors and screaming, “You are all going to hell.” Fred called the Pastor of his church who arrived in short order. He was a man in his early thirties. The two men managed to corral Mary and bring her back to the house. That began an all night conversation between the three adults. The children were in bed, but certainly, not asleep. Mary screamed and the men used calming voices that seemed quite ineffective.
Morning arrived and Fred explained to the children that Mom was sick. Pastor was going to accompany him to the hospital. It was later that the children learned the hospital was a state mental institution. The treatment of the day consisted primarily of electroshock therapy.
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