The sound of the phone changes depending on the time of day. It sounds different depending on whom a person may expect on the other end. The sound of the phone ringing during The Walking Dead season premiere is annoying. The sound of the phone ringing at 8 in the morning on a Sunday is infuriating. The sound of the phone ringing at midnight is startling and concerning especially when the number on the caller ID is not a familiar one. For a parent with an addicted child represents a whole different set of emotions to a ringing phone at midnight. On Saturday night when the phone rang at midnight, I woke immediately. JoDee had been in treatment a total of 15 days. I had spoken to her and the Clinical Director just days before this and she was doing well. She was excited about her future and being clean. She told me she was learning so much about herself and addiction. She said she was staying no matter what. It was encouraging. I won’t say I was excited or feeling particularly optimistic. I was cautiously glad with a hint of pessimistic. I really hoped she was going to stay the course, but I knew that relapse is very likely with her. Of course, to her I told her we were happy and couldn’t wait for her to come back to us.
I shouldn’t have been surprised when the phone rang. I guess surprise isn’t even the right word. I wasn’t surprised. I was disappointed. The voice on the other end of the phone asked if I was Melanie Brayden. I confirmed I was. She said I have you listed as the emergency contact for JoDee Joyce. I asked what happened. She said I’m sorry to tell you this but I’m calling to tell you that JoDee left the program. I inquired about when and if there was anything that precipitated it. She had left an hour ago and it was sudden. She left alone. The woman on the phone said to me that she had never had to make a call like this before and it was making her think of her own mother. She told me she would keep JoDee in her prayers. That was it. Call ended. Probably 45 seconds total. Everything changed from one moment to the next. Just like that.
I sat on the edge of the bed waiting for something. I stared at my phone for a few minutes expecting her to call me from her phone to say she left. Historically, JoDee won’t call right away. A day or two will go by but not usually more than that before I hear from her. However, the last time she called me for help I left her in a park in the middle of the night so I don’t know if she will even bother to reach out to me. Sleep was over. I paced the house, watched Netflix (p.s. Dexter took a huge nose dive once Deb found out he was a serial killer, such a bummer) and started preparing for the open house we are having (selling the house to buy a house that actually fits us all). I won’t give you the step by step but eventually I went to sleep and woke up a few hours later. AC and I had coffee while discussing what we thought she could be doing or what happened. All the while we are just waiting to hear from her. Some sign that she is in fact alive. Nothing. Sunday continued pretty uneventfully. I had the house further prepared for the open house by having someone to come in to help clean it (if you are in our area and looking for an AMAZING home cleaner Christie Mills is worth every penny plus!!!!!!!). By the end of the day, with no contact from her, I tried to call her phone. Voice mail immediately. I tried to text her but I could tell her phone was off. I tried going to bed which is a joke, really.
Monday was a busy day. Again, no one wants to hear about my boring life, but short story is that by the end of the day, I still had not heard from her. I started to worry. Waiting sucks. I kept checking my phone to make sure it was not dead. I kept checking her phone to see if it was on which it wasn’t which is also weird. The waiting sucks. It sucks so badly. Not knowing. Did she take her phone and wallet? Maybe her phone isn’t on because she didn’t take all her stuff with her. If that is the case if she dies somewhere how will anyone know who she is? Maybe she is already dead but no one knows how to get a hold of her family. She could be lying in a morgue as Jane Doe. The thought of that was paralyzing. Paralyzing isn’t even strong enough to depict the emotion. What in the world could go through her mind? She must know how worried I will be. Oh. Right. She isn’t thinking about anything. But her addiction. And her next fix. So I guess we keep waiting until she wants to call.
At this point, I know where she is. She hasn’t called me or reached out to me, but I have confirmation she is somewhere. A place I knew she would go. I’m still waiting to hear from her. I will still be waiting for her to find long term recovery. I will be waiting for her to rejoin our family as a productive member of society. I will be waiting for her to call for help again. I will be waiting for her to have her next bottom. And I will wait patiently because the alternative of not waiting is too painful to think about.