One of my daughters recently began reading from Andrew's sporadic journal and notepads in which he jotted down thoughts in random fashion. One statement gave her some peace. He said his sisters helped build up his confidence. But in another paragraph he wrote his thoughts on the medication "Resperdol" or something like that. I think that is what he was prescribed at the mental health hospital. He had read up on the side effects, which were substantial. He didn't want to take it.
I guess it's one thing when a person is mentally disabled and doesn't really know what is going on, but that wasn't the case here--he did his own research. He could tell you all the reasons why he was or was not going to do something.
Andrew was fully aware that he was struggling and worked his own program: he exercised every day, ate fresh veggies with lots of beans and brown rice and whole grains and lean meat, and cut down on his vices. He quit smoking, a habit he had taken up either during his senior year or after high school, and limited drinking alcohol. I think he realized it was bad to drink hard liquor, but for a while whiskey had been his companion. But the effects it had on him were ugly. When I saw him, he would drink O'Douls, if he wanted beer, or just water.
He read a lot, and a lot of variety. He had history books, the bible, cookbooks, sports books, materials on gardening, car repair, and more in his room. He really studied the biblical passages and decided to fast for Lent this year. He quit eating meat for the duration of Lent. He went through a self-imposed cleanse and was the picture of physical health.
We hadn't been attending church services for many years, although I raised the kids in the Catholic faith. I wasn't sure why he decided to fast for Lent, but he was going all out, doing it for days at a time in the old-fashioned style...not just skipping meat on Fridays, but fasting. Now we wonder if he had been preparing to leave this earth for several months prior.
He ate some barbecued tri-tip on Easter Sunday. I talked to him on Monday evening and asked him about it. Had he enjoyed it? Yes, he assured me. His dad's barbecue was always delicious.
He had called me that night about 6:05 p.m. when I was getting ready for work. I didn't see the call until I was at my work station about 7:00 p.m. I saw I had a message and listened to it. He wanted to talk to me, he said. I called him back right away. When I asked him what he wanted to talk to me about, he seemed to hesitate.
"Nothing. No reason."
I sensed he had simply changed his mind. So I talked to him for a bit, drawing him out and sharing with him, gently. A little bell was going off in my head, but it was faint and I didn't really know what to make of it. I told Andrew I loved him and hung up. That was the last time we talked.