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The Final Flame
So I guess you could say it all started when I was only thirteen years old. My name is Cristine Lomar, but really they call me Crissy. I’m fifteen years old and I am in the psychiatric ward in the McLean Mental Hospital. Though I am not crazy, far from it I must say.
“Your mother, well, she’s not coming back Crissy, she’s been in an accident and her entire battalion, well no one’s coming back from Iraq this year...” My Dad’s mollified words slashed through my heart like it was nothing at all. I can barely remember the following days. Everything began to blur together and it all began to seem so fake; I soon fell into a deep depression. It was around then when I finally found my escape. Drugs.
My mom and I were like best friends, nothing got between us, well nothing besides the gruesome war. We would always sit next to the fire and as it went out she would say, “Remember whenever the flame is lit I’m always here with you” and those words would send me into a spiraling dream of how my life could not get any better, and it couldn’t, it was all downhill from there.
As I remember it was only a few months after my mom’s proposed death date, August 23, 2000, though they were not certain, due to “complicated military procedures.” That is about when I “left”, that’s what the doctors like to call it, but I like to call it, “went to my better place.” See, I began to take vicodin, which only
took care of things for short time, but when it did, it made things great. When I began to feel again, I had to start something new. I moved onto acid or some may
call it LSD, whatever you may call it, it fixed my depression. I basically lost all contact with reality because my fire was doused and gone and in the grave with my mother...
Soon after I started this, the drugs made me even more depressed then I already was and I made my first suicide attempt; and even sooner after that I made yet another attempt, and another...
When I woke from this last daze off of my last “trip” though, I was in this Place. This terrible, lonesome, joke of a Place to even call a hospital. I was fine, really, but I was confined to this Place for a whole six months! When you think about ridiculous, you could never measure this until you were in Belmont, Massachusetts, here, in this Place.
After the first night, I found my friendly neighbor, or then man on the other side of the wall I should say; was a Russian man who was clearly insane. Singing night and day was his way of escaping things, like mine was doing drugs. He sang and I believe he was the only thing that ultimately kept me sane, considering it kept bringing me back to, “well I could be in his shoes...” At night I found it was like a war zone between faculty and patient. I would lay staring at the wall finally knowing how my mom must have felt in Iraq. I’m sure this Place
was as close as it gets to war. War of the mind, war of the heart to prove you’re sane.
My dad came to visit me on my birthday. There are only certain days where we were allowed visitors and it was the first time I had seen him in three
months. I resented that he sent me here, and I hated it here. If I was insane, this Place only made me even more so. We went out to the lobby of the institute and sat next to the fire. The fire, of all places? Did he think it soothed me? Because it only made my heart sink deep into its depth, and brought me to the reality that no one was there for me. We talked long about what I was going through and I played along like he understood me. It made him happy to see that he was making a difference. Though he wasn’t, almost the opposite. When he left I was sad, but it was time for the war to start again as I climbed into my bed.
That night may have been the worst of all of the nights. I fell asleep to my sweet Russian tunes from the sorrowful soul next to me.
The ward was on fire, everything was burning. I could see my mom’s words in the smoke I tried to keep my eyes on them, but my focus was repositioned when I heard the peaceful singing from next door. People were on fire in the halls. The Russian man waltz’s out of his room, still in song, but on fire. He began to walk towards me and I couldn’t move! He grabbed me and whispered, “Whenever the flame is lit I am here with you.”
“AHHH!” I woke in a cold sweat, startled. The nurses rushed in. I fought against them, telling them to not worry, it was just a dream, that I am not crazy! I struggled and they claimed I was resisting due to a “psychotic break”. They were wrong. Who wouldn’t resist an idiot with a needle? They successfully sedated me, and it gave me the high I loved, but quickly lost.
The dream I had haunted me. As I heard the man sing, I wondered if it was the way of her letting me know she was here with me. But there was no fire. And there is no Heaven. I’ve lived after death, revived and lived. There is no Heaven.
I had been clean for five months and twenty nine days. I get out the next day and I will have survived this hell. I sat in my uncomfortable spring mattress with no sheets, just in case you wanted to strangle yourself with its’ elastic, and I listened for the last time. I heard the man’s tune and I felt his pain. I began to cry. I may get out, but this man is here forever. I fell asleep to this thought.
“Your leaving today, get out of bed little one.” The nurse said in a kind demeanor.
I kind felt if an onus was lifted off of my shoulders as I walked out of those pale blue double doors. I was finally able to live, and have a life.
My first night in my own bed was frightening... No song. No war. Just me and my own breath and thoughts. I couldn’t bear it. I thought about the fight in the guy’s head in the room next to me, the fight of his own mentality.
When I woke the next morning, I awoke to some unsettling news.
“Sweetie, did you know the Russian man in the ward?” My Dad said in that voice, the voice that I know all too well.
“I felt I did, Dad, why?”
“He, well he had an accident.” My dad said, trying to be subtle with his choice of words, “accident.”
I soon found that he had lit his own body on fire and sat on his bed until he had died. He knew. My mother was communicating with his empty mind and through my dreams. I felt he was free. And I went to his funeral with a single note. “Whenever the flame is lit, I am here with you.”