Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Sam’s cried a few times recently,

Out of the blue,

Big tears rolling down his cheeks.

Is this him being poorly,

Or getting better?

Big boys don’t cry …


Sam was talking about his bags

Their loss

No loss to him

Only possessions


A Picture of Nell

On her graduation day

That was important

To have lost


Did I say I was tired yesterday???

I didn’t know what tired meant!

It was a different kind of tired.

Today I’m “bloody knackered” (technical term or those of certain sensibilities).

We went to look for Sam’s belongings. To the “scene of the crime”.

I wasn’t sure if that would be a good idea, how Sam would react – but an attempt to retrieve his belongings seemed sensible.

However only five hours sleep last night …

Okay, I know for some of you (including Jane) that’s a luxury but I aim for twelve some days!

So we went to look for the bags.

To revisit the “scene of the crime”.

About eighty miles or so – but even on the motorway it took an hour and a half. Then we looked east of the village when Sam had been west. Then we looked I the village, had a beer, bought a croque monsieur from the sandwich shop – and while I was waiting for it to be reheated next door Sam was looking at postcards and posters.


“Look here, I’ve found it!”

A poster of where he had been.

Well, first we bought it. I had enough French to be interested by the conversation amongst the shop staff as they giggles as to whether to charge me four euros – the price advertised - or eight. They decided on four. I must have looked a nice tourist – but it’s the first time I’ve heard people talking about me thinking I don’t understand. My French must be improving.

In the bar Sam had asked about where he might have been last week.

The surly and slow waiter though turned into a swift and sparkling waiter as he flirted, and presented the bill to the two beautiful young women who had been sharing lazy glasses of wine and water.

We asked again in the Tourist information and having received similar information – and this time a map(!) set off.

We visited the beach where Sam had been picked up.

We went on to the car park near the centre of his activities.

Four euros to park!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sam lived here for four days for less than that.

We walked for miles back to the first beach in unhelpful fashion then returned to a bar where a kind waiter had given Sam a glass of water and ice when he was last here.

Then we tried a different direction.

After much scrambling we found the ca rpark.

There was a van.

Broken down.

Where Sam had slept for two nights.

It contained a pair of shorts and two sweatshirts.


We looked at the climb he’d soloed after he’d shared a spliff with dreadlocked climbers he’d met below.

The one where the rock was loose and even he was scared of his life.

I’d given up on ever finding Sam’s bags by now.

We climbed back up what I hoped would be an easier return to the car park. It came to a disused quarry. Sam climbed over some huge rocks and disappeared for five minutes.

He reappeared over the top with his huge rucksack, his small climbing rucksack and his big red holdall that I struggled to carry yhe rest of the way up the cliff and back to the car.

Mission accomplished.

Just a two hour drive back home in the traffic!

Monday, May 30, 2005

Last night Sam went to bed at a quarter past one. He got up at a quarter to seven.

That’s a reasonable sleep – but I’m used to him being drugged into submission overnight and have been feeling the need to take more than my fair quota of sleep. So it was a shock to my system. Especially as I wanted to know what he was up to.

When I got up finally Sam had been on the computer. Until recently he wouldn’t have known how to switch it on and couldn’t string a sentence together.

On the screen was the following:

“I have just woken up and would like to say how well I feel and give thanks to my brilliant parents for supporting me”

I emailed Jane with this and she cried …


Though much of today Sam has been following me round like a lost puppy. It’s very unnerving to have someone at your shoulder the whole time. Last night I was brushing my teeth and was shocked to suddenly feel someone behind me.

“Oh, Sam! What are you doing there? You surprised me!”

“Mum told me to look after you while she was away.”

Though he had been following me around for a week or two.


… and me?

I’m just tired.

Very tired.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

It’s happened before.

I cope with the big things

and then …

a little thing comes along

and I go to pieces.

Sam and I had got up early and taken Jen to the airport to return home again for a couple of weeks.

On the way back we decided to stop at the beach.

We parked in the main car park – by the piscine. It looked perfectly safe.

Of course someone tried to beak in.

Didn’t succeed but caused lots of damage to the door. It’s not just sorting it out but I’d so many other plans for things to do with Sam this week.

I found I couldn’t talk to Sam about it without beginning to choke. Tears were coming from nowhere. It’s only a bloody car. It can be sorted. I guess it was all of what else has been happening this last week dragged to the surface by an annoying but ultimately insignificant act. I tried to hold it together. I knew the emotion would not be good for Sam.

He tried to help me. He said that every day was a bad day across the world for somebody. Today was no different. It was just that today was our day to have a bad day.

I could have cried again!!

Later, sitting in a bar, waiting for a sandwich, tears started rolling down Sam’s cheeks.

He said something.

I had to ask him to repeat it three times before I could understand him.

“People must stop fighting.”

I was in such a state that I think we could both have just cuddled and sobbed in each others arms there in the square in front of the bar.

But we’re British!!!

So stiff upper lip and all that.

We ate our sandwiches. Composed.

And drove home.

Sam’s found today difficult though it started well. But he’s cooked me a lovely meal and has just paid me the most lovely compliment ever. I just wish I’d written it all down and made him sign it!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Last night we had dinner with an articulate and interesting young man.

He was intelligent and had a clarity of vision and insight which left us breathless. He was talking of his experiences in hospital and of his recent experiences. We wished we had a tape recorder to save these thoughts for another time or other people.

I haven't seen him for a number of years.

It was Sam.

The day before, when we picked him up from hospital, he was a different young man - confused and excited, misunderstanding and unaware. He wanted to jump out of the car at speed on the motorway. He asked Jane to stop talking when she had been silent for minutes. He was aggressive to me unexpectedly about my driving. He could remember nothing of previous days events.

He's been coming off huge doses of anti psychotic drugs, mood enhancers and tranquilizers in a sudden burst. He should be high - rebound psychosis.

It is what one would expect.

We gave him a slightly higher dose of his tranquilizer. Nothing else.

Within half an hour he was able to control his psychosis, to remember his adventure, to talk with us about it and to be able to sleep and rest.

Since then he has been so much better than he has been since ...

Okay, things aren't perfect.

Things could go wrong again at any time.

But he's chosen his own way of coming off a huge dose of anti-psychotic medication. Not slowly, slowly as we were trying to do with him - but all at one time. And while he was doing it - to have a party!!!!!

And it's worked.

So far.

Watch this space!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Sam is back home safe (well as safe as he can be with us I suppose) and sound (apart from a few blisters, some sunburn and a lot of psychosis.)

I'll write more later but I need to spend time with Sam now.

It's not easy - and I'm desperately hoping I'm up to it!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I won't bore you with all the things we've been doing looking for Sam.

Well, okay - maybe I might soon!

It was nice to see some friends this evening who helped to lift our mood.

After they had left I put on some music.

The last cd that Sam had put on was still there.

My favourite cd.

"Kind of Blue" by Miles Davis.

So I played it and loved it's melancholy tones as always.

I wonder if I can change it?

Maybe I'll put it on just one more time ...

Monday, May 23, 2005


People ask.

Caring, worried, anxious.

Full of concern for us and for Sam.

"Non," sadly, "pas de nouvelles."

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Last night Sam refused his medication.

There was no particular reason.

Why last night rather than any other?

He would have been taking reduced medication for the first time in a month.

Perhaps that was it. He said it was too slow. It deadened his brain. It would be fine to stop taking it all here in all this peace and tranquility.

We reasoned and argued for ages.

Everything was tried.







All to no avail.

This continued throughout the night.

Sam was on a high. He couldn't sleep.

We'd hear him going out for a cigarette and rush down to make sure he wasn't wandering off.

Each time we'd try again to persuade him to take his medication.

Several times with each of us he said yes. Took the medication in his hand and then said no again.

Once he said to me, "The Buddha says yes, the devil says no."

Tom seemed to be siding with the devil. He continued to say no to the medication.

I last saw him at a quarter past six in the morning.

He told me how alive he was without the medication.

No he didn't want to go to bed. It was nearly morning.

We were due at a children's party the next day. He asked what time it would be. He seemed excited by the prospect. I suggested he rested a bit to be at his best.

I went back to bed confident he would at least not be dashing off somewhere else.

I haven't seen him since.

Jane heard him moving about downstairs until at least seven o' clock or probably later.

She went to his bedroom at eight o' clock.

He had gone.

Everything had gone.

He had filled his rucksack and his big red holdall with all his belongings. Even his rarely used toothbrush.

He can't have been gone for more than half an hour. He couldn't have got far with all that baggage. Maybe he'd hitched a lift to the nearest big town? But there couldn't have been much traffic and he'd have looked a bit strange hitching outside our house. Maybe he'd tried to get to the railway station - but that would be at least two lifts. Maybe he'd walked into the woods above the house to camp out. Maybe ...

Maybe, maybe, maybe.

I flung some clothes on and drove to the nearest village and drove down the main street and to all the exits from the village. Jane phoned our friends who did likewise.

I drove to the nearest town and wandered the streets and main square envying relaxed Sunday morning breakfast eaters in the cafes and bars.

I drove to the railway station and enquired at the ticket office.

No - but try the 'chef de trains' on the platform. I think I woke him from his slumbers but the answer was still no.

Where could he be?

We're still asking after having been back to the main town this evening to walk the streets, the parks and the squares. We've watched the winos and the homeless on the streets but Sam didn't seem yet to have joined them.

You know that sick feeling in the bottom of your stomach. The one that sinks and refuses to go, that seeps into the bloodstream and courses around the body, that just won't go away, that insists on tears when somebody says something kind. Well it's been there all day.

Earlier in the day we went to the local Gendarmerie. They were very polite and helpful and took down all the details and said they would be circulated. But will anyone actually be looking for him? I doubt it - but that was the same back home.

It's happened before in England.


Sam's been found safely then.

But now we're in France ...


I was cleaning the table to set it for lunch.

On the table were

one burnt match
an empty matchbox
scatterings of rolling tobacco
carelessly left
a mint leaf
discarded from his strawberry desert
stuck to the table
so I had to peel it off


of Sam.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

We'd been out for the day.

Somewhere really special. It was busy but fun and Sam seemed to be coping with it okay. Though as we were sitting having a quiet drink in a lovely location with beautiful views Sam volunteered that he liked it best back at the house. He loved the peace and tranquility.

When we got home though he said that he hadn't enjoyed the day.

We'd seen a group playing Peruvian music on pan pipes.

"Do you remember the Indians doing the war dance Dad?. I took their souls."

"I was frightened I was going to be stabbed today. I thought someone wanted to kill me. It's been on the radio. They know who I am."

Later I described what Sam had said to Jane when he was there.

"That's not true," he insisted.

"That would be a paranoid delusion."


Later he talked of doing magic.

Like giving people diseases.

Like going to hell and back.

He wanted, he said, to go back in to hospital to help people.

I could feel a tendon in my neck stretching taught. Tension gripped me.

I got cross with Sam.

I believe that he can sometimes slip into such states and pull himself out of them. If we're to reduce his medication when he is speaking like this ...

The doctor would advise it to straight back up.

Jane believes that the medication can actually increase the psychosis.

I'm sure we're on the right track.

But that doesn't stop me worrying.

We had a rushed coffee with our friend L this morning. It was lovely to see her again.

She's just had her hair done and Jane was very complimentary and commented on the change.


Now Sam's recent haircut was a change!

But I'm a man. What do I know about such things!

It was helpful to have a little time to talk about Sam and make some more interesting plans.

We're so lucky not just to have this space but also such thoughtful support for Sam.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

We saw the French doctor again today.

A lovely, kind, smiling and caring man.

I'm sure his patients all leave him feeling better.

We had a long discussion though about the medication. He didn't want to reduce it any more at the moment. Even though it's been a month since the last reduction.

But we're keen to try to move a little faster. Jane had spoken with a psychiatrist back in the UK who had said we should be okay reducing monthly as long as we monitored carefully. In the hospital they were reducing fortnightly.

Anyway, in the end he was persuaded and there is another small reduction in one of the anti-psychotics. Though part of me is worried as Sam often isn't well - and will this get worse????

Though we know the level of medication he is on now is totally wrong.

It's very difficult.

We'd waited in the doctor's for an hour. Sam coped very well with the waiting. That alone could have been a real problem for him - let alone the long discussions in French.

We were all a bit stresed out in the end but after lots of hadshakes and 'merci beaucoups' and a chat with the doctor's wife on reception we headed for the bar and had a beer in the early evening sunlight.

Well, as you ask, he's not been so good today.

Whatever that means.

Our perception or his?

He reckons he's been fine.

But at least here he is fine.

He can drift in and out as he is happy and content

... and safe.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Such an articulate discussion over dinner with Sam tonight.

Jane and I wish we could have recorded it.

Sam described so well what it was like to have been in hospital and how he felt and ...

well so many things.

Things that he wouldn't have said to others.


he knows we aren't going to judge him

call him mad

or schizophrenic

bring him down.

It didn't all make sense.

But he talked so widely about what was important and made sense to him.

It all made real sense - whatever that means - to us. And I hope it would have made some kind of sense to most open minded people. But I guess there will be others who would have closed their minds and seen just the madness and missed all the real enlightenment.

Not enlightenment about life, the universe and everything

- but enlightenment about the very sorry state of our care for people with mental health problems.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

"What's behind your eyes Sam?"

A quick smile. A glance. A sign of contact.

"But you've told me haven't you? I just haven't understood."

"That's right."

Our friend L saw Sam today for the first time in a week - and his short hair!

She said it was lovely to see his big beaming grin.

That she'd missed him.

We've enjoyed Sam's big beaming grin too since he's been here.

We didn't see it much when he was in hospital.

We'd missed hom too.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Nice to pick Jane up from the airport again.

Sam had dressed to look (for him!) smartish.

It was a nice day though Sam was quiet and withdrawn.

Back home for a while he was fine but quickly changed backwards and forwards.

In and out.

But in and out of what?

I don't know.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

sitting on the terrace
at shades of green
olive, grass and leaf
with a distant flash
inappropriately garish
lipstick red
a poppy
framed by branches

a flash of
and love

Saturday, May 14, 2005

We'd gone into the village.

To buy bread for lunch, buy some fruit, get some money.

I treated myself to a newspaper and Sam bought some more paper for his drawing and painting.

We stopped at a cafe at the quieter end and sat out with a coffee watching the flower shop start it's long daily ritual of putting the huge outdoor display inside as they tidied up for lunch.

Sam had been quiet but he started to chat. Not terribly coherently. Then he mentioned having been into the village the previous night.

But we hadn't been out that night.

But he had, it seemed.

After I'd gone to bed.

Or maybe while I was writing to you lot waiting for it to be all quiet in his room. There'd been a lot of noise of shutters. Maybe he'd gone out then (he's on the ground floor) even before I went to bed (on the top floor.)

He'd walked around the closed, dark and quiet village and come home.




But he'd come home safely - and told me of it.

He talked more

of auras

of Buddhism

of spirituality

of commercialism

of war

but not necessarily in that order or any order that had some coherence.

Back home over lunch we carried on the conversation. He was so eager to talk. I'd had to ask him to leave me for a bit to email Jane as she'd texted me about something important.

Then we talked again.

Well, I listened most.

The same stuff.

But so important to Sam. He talked and talked and I tried to listen and challenge, to contribute and understand.

Of course I didn't understand much.

But at times he had insight, thoughtfulness. A different view.

Who was to say that was psychotic?

The rare times staff on the hospital would talk with Sam such thoughts would be described as psychotic and dismissed.

Staff are even taught to do this.

That it's essential to challenge psychotic thoughts.

But which ones are psychotic?

Those that describe people having auras?

Those that describe religious experiences?

Those that condemn a materialist, consumerist society?

Those that want to have freedom to explore different ideas of the universe, of its inhabitants and their roles within it.

Sometimes people with such thoughts have been described as great thinkers.

But of course ...

... Sam's just mad.


Later he just followed me everywhere.

Whatever I was doing he would appear at my shoulder.

Just looking at me.


That was yesterday.

Today we're just watching the rain.

Though we managed to pop into the village for bread and a coffee before lunch during a fine spell.

Sam's been doing some of his art work again today and seems far less troubled.

Friday, May 13, 2005

We'd gone into the village.

To buy bread for lunch, buy some fruit, get some money.

I treated myself to a newspaper and Sam bought some more paper for his drawing and painting.

We stopped at a cafe at the quieter end and sat out with a coffee watching the flower shop start it's long daily ritual of putting the huge outdoor display inside as they tidied up for lunch.

Sam had been quiet but he started to chat. Not terribly coherently. Then he mentioned having been into the village last night.

But we hadn't been out last night.

But he had, it seemed.

After I'd gone to bed.

Or maybe while I was writing to you lot waiting for it to be all quiet in his room. There'd been a lot of noise of shutters. Maybe he'd gone out then (he's on the ground floor) even before I went to bed (on the top floor.)

He'd walked around the closed, dark and quiet village and come home.




But he'd come home safely - and told me of it.

He talked more

of auras

of Buddhism

of spirituality

of commercialism

of war

but not necessarily in that order or any order that had some coherence.

Back home over lunch we carried on the conversation. He was so eager to talk. I'd had to ask him to leave me for a bit to email Jane as she'd texted me about something important.

Then we talked again.

Well, I listened most.

The same stuff.

But so important to Sam. He talked and talked and I tried to listen and challenge, to contribute and understand.

Of course I didn't understand much.

But at times he had insight, thoughtfulness. A different view.

Who was to say that was psychotic?

The rare times staff on the hospital would talk with Sam such thoughts would be described as psychotic and dismissed.

Staff are even taught to do this.

It's essential to challenge psychotic thoughts.

But which ones are psychotic?

Those that describe people having auras?

Those that describe religious experiences?

Those that condemn a materialist, consumerist society?

Those that want to have freedom to explore different ideas of the universe, of its inhabitants and their roles within it.

Sometimes people with such thoughts have been described as great thinkers.

But of course ...

... Sam's just mad.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Sam's just come in from his last cigarette to tell me about his previous lives dealing with horses, working with Jesus, and so on. He's gone to bed. I hope to sleep. But he may arrive for a third supper at any moment!

Things have gone fine today in a quiet way.

Though we had a long conversation making and eating dinner about his illness. Though we were talking rather about his enlightenment.

It was trying to find a form of words that accepted my and Sam's view of his recent history. Sam is still eager to make sense of it.

Later tonight though he is more excitable and was rolling cigarettes like joints. He didn't want to take his medication. He did so in the end - because he trusts in us that we are trying to help him reduce it safely.

Otherwise he would refuse it all now.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Woke up this morning ...

feeling tired - but that was always the case

but as I began to think about things and start to get up

no dizziness

no aching muscles

no pain across my back

no weak and wobbly limbs

well, okay really.

Hey, how about that!

So did some washing - well put some money into the laundromat in the local village!

Had a coffee while they were doing. Hung them out in the sunny breeze to dry.

Life seemed okay.

By this time Sam was kind of awake and he managed only most of a baguette for lunch with huge amounts of garlic sausage, mayonnaise and tomatoes because he had only just had his breakfast. Oh, and a banana to finish of course.

And we chatted and he suggested we went to a new climbing site to look at it. We could just look and suss it out and maybe do a bit of bouldering or a traverse and then pop into that beautiful village and go to the bar on the edge of the cliff with the wonderful views of the gorge after wandering around the old village again.

Sounded good to me.

So we went.

Of course when we got there we found the wrong footpath.

This turned into a very difficult scramble up a steep hill.

I was quickly getting out of my depth and my strong legs had suddenly turned into wobbly jelly. I wasn't even sure I could get down properly.

But we're near the Top said Sam.

If we can get just to this next bit we can traverse across to where the path is to the climbs.

I'd had enough. My limbs were shaking and I knew I needed to go down.

Sam wasn't going to be persuaded to come down with me - or maybe he was and I just didn't make it clear that was what I wanted. Maybe I just didn't want to be the one to spoil it for him.

So I made him promise to just do what had been agreed. No soloing. Just a bit of bouldering or traversing. Agreed.

And to return within the hour.

I slid down the mountainside. I needed help really as it was very unsafe and I wasn't feeling at all strong and I was relieved to be back safely.

After a rest at the car I found the right footpath and walked and scrambled more easily up to the start of the climbing. I hung around for a bit hoping that Sam might traverse across that far and find me.

But of course he didn't - so I went back down and sat in the car and read the Rough Guide that was lying on the back seat.

Two hours later there was still no sign of Sam.

I scrambled to below where I'd last seen him and shouted.

No reply.

Ten minutes later I did the same.

This time a reply. I thought I could hear him climbing down the scree with rocks tumbling. But ten minutes later still no sign. So I shouted again.

He was close enough now for a shouted conversation.

He was coming. Ten minutes.

It started to rain lightly.

Fifteen minutes later he arrived. A big grin and bloody knees where they'd been scraped on the rocks.

Of course he'd never found the rock climbing but had scrambled right to the top of the cliffs - probably more dangerous than proper climbing! And had then scrambled down again.

I was miffed about his lack of thought for me and while trying to be sensitive to him also found myself expounding my own frustrations.

The lovely afternoon in both our minds certainly hadn't come to fruition.

We drove home with a cd hiding our silences.

Back home I went to sort out the washing while Sam had a bath.

Sam had tried to be helpful in bringing some of the drying washing under cover but had somehow managed to pile it up so it hadn't dried. My frustrations increased as I brought in the rest from the line.

I started to cook dinner.

Sam came to help.

He'd got changed into clean clothes. He wanted to cook dinner. He was trying to be helpful. He was probably trying to make up for this afternoon.

I didn't really want his help.It was harder than doing it myself. I just wanted to get it ready have a drink and sit down as soon as possible.

I didn't want to have to cook dinner whilst making Sam think he was doing it. I didn't want to have loud House music on whilst we were cooking.

Each time I asked him to do something I had to repeat it three times. Then he would be starting something else.

So one thing was cooking before we had prepared the next ...

But guess what?

It turned out okay.

We sat and ate outside in the evening light and

... argued,


about this and that and I guess today and why he was on medication and just stuff really ...

until ...

I did a Sam and looked at the glowing setting sun through the trees to my left and listened to the birds singing on my right and asked Sam to experience the peace of those rather than the antagonism in our minds ...

and guess what?

No, it didn't work.

Well not at first - but after a while.

Sam talked of the 24 different rooms inside his head. He's often talked of this and sorting these rooms out.

"I was so happy I forgot what other people are like."

Then slowly he came round.

I washed up.

We played chess and I was looking at a different Sam who had decided to inhabit a different room inside his head.

There are 24.

I wonder which one he'll be in tomorrow?

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Sam just asked me to roll him a cigarette.

I did it quite well really though I'm twenty five years out of practice.


I woke up depressed this morning.

I guess it was a bit of what had happened yesterday. It was no big deal - but just not sure how to resolve it with the others involved and how to get Sam back on track to be involved in working each day.

When he's working he has to focus on things outside of his head as well as those things inside.

Also I guess I was thinking of the long term.

However this works out - it's just an interlude. Where do we go next?

And it was cloudy.

Maybe some sunshine would have cheered me up.

So I got on and rushed about with jobs and spent some time on myself. Then we visited the friends and apologised and all was fine and had a coffee in the village and came home and cooked dinner and had a chat and smiled a lot and Sam's just gone to bed ...

But I forgot to tell you about the haircut.

We'd stopped off in the village for a coffee this afternoon.

Sam enjoys this a lot. I'm not sure why.

On the way back to the car we passed "Euro Coiffure".

Sam has three hairstyles:
very short, very long and moving between very short and very long.

He'd decided it was time to move to very short - ie shaven.

We'd chatted about this but I'd thought he would wait for a bit.

But today he refused to pass the hair salon.

My French is pretty basic and Sam's is worse than mine. With a look at the dictionary and phrase book I reckoned there was a chance we could work it out - but no, Sam wanted his haircut now. He wasn't going to walk past. I did all the reasonable arguments but he just went in to enquire.

I strolled down the road pretending he was nothing to do with me.

He didn't come out.

I strolled back.

I peered in.

Sam was sat wrapped in a cloth having his head shaved.

Number four must be international language after all even though I've no idea what it means.

In the end I went in and sat and waited while Sam chatted with the hairdresser in French that I'd no idea he possessed.

And in the end he came out looking ...

... well okay really.

Heaven knows what Jane will say.

She likes him with it it long!

Monday, May 09, 2005

I'd planned a post today about what a good day we'd had yesterday.

About how well Sam had seemed.

About how he'd been friendly, attentive, aware of others needs - just great really.

All day.

Even in the evening when sometimes he's been more difficult recently.

We'd had lunch out as Jane was leaving the next day. After a nice meal we stopped in a bar for a coffee and to watch the world go by. The sun shone and Sam just fitted in so sensitively. The same in the evening back at the house.

I dropped Jane off at the airport today after giving Sam his meds. About an hour's drive each way.

A pleasant drive back in the sunshine though I was tired after having not slept well and then having to wake up much earlier than my normal time.

When I got back Sam was still in bed.

By the time he was up it was too late to go to finish off his painting at our friends.

I did some shopping then we had lunch and I dropped him round.

The painting had changed it seemed. A more 'Provencal' feel was required so Sam was transferred to other jobs. This was all really frienldy and lighthearted and just okay really.

In retrospect though I think Sam might have been psyching himself up for finishing the painting. The windows needed doing and he was trying to learn the French words to ask for paper and tape to cover the glass.

In the end he was doing some gardening.

He got a lift home and I assumed there hadn't been work or he'd got fed up.

I discovered on talking with him though that he'd just run off into the local village - about three miles - and been picked up by chance by a friend.

It took some time to discover this then I rang to apologise and got the answerphone.

Then got a call - did I know where Sam was???

Just loads of confusion - but safety.

At home he would have been roaming the city streets - with the possibility of ...

Here he hadn't the knowledge to get himself into too much trouble - not that there's much trouble to be able to get into.

It was just a reminder though that he still has a long way to go.

But he is still doing well.

It was just one very minor blip - the only problem being our lack of communication really but the success being the way he was found so quickly, almost by accident!

Afterwards Sam and I've chatted a lot.

To start with Sam kept giving me those strange grins that I get when there's something funny going on in his head. But after a lot of talk and a walk and cooking and eating dinner he's calmed.

I've kept impressing on him the importance of him choosing a route that will lead to a continuity of this life that he is enjoying so much.

Although it's hard I do think he can continue to choose to be well when he tries.

And tomorrow is another day ...

Although tonight he was outside dancing with himself, praying to he sky, observing a blade of grass intently.

I hope he settles tonight.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

I've been very tired the last couple of days.

Maybe a reason for no posts here. Or could be just inertia.

Also a bit stressed about Sam.

He really is doing fine. Though he has his moments!

I guess I find it all the more stressful as he gets better and wants to do things and I worry about his safety.
Jane's really keen for him to do things. She sees it as a sign of him getting better. But I'm always cautious. We've seen it go wrong from here before. I don't want to rush things.

So a couple of days ago he bought some climbing shoes.

Yesterday and the day before we went to two different places to try out the climbing.

Of course it's all big pitches where he needs ropes and all the proper gear. The danger is that he tries to solo a pitch. That is to climb it without a rope. A few years ago he was a good enough climber to solo many of these pitches with confidence.

But now his fitness and technique are no longer there - not to mention his judgment.

So I'm worried he'll try to solo a high pitch.

In the end he recognised his limitations and just did some bouldering and traversing at low levels.

But is just adds to my stress and to conflict between me and Jane - when there is no difference between us really, just my level of fear.

In the end I got upset last night for no serious reason.

We've had a nice day today.

Jane's going back to the UK for a week again tomorrow so we went out for a nice lunch today. Now we're having a quiet afternoon in the shade looking at the sun and dodging the cold Mistral wind.

Sam's drawing - he's got into doing some art work here.

Jane's resting.

And me? - I'm trying to get up to date on my blogs!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

We got a message this morning.

Would Sam like to go out with the kids again today? School was closed and he'd been such a help yesterday morning ...

It was early and at first he was in two minds about getting up - but when we explained that it wasn't an offer of a treat but a request for his help with the kids because he'd been so helpful the day before...

Well he was just thrilled. He puffed up and a grin spread across his face.

It's good to be wanted, to have a purpose.

It was almost worth being well for.

We had some worries. Although he had been calmer by the time he went to bed last night he had been very difficult earlier.

Of course he was great. He had a fun time with the kids and was a real help.

He came home smiling and talkative and quite full of himself.

To be valued.

To have a purpose.

It's worth being well for.


I've started another blog with photographs and a more general description of our time in France for family and friends. I have emailed details to a few regular correspondents from this blog. If you do correspond with me and I've missed you out please forgive me as it was done in a hurry. Just email me and I'll send you details.

M xxxx

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

So hard today.

So tired.

I'd felt better this morning than yesterday. But soon busy dashing and getting tired.

Sam was off to the coast with L and the kids.

I think it worked out well - haven't seen L and she's going to be away for a few days. Just hope so.

Sam was okay this afternoon.


Then wanted to go into the village for a game of pool.

I went with him.

Balls were crashing off the table and all over the floor. It took some effort to calm him.

Then later at home he was antagonistic.

Aggressive almost.

And suddenly back it that other world.

Wanting to talk of enlightenment and magic.

Of angels and aliens.

Of Jesus and the Dalai Lama.

Of gurus and priests.

Of heaven and hell.

I started to ache again. My limbs struggled to keep walking as I persuaded him to take a trip round the garden with me.

My temper found difficulty in remaining calm as we talked and almost argued.

As I tried to move the discussion back to rationality.

As I tried to counter his arguments of drugs and ecstasy.

As I tried to lead him back into a discussion of the positive things around us.

As I tried to reassert the model of him as a well person.

It was so hard and moved up and down.

Then he called to me as I was washing up to see the beautifully pink sky.

And the vision he could see in it.

Later now he has calmed and is playing cards with Jane as write this.

Tired and sometimes no longer sure that I have the strength for all this.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

I just found this fragment today - a draft from a couple of days ago that I don't think I published:

He's been quiet today, had that troubled, distant look.

We took the rubbish out this afternoon and popped into the village for a soft drink outside a cafe. Sam walked on ahead. He looked slightly more hunched.

He responded to any of my questions or comments briefly and non commitally.

He smoked one cigarette after another. He had four at the cafe. He'd had another on the way to the cafe and another as we walked back to the car.

Back in the garden of the house he lit another cigarette.

I tried to talk with him again about it.

"I can drown and take water into my lungs but bring the water out again and be fine. Like I can put my hand in the fire and it not burn. There's nothing wrong with my lungs. They're perfectly healthy."

And the cough ...

"That's just phlegm. There's nothing wrong with my lungs."

I've been quiet today as well.

Aching, feeling as if I had flu. I just feel as if I'm coming down with something - but I was the same not many days ago then get going again but then get it again. Maybe I need to rest more but now that Jane is back I ant to be alive and do more with her. It must be awful for her to come back from her busy time back home and have not just one but two poorly people to care for.

Jane and I went to the market in the village this morning. Sam decided to stay around the house rather than accompany us or go and finish painting the hut.

We enjoyed strolling around - nice and slowly! Though Jane loves France it must be difficult for her moving between two worlds like this and we tried to talk of it a little but it was hard. A leisurely beer in a bar then returned to the house.

Sam had already had lunch. But the table was set in the dining room with proper place settings for us and exactly the left-overs from last nights tea that we had planned to have for lunch laid out nicely. We were so moved ...


This afternoon Sam went for a walk,

on his own,

not sure where he was going.

There were a couple of showers but he hadn;t returned.

I grew more and more anxious until I heard him.

A big smile,

but blood all over his legs.

I thought he'd had an accident but he'd been looking in the woods for rocks to climb but then ran through the brambles and scratched his legs.

Later he went into the village with Jane for a drink an a game of pool. I'd studiously avoided such low life bars but he and Jane managed to find them!!!!!!

Tonight just negotiating on the loudness of music before I go to bed ...


By the way -

I think you've caught upon the earlier posts now.

Well done!

Monday, May 02, 2005

So much to say ...

yesterday ...

talking with Sam late this evening about yesterday ...

this evening with our friends and family ...

my conversation just now with Sam ...

trying to get some photos of our time here onto a bog ...

I often wish I had a tape recorder to record what Sam has said.

I can never remember it afterwards.

Tonight I wish I'd had a tape recorder to record what I had said.

I just felt I'd got it right in a supportive way.

Sam said he could only choose between being totally happy or being paranoid.

But he was wanting to talk about it. It meant he recognised himself there were issues there to sort out.


Other things happen - and another conversation with Sam - I loose my thread.

I think he's gone to bed now but I can hear noises from there so maybe he'll reappear in a moment - adn I need to sort his meds out again ...


Yesterday we met Jane at the airport.


Fog this end - torrential rain that end.

Eventually Jane arrived - I'd had to sit down and Sam was looking out, so I missed it.

But when she came through Sam rushed up and gave her a big hug and lifted her off her feet.

I wish I'd seen it.

Eventually she got the hug from me too!

We drove into the city and wandered round the market, a coffee watching the world go by, a few purchases taken back to the car, a lunch we could almost afford.

Sam all the time doing fine.

After lunch was eaten Sam wandered off for a ciggy and I told Jane how well things had been going and found the tears rolling down my cheeks.

I didn't have to do it on my own any more.

Jane was back to help.

I was cross with myself for my own weakness.

Once I'd been the strong one. I could cope. Now here I was so upset when I'd been proud of myself for having coped so well.

It happened again later in the evening.

It's so nice to have her back - and it's so nice that Sam is so pleased to have her back too.

A few days ago he'd been talking of having hated us for having him put into hospital.


But this evening with friends.

So thankful.

Fot them





possible ....


to be continued

- but an old post in the meantime:

21 April

Just to make you jealous I'm sitting outside after seven in the evening typing this on the laptop.

But by the time I get to publish this maybe everyone in the UK is sitting outside in the evening. The internet saga drags on.

Sam and I have just finished dinner.

I'd been worried about the smell in the fridge.

We had some lovely beef the other night. Until recently Jane and Nell have been vegetarian so there's been little meat at home. I bought a pack of reduced price beefsteaks in the supermakrket the other day. Sam and I had half the other evening. Although cheap items they were are far better than anything we ever buy at home.

Tonight I got the remnants out hoping they hadn't been causing the smell. Luckily not - it'll be some of that French cheese no doubt. We've had Beoff Bourguignon (look - don't expect me to spell it as well as cook it!)

Though I say it myself, it was delicious.

Afterwards Sam said, "Shall I wash up?"

With no prompting.

I said, "No." Sam had been working all day. Physical labour. Helping our friends demolish their patio whilst they're on holiday. I think the idea is that it will be miraculously converted on their return, but ...

I picked him up in the middle of the afternoon so he'd done a few hours heavy work, interrupted by a long French lunch. After a lie in the hammock he slept for an hour but when I woke him he went for a shower and changed for dinner.

He has an excuse not to return tomorrow as I've made an appointment to see Le Docteur at eleven o'clock. But he's asked if I can wake him to go back to do some more work first. The people he is working with only speak French but he is accepted already because he worked hard today. Maybe he welcomes that respect of hard work that comes without judgement. Recently he has felt judged all the time as a "schizophrenic".

I can't imagine the last time he has asked to be woken early. To go out and do some manual work. When he is already tired.

But he's building some self respect again.


I've just been chatting with this really nice young man.

My son.

About today,

and tomorrow

and what time he wants waking up

(before eight!!!!)

and getting to the site on time

and picking him up in time for the doctors

and whether he might go back there then

or go with me for lunch

and chat

like fathers and sons do,

my son.

I've missed him for a while.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

I was feeling low yesterday evening.

Sam's been so good that seeing him less well again gets depressing.

It's selfish, I know, but I just want to see him well all the time.

I just wanted to cry.

Maybe it's that Jane is coming back today. I'm about to set off for the airport.

I wanted her to see him so well today just like I have recently.

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