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Surviving Suicide – Part 17

June 24, 2010

I was talking to a girlfriend yesterday who went through much of this with me, she mentioned she’d read some of my posts and asked me whether it was helping me. I told her yes, more than I could have imagined. I mentioned previously that as I finish and do a new post, I reflect on what I’ve written, and make a conscious decision to let it go and that has really helped. It’s also beneficial from a follow through perspective, I’ve been wanting to do this for so long and came up with every excuse in the book to not start, so now that it’s happening, it feels good from an integrity standpoint too. My friend and I laughed at how many times I talked her ear off, so much so that she’d sometimes fall asleep lol! She was and is a great friend that I feel blessed to have in my life. It also reminded me of just how important it is to have a support network of others going through the same turmoil, so you don’t burn out your friends and family.

This is going to be a long post as it covers a one day time period and I wanted to keep it all together. Picking up where I left off on Part 16, the female officer told me to let her talk to Rob. I was very hesitant because I knew how Rob felt about cops to begin with, and I’d also not told him yet that I’d called 9-1-1. I can’t remember exactly how I told him, but I did put the officer on the phone and he did talk to her. The police were trying to pinpoint Rob’s location via his cell phone, but he was smart and kept hanging up making sure not to stay on too long. The officer talked to Rob for quite some time and seemed to be making progress when the other Sargeant told me that they’d been able to locate Rob and that he was outside of the Peel Region where I was so, the officers from the area he was located in would have to take over now as it was outside their jurisdiction.

The Sargeant instructed the female officer that someone from the region Rob was in would have to take over on the next call. I couldn’t believe my ears! I said are you kidding me? My husband’s got a gun, is threatening to kill himself, has been talking to this lady officer for quite some time and now you’re just going to tell him he’ll have to start all over with a new officer? The Sargeant told me yes, he was sorry, but that’s the way it worked. I lost it at that point! I asked whether any of them had suicide prevention training and they told me they’d had a “few” classes, but nothing too involved. I then asked them to use some common sense and put themselves in the shoes of someone attempting what my husband was doing and would they now want, after establishing some sort of rapport, start repeating everything all over again with someone new? He saw my point.

During all of this, Rob kept calling the shop and I’d answer, then put him over to the officer. The Sargeant at one point told me to stop answering the phone! I was already semi wishing I had never called these idiots thinking that they’d be of actual help, but when he told me what to do in my own place of business, combined with all the other insanity I’d seen them display, I told them I’d do what I wanted to do, it was my shop, it was my husband and it was my phone! I was just livid!

Unbeknownst to me me, even though I’d been extremely specific to the police that my sister-in-law was on her way to my home to get my son away from all of this insanity and that I’d then be more than happy to escort them to my home to show them the firearms, the police went to my house anyhow. A friend of ours from the yacht club knew Rob was attempting suicide and wondered whether Rob had maybe gone to our house to lock himself in the garage and gas himself. He drove over to the house, was peeking in the garage door windows when all of a sudden he was slammed up against the garage doors by the police. I’d given the police a description of Rob being 5’10, light brown hair, etc. and our friend was 6’2 with black hair. As it turned out, my son was still home and heard the commotion and looked out to see our boat neighbour being accosted by the police :(. The police it seemed lost their minds completely when guns were mentioned, didn’t even bother to assess that the friend looking into the window didn’t slightly resemble the description I’d given them, they just jumped all over him.

My sister-in-law arrived shortly thereafter and did whisk my son away, I told her I would call when it was clear to bring him home. Once the police at my shop told me they could no longer be involved and had to hand it off to the police where Rob was, I told them I’d close up shop and now go to the house and let them in to show them where the guns were stored. At this point I think I told them to get out of my shop, walked them over to the entrance, then locked the doors behind them. I gathered up my things and went out to the parking lot to get into my car. Another new male officer showed up at this point, the two I’d been dealing with left and the new officer told me that his Sargeant had told him to drive me to my house. I told him I’d never been in a police car and wasn’t about to start now! I said I’d drive myself home – he was quite young and a rookie I think so he didn’t argue. I drove home which was only about 10 minutes away and the officer followed me.

When I got home, I parked in my garage, walked inside and my babysitter was there, but thankfully my son was gone. She briefly filled me in on what had happened to my boat neighbour, that my son had seen it all, and that they’d told her I had told them it was okay to come into my house without me and search. I was absolutely incensed! At this point the phone rang at home and I could see it was Rob. I was just about to answer it when a cop came out of Rob’s hobby room upstairs and shouted at me to not pick up the phone! I’d had just about enough of being told what to do by cops at this point, so I spun around and told him “do not tell me what to do or not do in my own home!” I answered the phone, Rob was furious I’d called the cops, gave me a blast and then hung up. Well … at least I knew Rob was still alive! I then went upstairs to my husband’s hobby room where he had a reloading bench and made his bullets, etc. I walked into the room, told the cop how dare they lie to my babysitter saying I’d given them permission to enter my home when I hadn’t. The officer again was quite young, looked totally stunned and shocked that I’d be going off on him like that, didn’t really have much to say about it all and I told him he had no right to be in my home, that they didn’t have a search warrant and that I knew my rights. I told them the whole purpose of waiting until I got home was that I was trying to avoid my son seeing any of this.

I managed to somehow unlock the safe which I’d not done in years, I was pretty emotional, adrenaline was pumping for sure, but I got it opened on the first try. We had many handguns, I laid them all out and then matched up the ownerships to each gun for identification. Another officer showed up and the babysitter let him in, she came up to tell me he was there and he was wandering around my house too! I told him to come upstairs, he was not welcome to wander freely, that my husband was already located and of no threat, so either he joined us up in the hobby room or he could wait outside. He too did what he was told lol! Now with the two officers and myself in Rob’s hobby room, their eyes were bugging out and it was almost like a kid in a candy store as they looked at all the guns. They kept picking them up, checking them, moving them around and finally I just said, “Look! I am trying to organize the ownerships for these and you keep messing it up, so how about stand back, let me get things in order and then you can list them all out.

They agreed, I finished what I needed to do and they began writing down all the makes and models. Then they brought in a big storage unit to take the firearms away. I told them we had legal right to have these, had all our various licenses, etc. and I did not see why they had to remove them as they were stored in total compliance to the laws. They told me because Rob had a gun with him, they had to seize all of them. The first cop I’d gone off on initially when I got home then became a real macho idiot and told me that in cases like this, the guns are to be confiscated and if the judge decided, they could all be melted down and destroyed. I told him the value of the guns and told him that nothing better happen to them or there’d be troubles. I was not at all intimidated by these Keystone Cops. The cop wanted to take all the original ownerships, I told him I didn’t have copies, didn’t have a copier at home so I’d take the ownerships to the shop and then they could have them. They didn’t like that but didn’t argue. At that point they started loading the firearms, I told them to be careful of them as Rob was meticulous with them and stored them all very carefully and individually so they didn’t get scratched and damaged and I did not want them all being dumped into their storage box without properly putting them in their cases or wrapping something around each one.

As they finally finished up and carried the storage boxes out to their vehicles, I also saw all sorts of other equipment going out the door. Things that were used such as a brass polisher tumbler, cleaning materials, etc. I asked what the heck they were taking those for? They just said “evidence”, yet they’d not itemized any of it so I stopped them, wrote it down myself before letting them take it. I was ready to go to my shop to copy the ownerships, the one initial cop was talking to my babysitter, and I told him he could wait outside while I went to the shop to copy the ownerships. I did not want them in my house when I was not there just on principle. They waited in their cruisers until I got back.

I was back in 20 minutes, gave them the copies of the ownerships as I wasn’t about to hand over the originals, they argued but I didn’t change my mind. My poor babysitter was so frazzled at this point, that I told her thank you very much, I can’t say how sorry I am that you were involved in all of this, and that I’d call her later once I knew what was going on. My sister-in-law had been calling asking whether it was safe for my son to come home, I told her the cops were still there, but would be gone soon. My son was tired and it was getting late, so I said there’s only one cruiser left here now so come on home as he’d already seen several police cars earlier. My sister-in-law brought my son back, I hugged my son and told him to come up to his room and get ready for bed and I went with him. The cop who was outside rang the doorbell to ask if he could use the phone. My sister-in-law let him in. I was finishing up and coming downstairs and I assumed he’d be leaving, but my sister-in-law was downstairs and knew not to let him wander around.

I told my son I was sorry he saw our friend get harrassed by the police, that I was sorry he’d had to see any of this, but that his Dad was very sick and was in trouble. My son was 9 1/2 at this time, he was pretty mature for his age, and he did ask me what was going on. I always figured if he was old enough to ask a mature question, then I would give him an age appropriate answer. I didn’t go into any of the details, but he knew that his Dad was in big troubles with the police. I hugged him, told him I loved him and told him to try to get some sleep as it was way past his bedtime and that I’d look back in on him shortly.

I was absolutely exhausted! Felt like I’d been run over by a mack truck, and as I went down the stairs I realized the cop was still in my house and talking to my sister-in-law! I walked over to the front entrance where they were, didn’t say much, just listened. This damn cop was flirting with my sister-in-law and I just couldn’t freakin’ believe it! At that point I told him to get out! He said it’s freezing outside and I’ve locked my keys in the car with the engine running :(. I really and truly did have that cartoon playing before my eyes with the Keystone Cops, they’d run around like chickens with their heads cut off, and it so represented what I’d seen from the police that day that it did make me smile for a moment. I sent the cop out into the cold to wait for his Sargeant to come unlock his car.

My sister-in-law left as she had a long drive home, by this time Rob was in a huge standoff with the police with many officers and cruisers, all pointing their guns at him! I recall at one point during the many calls with Rob throughout all of the insanity that day I did ask him where he was. He finally told me and it was some park type area near the water that we’d been to before. I asked him what he was doing and to describe the situation. He said he had the gun pointed at his temple and that it had been a standoff for hours. I said are you sitting in the Rover doing that???? He told me no, he’d gotten out of the Rover and was standing at the rear of the truck because if he followed through, he didn’t want to make a mess in the car!!!! I couldn’t believe he’d be thinking about that! Finally he told me he wasn’t going to pull the trigger, that he was going to get off the phone and lay the gun down and allow himself to be arrested. I told him thank God! It’s the right thing to do and he hung up.

I got a call shortly thereafter from an officer saying they had Rob, that they were taking him to the Mental Health Institution and that I could contact them. I noted that at 11pm that night, Rob called, he’d been admitted and told me in his most scary, whisper voice “Thank you! I will never forget this!” and then hung up. I was beyond incensed that this idiot husband of mine, who had put all of us through absolute hell that day would have the audacity to now call me using a threatening voice like that! I called the institution back to ask them why the hell did the patients have access to phones after just attempting suicide? They had no idea Rob had snuck out of his room to call me and assured me they’d be keeping a closer watch on him.

I poured myself into bed literally thinking, I don’t believe the day I’ve just had! I also decided right there and then, that that would be my first and last time to ever call 9-1-1 for Rob again. December 6th was a day I’d never forget :(.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Daniel Hollywood permalink
    June 24, 2010 6:36 pm

    Hi Barb,

    I can’t believe the day you went thru, its too bad your husband didn’t have your strength of character, you would not have had to go thru what you did. We deal with a lot of our clients that are Bi-polar in addition to their addiction problems, but we insist that they take their medication and it is monitored by their Counseler’s.

    I’m sorry you had to go thru all that you did and I honor your courage to be able to look back now and write your Blog and help other people going thru similar situations. I’ll continue to read your Blog and make occasional comments.



  2. June 25, 2010 3:27 pm

    Thanks Dan, I sure did learn exactly what strength I had during this process. Funnily enough, it was comforting to know that if I could go through all this and not crack up, that I’d probably be able to handle just about anything. Rob’s bi-polar diagnosis did not happen until this incident when he was hospitalized, so at this point he was not receiving any meds at all. Combining alcohol with chemical imbalances in the brain was causing him to spiral even further downhill at an alarming rate. I’ll blog a bit about that later.

    I too hope this helps others who have dealt with the trauma of anyone attempting suicide or having actually taken their lives. I feel it’s good to know you’re not alone, that you’re not the only one experiencing this and that you can reach out for support.

    Take care, Barb

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