I have had the most amazing day!!! Something I never dreamed would happen, but it did… But before I get into what happened, a few meanderings if you’ll put up with them. This first bit is for Claire.
Just to summarize old ground, I visited Paula in the UK for the last time in January 2013. From my side, the trip was meant to find out if there was any possible way I could trust her after all she’d done, and whether the marriage could be salvaged. For her part, she was begging me to sell a second home, and return to her. This was also when I had the Saga of the Sofa (see Outrageous Lies — the Sofa).
In April of that year, 2013, I bought Paula an airline ticket to the US to help me make preparations to move back over to England. The “sofa” episode had cleared most of my doubts about her evil intent and exploitation, but I had a bruised and battered heart. She was begging me to “just get on a plane and come,” but my fear paralyzed me. So I told her if she would come to the US to help me make initial arrangements for the move, I would return to the UK with her. Well, thankfully, she created a faux argument (rage, really), and the airline ticket went unused.
By July of that year, 2013, Paula had told me her mother was dying of pancreatic cancer. She used her mother’s illness to scam more money out of me — “My dad isn’t working, I spent my last penny on caring for my mum and dad and buying them food. I don’t have any money left for gas, food, electric, for me and the kids….” Of course, I was dubious. I’d already been conned one too many times. And she was sending me pleading texts and Skype messages, and telephoning me at all hours. See this video again, more hard evidence….
In one of the messages, you can hear her telling me that her mobile (cell phone) service with Orange was about to be cut off. Translation: “Terry, if you don’t send me money, you won’t have any way to reach me.” So stupid me, once again on the 1% chance she was telling the truth that she and kids were going to go without, I sent her a wad of money via Western Union. And what happened once she retrieved the money from Western Union??? Paula disappeared!!! She did not respond to my text messages, she did not answer my emails, she did not respond to my call to her mobile phone, she would not pick up her landline, she ignored the messages I left on Skype, and she ignored the messages I’d left on the games we played, such as Scramble with Friends.
In exasperation and despair, I left her a last message in Scramble with Friends:
Claire, look at the date on the game, 9 July. Your Facebook page, when I found it, showed your relationship with her had started in April of 2013. What do you reckon she was doing between April and July??? Cheating on me with you and cheating on you with me. Now I don’t know when you met her, but I presume you didn’t “poof” into a relationship in April. Had you already met her in January when I was there for my visit? Surely you have the sense to add 2 + 2. I’m not putting any more effort into it. You have been warned, and one day you will wish you had listened. (Oh yeah, that iPad she has? Guess who bought it for her???)
Okay, never mind all that, I’m beyond caring. On to the first part of my amazing day. I have been having a lot of eye pain and problems. I have congenital cataracts, glaucoma, and deteriorating corneas. With much effort, I saw a “mediocre” specialist in Silver Spring. Alright, I can’t resist a segue at the mention of Silver Spring.
Paula was due to come in July 2010 for our marriage. I was worried about my bathroom. Yes, my bathroom! Paula is a large woman, and I had a tiny bath tub. There was no way she could fit into the tub for a bath. I also had a fixed shower head. No way would she be able to dutifully clean her crevices and personal parts. So I went out and bought and installed a shower head with a hose so she’d at least be able to shower properly. One day, she was showering and I heard a huge c-c-c-crash. I went in to to see if she was okay. Paula had put her foot on the tiled soap dish affixed to the wall, and her weight had ripped it from the wall!! So I used the big kerplunk as an occasion to take Paula to Silver Spring — the closest place where a hardware store was reachable by public transit. We had breakfast at McDonald’s and I showed her what an American biscuit is. It was a bright and sunny day, if too hot, and I showed Paula where the Discovery building (which is the home headquarters for all the documentaries and shows on the various Discovery channels in the United States) was located:
All because her heft broke my soap dish!
Anyway, so I was saying, I’d seen the “mediocre” ophthalmologist in Silver Spring for my eye condition, who had referred me to a more skilled doctor in Chevy Chase (another upscale DC suburb I shared with Paula when I bought her marmite from a store that carried international foods). But the Chevy Chase specialist referred me to the Wilmer Eye Institute in Baltimore, MD.
The Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins, founded in 1925, is an internationally-renowned eye institution that specializes in the diagnosis and management of complex medical and surgical eye disease; and serves as a preeminent provider of routine eye care and refractive, optical, cosmetic, and eye trauma services for the Mid-Atlantic region. Wilmer is also recognized as a national leader in research and in the training of medical students, residents, fellows, and ophthalmic technicians. As the largest department of ophthalmology in the United States, the Wilmer Eye Institute has earned recognition for bringing together ophthalmologists and optometrists consistently regarded as being among the finest in the field.
No way on earth or heaven I could get from where I live to Baltimore. So I set aside the worry in the mass of other worries I carry, and said, “Never mind.” But today, transportation materialized! So now I have an appointment for December 3rd. Someone has been praying for me, and whoever it is, I thank them. Let’s hope it doesn’t snow.
To give a little further background information, my left eye is my worst. I have no usable vision from it. Over the years, I’ve had so many surgeries on my left eye that I lost count after 20. Mostly for the glaucoma, and eventually a shunt was placed in the eye. But the biggest trouble is that I’ve had two failed corneal transplants. I am not a candidate for another transplant, and any surgery on my left eye risks losing it altogether. However, there are now synthetic corneas which are man-made rather than coming from cadavers, and there is no risk of rejection. This is the type of surgery that can be done at Johns Hopkins if my eye is healthy enough to survive the operation. And with a synthetic cornea, I might have usable vision in my eye!! Hence, my excitement (and fear).
But all of the above is minutae compared to the mind-blowing thing that happened to me yesterday and the wee hours of this morning. “Mind-blowing” is such a flaccid adjective. I cannot find the right word…. Groping here, but nothing will come. Before I tell it, I must pay homage to my dear and precious friend, Meg. I have written about Meg before. She was one of those earthly angels who should be treasured while we have them, among the kindest souls I’ve ever known.
In Meg’s honor, a brief sketch of what happened. Meg had a PhD in microbiology. She was doing her postdoc work, and where? Guess, go on, guess. Johns Hopkins, where I will be going for my ophthalmology appointment in December. And Meg’s husband had a PhD in neuroscience, doing his postdoc work at NIH. They had a toddler son, and didn’t want him to grow up an only child, and wanted to have one other baby close in age to their young son. So Meg had tried to get pregnant again. The first time, she miscarried, and when the second attempt “took,” she emailed me with the news. Meg had a blood-clotting disease for which she took blood-thinners. She also had a problem with the pregnancy which seemed minor. But before I get ahead of myself, I’m going to share some snippets of emails Meg sent me (we kept in touch via email even though we only lived a couple of blocks from each other):
November 6, 2009 (Meg to Me):
I was so, so happy to read about your “changed relationship status” on Facebook and see your photos! I’m glad you’re having a good time on your trip and you and Paula look so happy together. I just can’t express how overjoyed I am that this seems to be working out for you… You deserve it more than pretty much anyone I know!
November 6, 2009 (Me to Meg):
In all, a strange and powerful synergy with some serious misgivings. But still willing to explore what might be a great thing. She says she adores me, and even wants to marry me. Way too fast for me, even being an occasional risk-taker.
September 10, 2010 (Meg to Me):
I’m plagued by the same vague sense of needing a change that has plagued me for years now – really since my 3rd or 4th year of grad school. Having kids, graduating, and starting a new line of work with new people has, if anything, only made it worse. So I am quite open to the possibility that this might be a problem with me, not my surroundings, but in that case I really don’t know what to do about it.
November 10, 2009 (Meg to Me):
Well, lots to think about in regards to Paula. I’m flattered that you think I have some deep wisdom about relationships, but honestly I’m not sure I do. I do think that sex and physical attraction have a lot to do with it, more than is really considered polite to acknowledge. But that’s not everything of course. I was pretty young when [husband] and I started dating (21) and to a large extent I feel like I just got lucky in finding someone compatible at a fairly young age. But is [husband] the perfect mate for me? If I’d looked around more and taken more time, would I have found someone even better? In other words, were [husband] and I meant, in some cosmic sense, to be together? I don’t know. It falls into a larger category of question regarding whether ANYTHING is meant to be or whether things just sort of happen.
November 14, 2009 (Me to Meg):
Our personalities have some areas of compatibility and some areas of stress. We are both very sensitive and very compassionate and caring (at least, I see myself that way…). We are sentimental and romantic. Or, I was romantically inclined until I became cynical after Kim. Paula does have a problem with anger, but it seems to blow over quickly. I don’t think I’m an angry person. If so, it seldom gets expressed and I don’t hold grudges. I am more analytical and communicative. She seems to be more reactive and emotional. I can be emotional if one of my “issues” is involved. But usually, I’m calm and in control. Paula is quite used to being the, what would the word be?, the boss, the “decider,” whatever. In most cases, I’m passive, but only to a certain extent. I have very definite preferences in some cases, and I can get annoyed if those preferences are ignored or disrespected. So a little room for a clash there in some situations…
I know that Paula has some emotional issues. Her first two marriages were nightmares. And that is an understatement of tremendous proportions. Her relationship with her mother (and both parents, actually) is puzzling. Very hot and cold. Very hostile and yet loving. They were rude to me in the sense that they never spoke to me or acknowledged my presence. I can understand that to a certain extent, because of Paula’s bad judgment in her prior marriages. Clearly, her parents are leery of another big mistake. But to not even say hello? I’ve gathered that her mother has definite emotional problems which has, no doubt, been passed along to Paula. I don’t relish the idea of involvement with someone who has emotional problems, but then again, I don’t expect to ever find someone perfect and one has to take the whole package. So, I am keeping an open mind as best I can.
November 23, 2009 (Meg to Me):
I was never depressed in Berkeley but I was frequently quite anxious. Life seemed so beautiful, and so fragile…. The world was full of amazing things I wanted to do and experience, and yet it seemed that at any minute it could all be blown away by earthquakes, fires, ridiculously high housing prices, pulmonary embolisms, terrorists…. Here in Maryland, my surroundings have somehow seemed much safer (although I’m not sure they really are, despite the lack of earthquakes) and also much more boring. The problem was no longer too many experiences to fit into one lifetime, but rather one long, long, lifetime in which I’m running out of new things to experience. So I became depressed. Now I am wondering whether it’s possible for me to find some sort of happy medium where I feel like risks and benefits are balanced, as it were, and I can consequently feel neither anxious nor depressed.
March 4, 2010 (Meg to Me):
Now I’ll tell you something that I haven’t yet told anyone outside my immediate family: I’m pregnant again. We conceived as soon as we started trying – interestingly enough, during that week when everyone was snowed in 😉 – and I have to say that [husband] and I were both in a bit of shock when we first found out. I mean, I’m 35! It wasn’t supposed to happen this quickly! So we are now adjusting to the likelihood (I’m still not out of the clear as far as a miscarriage goes) that we’re going to have a baby in late fall, rather than next spring or summer as we’d sort of been assuming. […] So yeah, I want to have another child, I’m happy that I seem to be free of any fertility issues, and I can imagine that my life will be just wonderful in a few years…
June 11, 2010 (Meg to Me):
Nothing serious, just various check-ups related to pregnancy and thrombophilia. We found out on Tuesday that we’re having another boy, and also that I have a condition called placenta previa, where the placenta is blocking the cervix. Chances are this is nothing to worry about, as there is a 90% chance that it will correct itself in the next couple of months, but if not, I would need another c-section since the baby would be unable to exit the womb naturally. That part actually doesn’t bother me too much – I had a c-section with [toddler son] and it wasn’t that big a deal – but a more serious issue would be the possibility of bleeding from the placenta as the cervix thins. This can apparently get heavy enough to necessitate a blood transfusion, and I’m not sure exactly how it would be managed in my case since I’m on anticoagulants. So I’m feeling a bit nervous about that, and hoping that my placenta gets to where it should be (or, technically speaking, that the uterus grows in the appropriate orientation relative to the placenta) and that the issue just never comes up.
As far as I can tell, the above was the last email I got from Meg. I married Paula on July 20, 2010 and was too busy to correspond; spent the month of August in England. Paula had her “calamitous” visit to the US in September 2010. And on October 6, 2010, I boarded a plane destined for the UK at Dulles for my longer visit, arriving at Heathrow on UK soil on the morning of October 7. On my birthday toward the end of October while Paula and I were on a road trip to Prestatyn, Wales, with the kids, I received an email from a mutual friend of Meg’s telling me that Meg has passed away. Stop. Absorb. Young, highly educated woman in her mid-30’s with husband and toddler. Dead. Re-read her emails to me above. Meg had gone into labor on October 6th, same day I was boarding the plane at Dulles, and had given birth to her second son (at Johns Hopkins). She died on October 7, same day the rubber wheels of the big metal bird touched down at Heathrow. I didn’t know her husband well, and so I assumed what happened was that she had gone into labor a little earlier than expected, and so the blood-thinners had not yet been discontinued. She gave life to her son, and then she bled out and died. 😦
So what happened to me yesterday, October 7, 2014, the 4th anniversary of Meg’s death??? Someone I’d longed to hear from, but never imagined would happen, contacted me. Someone in Paula’s life, and I won’t reveal the name or gender. Call the person Z. Z and I spent at least 2 hours talking. For you survivors of psychopaths, survivors of PURE EVIL, you know what it means to find a prior victim or be sought out by your replacement future victim. This was one of those moments. Everything falls into place, click-click-click. The truth will prevail and has prevailed. Now I know for sure that I’m not “the only one.” Now I know it wasn’t just ME. There is very little I don’t now know, and I have no more questions. There are angels and there are devils. My friend, Meg, was an angel. My wife, Paula Simmons Khier Vanzetti Marshall What’s-Her-Name, is a devil. I wish I could say more, but I’ve promised my confidence for now. I ask for prayers for my friend, L, who has a “date” coinciding with something very important that is on the agenda within the next two weeks. L is an angel also, and I need her muchly.
“They” say that things happen for a reason. Here are a few quotes:
Sad things happen. They do. But we don’t need to live sad forever. ~Mattie Stepanek
When you’re true to who you are, amazing things happen. ~Deborah Norville
Even when bad things happen you have to try to use those bad things in a positive manner and really just take the positive out of it. ~Natalie du Toit
Let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make the right things happen. ~Horace Mann
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