Back in 2003/4 when I was living in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico there was this sister and her non witness husband that moved into our area. It was plain to see that the sister was suffering from serious mental problems. She was a very nice lady, but was unstable a lot of the time. Her husband was very controlling and later we found out he was extremely abusive verbally, mentally, and physically with her.
Not long after she moved to our area there was all kinds of gossip about her. People rolling their eyes at each other and talking about how weird/crazy she was. I was able to see that she had problems she couldn't help and always felt empathy for her. I made sure she was invited to my wedding and the reception, I knew it would put a smile on her face.
The elders had no idea how to handle a person with mental illnesses. It was common to hear people at the hall talking about her like she was a crazy woman.People would roll their eyes when they saw her coming. It came to light eventually that she was being abused physically. Believe it or not, the elders took up a collection among themselves to help her move to Kansas to stay with a relative there to get away from the abusive situation. I think part of the reason for this was to get rid of her so they wouldn't have to deal with her any more.
She came back to her abusive husband a few months later. It's called being co-dependent. Her hubby sweet talked her into coming back. And when she did come back the elders washed their hands of her...After her return she wasn't treated well at all by the elders.
I remember this one incident where she, I, and an elder named Ted were in a car group one Saturday. I thought we were going to be making calls. Nope! Ted just drove around while he berated her and threatened her with disfellowshipping (He later called it 'counseling her') because she had a membership card for the American Legion. Her Husband was a member of the organization and insisted she join too. Mostly to go to social events and take advantage of meals the group often provided to members. I was so damn uncomfortable. I don't know why Ted would do this with me in the car, and not another elder. Why didn't he just take her into the back room along with a fellow elder to counsel her? She must have been so embarrassed! Handling it this way was just plain WRONG! He would fire off questions at her and before she could reply continue to berate her. I always hated Ted after that.
Eventually the sister's physical abuse got worse and worse. My wife came home from working the emergency room one night (she's an RN), and told me bout this sister having come in to be treated because she had been beaten within an inch of her life with an axe handle. It was documented with photos. It was gruesome! She refused to press charges and went back home to him. The elders had written her off after she came back, so they did nothing to help her. It was like since she dared come back after they helped her escape then she's an idiot and deserves what she gets. Ted had said that to me one day when I asked him what they were going to do to help her after the beating.
She quit coming to the hall ( surprise surprise). Some time later she left the abusive husband again and was able to get into public housing where she didn't have to pay rent or utilities because she was destitute. From time to time I would see her out walking and I would stop and say hello. She would go on these really long walks out toward the Elephant Butte Dam.
One day while the Wife and I were in Roswell NM I got a call from my ex-father. He told me that her body had been discovered at the bottom of the dam. Apparently she had been going on those long walks out toward the dam to build up her stamina and get up the courage to throw herself off the dam. According to the local newspaper she was still alive for a time after she reached the bottom because they found water in her lungs, evidence that she drown. So, she jumped off the dam, bumped banged and scraped her body all the way down the concrete dam (some 300 feet), then lay helpless in the water at the bottom until she drown.
I was stunned when I got the news. I would picture her in my head out walking toward the dam. I made the connection that she had been making practice runs. Building up courage and endurance to end her life....
To this day I remember her at my wedding. I remember her smile. I remember how hard she tried to get to know people at the hall. I remember how awful she was treated. I cry for her.
Patricia and her scumbag husband at my wedding reception.