His attorney came to our home within a few days of March 18. The lawyer warned of media coverage, publicity, paparazzi stalking the house, public questions about ME, etc… With every sentence he spoke, I worried the nightmare was about to worsen.
Shortly after the attorney departed, one of my spouse’s clients called our home. Although this particular client had shown up on my doorstep the evening of March 18 moments after my children had been informed about the situation, and had yelled at my children and I when we answered the door and all stood there huddled together crying, I was still stunned when this same client called my home that day and directed his venom toward ME. He yelled at me and said my spouse was the most despicable man he had ever known. When he was done ranting, I thought, “It is totally his right to feel that way and believe it, but I don’t know how it’s going to help his situation by subjecting me to it!”
And I laughed as I realized I had politely listened to all of it, didn’t hang up the phone during any part of his tirade, endured his yelling fury, even had the presence of mind to thank him for calling before HE hung up on ME! My phone etiquette was alive and well. (My parents would be so proud!)
That afternoon I played outside with my three-year-old and saw a dark Suburban cruise slowly by our house, turn around, and cruise slowly back by. I guess I’d seen too many crime-themed t.v. shows and movies because I wondered if it was a criminal casing a new opportunity, a reporter, a former client of His, or someone out to do my children and I harm. I couldn’t believe I didn’t feel safe at home anymore.
Again, I laughed at myself and my crazy fears that seemed to have come out of nowhere.
Later that day I went to my spouse’s office behind our home to get a fax. When I turned around, my three-year-old was gone. I hunted everywhere in the yard and on our property but he was nowhere to be found. I told my spouse of the situation and He joined me in the hunt. We looked for 30 minutes–the longest 30 minutes of my life. The entire time I worried an angry client had kidnapped my three-year-old. I wondered if a client’s loss would be so great that they’d mentally snap and kill my child. I thought, “I’ve lost EVERYTHING AND my three-year-old!” I fought back waves of panic like I’d never felt before, and thankfully, we found our little son next door.
That time, I was so afraid I couldn’t laugh.
By that evening, when the doorbell rang again, I was in full-blown paranoia. Through the glass front door I could see a man in a baseball cap and jacket who appeared to be holding some type of recording device. I debated about answering the door, but finally decided to get it over with. I braced myself to face a reporter. I hoped I was in control enough to rely on my professional media training (but seriously doubted I was–it’s different when YOU are in the negative spotlight for something you had no knowledge of and no participation in.) I thought to myself, “So it has begun,” and grasped the doorknob.
I was SO afraid, but I opened the door anyway, and discovered it was only the Schwann man selling ice cream and other frozen products! My terror must have been written all over my face because before I could speak, the man put both hands in the air and said, “It’s ok, ma’am! I’m just the Schwann man! I’m not going to hurt you!” And he slowly backed away and left without even attempting to sell me anything!
I imagined the story that Schwann man was going to go home and tell that night. I closed the door…and laughed.
I had become paranoid in less than one day. The insanity of it all made me laugh. And I’m happy to report that I’m still laughing.
Remember: it’s a choice.