Excerpt from ‘After the Cheering Stops’

After the Cheering Stops.jpeg

The following is an excerpt from “After the Cheering Stops.” You can purchase it on Cyndy Feasel’s web site, or on Amazon.com.

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LOSING CONTROL

A few weeks later, on Sunday, May 2, 2010, Grant went to church with me for the first time in months.

I was raised in the church — and so was Grant. We had that common bond, so I was encouraged when he joined me to worship at Gateway Church, a nondenominational congregation. Perhaps we were turning a corner.

I could tell that Grant had been drinking that morning, but I kept my thoughts to myself to maintain peace between us. We took separate cars because Sarah — who was attending the University of North Texas but living at home — and I were planning to go out to lunch and see a movie together after church. We both said we needed some “girl time.”

Inside Gateway, the three of us sat together, and I noticed that Grant raised his hands and arms while the worship band played with great emotion. That was totally out of character for him, and he also sang loud — way too loud. I didn’t know what to think.

When the service was over, Sarah whispered in my ear, “Dad’s drunk. He’s acting weird.”

We couldn’t make a scene at church, so all we could do was watch Grant drive away. We were both very upset about him driving drunk. He did it regularly though.

Sarah and I got in my car, and we had a good cry. Then I called my sister and father and told them how afraid I was about the situation. What was happening was insane — and I felt powerless to do anything about it. Life was spinning out of control for him and for the rest of us.

That evening, I wrote this entry in my journal:

When Sarah and I came home from the movie, Grant must have mixed meds with his vodka because he was totally out of it. That night, he fell once again into the nightstand, crushing the lampshade and knocking all the pictures off the wall, along with a huge Gatorade bottle full of vodka. He also wet our bed.

Nighttime was worse with Grant for several reasons. By then, the accumulation of vodka in his system was at its highest — and his ability to be cognizant or maintain physical control of his body was at its lowest. More than once I heard him stir in the night and waked to the sight of him standing at the foot of our bed — and peeing onto our bedding and mattress.

The first time I witnessed this bizarre behavior in the middle of the night, I asked him, “What are you doing?”

“I’m going to the bathroom.”

“Grant, you’re peeing on our bed.”

“Oh.”

That’s how out of it Grant was. Each time he soaked our sheets, I flipped on a light switch and got out another set of sheets for our king-size bed.

My next journal entry was from May 5, 2010, written when our youngest child, Spencer, was finishing his sophomore year at Fort Worth Christian.

Spencer and I were coming up to the house when we saw two police cars in front of our home. As we drove up, two policemen were loitering at our front door.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

One of the cops replied, “We’re looking for Grant Feasel.”

“I’m his wife.”

“Ma’am, we got a call from a coworker of Grant’s who said she was afraid for his safety. She said he sounded very depressed on the phone, and there were loud noises in the background. Do you have any guns in the home, ma’am?”

“No, I don’t believe so.”

“Can you let us in?”

“Of course.”

I’ll admit to feeling icy fear when we stepped into the quiet house. We found Grant in the master bedroom, lying perfectly still on our bed and totally out of reality. That night, I wrote this in my journal:

After the cops leave, Grant falls two or three times really badly. He tried to have a phone call but dropped the phone, which sounded like a gunshot when it hit the hardwood floor. I am terrified that he is going to hurt himself seriously. He just crashed into the bathroom door and knocked a hole in the wall. Earlier, it was a broken office door handle and a broken fax machine.

I have a picture on my phone of Grant drunk, passed out on the carpet. He fell out of bed and hit his head and ribs. He told me the next morning that I’d broken his ribs. God help us.

How low could he go? How horrible could things get?

This was not the life or the marriage I expected when I met a tall, blond, and good-looking football player from California on the Abilene Christian University campus.

The football player who wanted to become a dentist.