Chapter One: The Final Curtain
A Memoir by Randi Fine
Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine
All deaths are sudden, no matter how gradual the dying may be. ~Michael McDowell
As we lay on our backs looking up at the sky, I glanced over at Cammy expecting to see a spark of childish wonderment in her eyes. She had been a delight, as was typically her nature. Instead her tiny eyelids looked heavy and kept drifting closed. It had been a long day for her.
Almost an hour had passed since the first launching of the fireworks display. With a sense that the grand finale might begin at any moment, we made a split-second decision to pack up our camp and leave a few minutes early. With any luck we would avoid the torrent of people all trying to exit the park at the same time, hopefully circumventing the impending traffic jam on the only road out of there.
We quickly grabbed our things and then proceeded to forge a pathway through the vast sea of spectators, trying to be as considerate as possible under the circumstances and not to trample on anyone’s blanket. Feeling secure in the safety of her Daddy’s arms, Cammy laid her sleepy head on his shoulder as we headed for our car.
As we drove home, I turned my head around and peered into the back seat of the Maxima. Not surprisingly Cammy had fallen asleep, her head gently resting on the adult-sized seat-belt strap that miniaturized her petite stature by contrast. A perfectly spiraled golden curl lay softly over one eye. I found myself gazing at her for a moment, marveling at her untainted beauty. Though I dreaded the thought of ever having to disturb her, I knew we would be home in less than fifteen minutes. Surely she would wake up as we transferred her from the car into the house.
“Daddy will carry you upstairs,” I said as he lifted her languid, dazed, and glassy-eyed, out of the car. He carried her up the front walkway and into the house. “Brush your teeth and get ready for bed, and then I will come up to tuck you in and kiss you goodnight.”
I stood in the foyer watching as they ascended the staircase. Then as I turned and faced the unlit kitchen straight ahead, the blinking red light on the answering machine sitting on the kitchen counter caught my eye. I felt it beckoning me with rapidly pulsating, imposing urgency. Curious, but with a sense of inexplicable foreboding, I approached the machine and played the message.
“Keith’s dead. Call me the second you get home.” She had not identified herself but she didn’t need to. I knew the distinct, raspy sound of my ex-mother-in-law’s voice very well.
Though predictable and imminent, the news hit me hard. Keith, my thirty-four year old ex-husband had died.
The jolting impact of that day, Wednesday, July 4, 1990, would be indelibly pressed on my memory forever.
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Randi Fine is a narcissistic abuse expert. She is the author of the groundbreaking book Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Healing, the most comprehensive, most well researched, and most up-to-date book on this subject. In addition to helping survivors recognize their abuse and heal from it, this book teaches mental health professionals how to recognize and properly treat the associated abuse syndrome. She is also the author of Cliffedge Road: A Memoir, the first and only book to characterize the life-long progression of complications caused by narcissistic child abuse.