The next few days are blurry in my memory. I remember feeling numb, as if I were dreaming, yet knowing that it was definitely real. My thoughts, my fears, my prayers, all seemed to run together and swirl around in my head. Why? Why my Cory? What if he never gets better? What is even wrong with him anyway? Brain tumor? Mental breakdown? …Will people think I’m such a horrible wife that I literally made him go crazy? Am I? …It’s a miracle that he is still alive; doing those turns at 140 mph is bad enough, never mind hitting the spikes… God, You spared his life, I know that, but if You were going to take his mind away from him, why would you leave him here? He can’t serve you without his mind! And I don’t know how I will ever take care of him. How do I know he won’t run away again? God, what is Your plan?!
God worked things out in such a way that my dear friend Sharon and her husband just happened to be in the area over this time. I’m talking literal God-send right there, I don’t know what I would have done without her. There’s nothing like a best friend when your world is upside down. She came to Daddy’s to be with me when we got back from Lexington. She brought me a beautiful orchid, and we talked, cried, prayed, sat silently sometimes, then hugged, cried and prayed some more. I am so thankful that she could be there, only God could have planned it so well. She helped me see God in some of the other details too, balancing out my “oh, I should have knowns” with reminders that nobody anticipates something like this!
I kept saying “If only I had seen him run for the car, I’d have jumped in too!” and “If only I had not left him alone and gone to work!” And Sharon kept reminding me, “If you had gone along, think how scared and helpless you would have been! You and the baby could have been killed!” and “You don’t know what would have happened, even if you had stayed home from work!” I soon realized that God had worked it all out in the best way He could have, down to the fact that it happened on New Years Eve, when hardly anyone was on the road… Truly God’s hand was protecting him! Cory would later say it this way: “I had the accelerator, but Jesus had the wheel!”
I would have been lost without the support of friends and the community over these days. my parents and family took such good care of me. Some of my close friends brought food and flowers, others sent cards, some even sent money. Our friends, Ben and Shaun and some others kindly offered to help out at the farm, and I guess you could say it didn’t take too much convincing on my part. I was grateful to dismiss my responsibilities there for awhile, and just work at processing the mess that my life had suddenly become. There is no way to express my/our gratitude for all the support, but I hope we can pass it on to others along the way.
On January 2, I called the jail, and talked with Corporal C. He seemed concerned and said he had planned to call me that evening. “ Mrs. Dexter, I’ve got to tell you, Cory is not good. I can’t get him to eat anything, and he hardly will talk at all. I think he’s getting worse. I’m pretty sure he needs medical help. and this is not the place for him.” He went on to say there was a place for mentally ill people right across from the jail, and we could look into that. “Getting him out of here is the most important thing,” he said, “and if they see he’d be better off somewhere else, they can transfer him at that point.” I thanked him for his time, and for caring, and got off the phone feeling helpless and scared.
What can possibly be wrong?! Not knowing was so hard. Everyone had a diagnosis, it seemed. To those who had experience with mental illness, or knew that there was depression and bipolar disorder in his family history, there was no question. Cory was bipolar. To those who had lost loved ones to brain cancer, it seemed a tumor was the obvious conclusion. I found the latter to line up more with what we were experiencing, since it was so sudden and out of the blue; and soon I was convinced that my Cory was going to die in jail with brain cancer and I was going to be a widow, running a turkey farm alone and raising a little girl who would never know her father. I couldn’t sleep that night, and I remember wondering if anybody was praying for me. I knew that lots of people had texted me and said they would, and I believed they were, but right at the moment, I was just tormented with so many fears and questions, and I thought: “I guess everybody else is sleeping and I’m the only one thats still awake.” Just then my phone buzzed, and when I picked it up, I found a text from our bishop’s wife. She just wanted to tell me she was praying. Wow, God. I was amazed. Just knowing she was awake and praying for us, was enough to convince me to just leave my problems with God and go to sleep.
On January 3, I went to the jail with some of Cory’s good friends, Jonathan, Gary, Aaron and Shaun, hoping to see him. When I asked for Corporal C. he came out to the waiting area, and said “I think we should talk outside.” So we all went outside the jail, and he told us that Cory still seemed to be getting worse rather rapidly. “I want to let you visit, but he isn’t well enough to come out. He keeps taking off his clothes, saying they’re not his. He even tried to flush them down the toilet. He’s not eating anything, and seems to be getting weaker. He just lays on the floor holding on to your Bible, or knocks on the door all day, saying “I’m ready to go home now, my wife is pregnant and needs me.” I mentioned my fear that he might have a brain tumor or something like that affecting his brain, and he said he didn’t want to diagnose him, but that his symptoms definitely did not seem like bipolar disorder. He said “I’ve seen bipolar, and I’m pretty sure it’s not that.I have never seen anything quite like this.”
I was so disappointed not to be able to see him, and so scared for him, all at the same time, I just wanted to cry. Actually I did a little bit. Dear Corporal C. got tears in his eyes, and promised he would tell him I loved him. I knew I could trust him to do his best for Cory, but I still didn’t like the feeling of everything being so out of my control. I asked him “What if he dies in here?!” and he said, “this is definitely not the place for him, and I’m doing my best to help you get him out of here.” There was nothing else to do but just head back up the road. I felt so bad for the guys who went along and didn’t get to see him, but they were really understanding.
That evening, some of my family asked me if I had hired a lawyer, as Cory had a hearing the next day. No, I hadn’t even thought that far. Within an hour, my brother-in-law had made connections with a lawyer, and he called me on the phone. I don’t remember much from our conversation, but I do remember him asking me if I was hoping to get Cory released so I could take him home, and I remember that my initial response was a frantic “NO!” (after which I explained that I just have no idea what to do with him.) He promised he would do the best he could to help us.
Cory’s hearing was at 11:00 on January 4. So many of our friends, family and church family came out to support us, I was blown away, and I wasn’t the only one. I can only describe the judge’s expression as flabbergasted, when 34 of us walked in and sat down. His eyes got big, and he seemed to forget all about the case he was on. He stared at us over the top of his glasses for a few seconds, before getting back to business.
There were a few cases before Cory’s, and we watched as they led in some rather scary-looking criminals, charged with scary-sounding charges, like malicious wounding, etc. Then they brought my Cory in. He looked so pitiful in his handcuffs, it was so sad. He didn’t look like my strong, hard-working husband; but weak, yellow, and completely unaware of his surroundings, as he shuffled in, shackled in his Muck boots, and basically reclined in his chair. It was terrible to see him like that. I remember hearing his best friend Eric’s mom crying, in the row behind me. I did a little crying of my own.
Tyler,(our attorney) went forward and made his request, saying we would like to get Cory transferred to a facility where he could receive medical attention. The judge clearly had reservations, and commented that “due to the nature of his offenses, he’s considered a flight risk.” Tyler handed him a letter, and motioned toward all of us, saying “Everyone I have talked to has stated that this behavior is completely out of character for Mr. Dexter. He comes from a very close-knit and supportive community.” The judge pushed up his glasses and looked briefly at us, commenting: “I can see that,” then read the letter.
Praise the Lord, Corporal C. had written, explaining what sort of problems they were having with Cory, and stating that he needed medical attention, and jail didn’t seem to be the place for him. After reading the letter and asking a few more questions, the judge ruled that he be moved to a mental institution. We left the courtroom and everybody was just so thankful, and praising God. Tyler said it couldn’t have gone better, and that the huge show of support had definitely been in our favor. He told us that Cory was going to get out of that jail to where he could get the help he needed! God really was looking out for us, I could feel Him, like He was right there beside me. He helped me to keep fairly calm on the outside, even though I was scrambled eggs on the inside. I remember hugging a lot of people and thanking them for coming. I was still overwhelmed by all the questions that were yet unanswered, but so grateful that all these people cared enough to come.
As some of our group was taking the elevator back down to the first floor of the courthouse, a man commented to them, “Man! I wanna be Amish! you guys really stick together!” He may have been a bit off on the denomination, but I feel like God got some glory, in that His people love each other, and stick together when things get tough.
As I was reading in the Bible that night, I came across these verses, and they seemed so fitting for the way we felt after the hearing. “Glorify the Lord with me, let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord and He answered me, he delivered me from all my fears, Those who look to Him are radiant, their faces are never covered in shame. The poor man called, and the Lord heard him, He saved him out of his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and He delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. (Psalm 34:3-8) Amen! praise the Lord! He truly was showing Himself to be good, and He had clearly heard and answered so many of our prayers!
I had hoped to get this story crammed into 2 posts, but it looks like there will need to be a Part 3. Stay tuned.