Stanley Carmichael is 78 years old, the father of Russell Carmichael and the grandfather of Rebecca and Jamie Carmichael.
As a child, Stanley lived with his parents and younger brother on a farm. He began helping his father and learning how to work on the farm at a very young age, and as a result, he has had a strong work ethic all his life. It was not an easy childhood, however. It was only a small farm that his parents owned, and many years in a row there would be poor crops, even after the long, six to seven day work week that his father put in. As a result of this, the family was poor and could not afford to hire help, so Stanley helped as much as he could. He often missed school when his parents needed his help, and he dropped out of school after grade six. It wasn't until much later that he went back to school and became a civic engineer. His family situation was stressful as well, because three more babies were born after Stanley, and only one survived past a year old, due to harsh conditions and lack of medications.
When Stanley was in his late teens, his parents decided to move to the city, because the farm was failing. He found it hard to adapt to the different atmosphere and all the new stressors that came with it, such as all the noise, but was relieved that, of the many problems there were on the farm, very few still applied in the city.
Soon after, Stanley became a soldier and fought during World War II. Unfortunately, he could not cope with the never ending stress of knowing that at any moment you could be killed, and ultimately refused to go to any more missions. This was regarded as shameful, so Stanley was branded with LMF (lack of moral fibre) on his discharge papers. Ever since, Stanley has suffered from nightmares and flashbacks of his time in the war.
After going back to school and getting a job as a civic engineer, Stanley married Rose Jeffries. He and Rose had a loving relationship and Stanley depended on Rose a lot to make sure that everything went smoothly. Their only child was Russell, and they had a comfortable life while he was growing up.
Stanley is a somewhat possessive man (this derives from not having much to cling to as a child) and did not find it easy to watch his son grow up and leave home, or to retire. He only retired after much coaxing from Rose and his boss.
And this brings us up to this past year. Russell got married to Natalie four months ago, and Stanley does not think very highly of her. When he has spoken to her, he has found her to be a whiny airhead who is far too young for his son. He cannot figure out what he sees in her, as Russell's first wife was completely different. He also feels that Russell is virtually tearing the family apart with this marriage. Between coaxing the kids to like this pathetic excuse for a new wife, and the fact that she and Rebecca do not get along, and the fact that she is pregnant already, it seems to be more stressful than good. Stanley has told Russell all of this of course, being very outspoken, but it only resulted in a screaming match. After Stanley decided not to attend the wedding, he and Russell stopped speaking.
The only good thing that has come out of this is the fact that Stanley is now closer to Rebecca than he has ever been before. After Natalie moved in, Rebecca, who cannot stand being at home at all, started coming over and visiting her grandfather whenever she can. They have long talks about many different subjects. Stanley sees this as being doubly good. On the one hand, he is getting to know Rebecca, and on the other hand it is showing up Russell completely, by proving that things are not all well and good in his household.
During one of these long talks, the topic of stress came up. Rebecca confessed that she was under a lot of stress, and mentioned that she wished that she had lived long ago, because there was not as much stress then. Stanley wasn't sure that she was correct on this point, and so he thought about it for a couple of days, trying to think of how life was stressful a long time ago. He found that there were stressful situations before, all right, but that they were more predictable and life threatening. Even in prehistoric times there would have been stress about getting food (and not being eaten by the food), and as well, the death rate would have been incredibly high, and winters would have always been stressful. He relayed this information back to Rebecca, who promptly changed her mind about living in history.
And then, only three months ago, something happened that changed Stanley completely and caused him a lot of stress: Rose died. One day, while he was upstairs, he heard a thump, a scream and then silence. He ran downstairs. Rose was lying at the bottom of the stairs, unconscious. He called an ambulance and Rose was rushed to the hospital. He waited anxiously for the doctors in the emergency room. Unfortunately, there was nothing much they could do. Rose had suffered from major head trauma, was currently in a coma, and it was doubtful as to whether or not she would ever wake up. Nothing could have prepared Stanley for the shock of seeing Rose. The form on the bed was different from the Rose he had known for most of his adult life. She looked awful. Every visit that Stanley made was harder and harder than the one before. Just when he thought that things could get no worse, the doctor informed him that she was brain dead. He had the option of keeping her on life support, but decided against it.
After this, Stanley went back to his house, locked himself inside, and refused to see or even talk to anyone, his loss was so large. He blamed himself for the death of his wife, and continuously ran "what ifs" through his mind. What if he had been with her, could he somehow have prevented the fall? And what if he had kept her on life support? Would there have been a chance that she would have gotten better? He found himself forgetting that Rose was dead, and yelled out questions to her when he needed help with something. Then he started worrying for himself. He was no longer young, he could also suffer from a stroke or even something else at any time.
Eventually, it was Rebecca that finally jerked him back to reality. She had been coming to the house as much as usual, but Stanley had been too absorbed in his own troubles and refused to talk to her, even though she was quite obviously under a great deal of stress and hurting as well. A little later, Stanley noticed a change in Rebecca, and, after studying her and her actions, came to the conclusion that her changed behavior was the result of being high, and that Rebecca was on drugs.
He then tried to talk to Rebecca about it, but she wouldn't listen, so, after some thought he decided to talk to Russell about it. Unfortunately, Russell was still angry with Stanley and he refused to listen as well, saying that his grief was getting to be too extreme and that it was impairing his judgment.
At that point, Stanley decided to get help in coping with the loss of Rose. He went to a doctor and learned that he was suffering from PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. All his symptoms, the guilt, replaying, and the "fear of further fear" were common ones of PTSD, and were all higher than normal because he had been the one to find her, and because he felt so helpless during the whole ordeal. He realized that the effects of the trauma would probably always be with him, and that all he could do to help the healing process would be to try to move on with his life. So Stanley, to do this, sold the house that he and Rose had lived in and moved to an apartment. Although this is a good first step, he is still suffering from the PTSD.Go Back to the Family Page