Senseless Deaths

I have recently had two deaths in the family.  I am still working through them, but not for the reasons you might think.

Yes, I am sorry they are gone, but I’ve accepted that already. I cried a little but my grief is mixed with anger, so I know I will eventually have to work through that.

One I will miss terribly.  The other, I will always wonder how I could have made a bigger difference in his life.

Death number 1:

The first death was my cousin’s.  My cousin was fantabulous.  I didn’t grow up with him.  I babysat him. He was considerably younger and so I never really was around when he was a teen or growing up.

The visits to our Mexican side of the family had been few and far between, by then I was a mom and responsible parent.  My young cousins seemed wild and we all worried and wondered if they belonged to gangs. One visit in particular, I remembered seeing gunshot holes in a straight line along all the cars across the street from their house.  My aunt and uncle moved from there shortly thereafter wanting to get the kids to a better neighborhood. Given the circumstances of his death, my brother’s response to the news is, how grateful he is, we didn’t grow up in that environment. Mother kept us away.  Mother may not have been quite sane, but she still had a mother’s protective instinct. I thought for a long time she was ashamed of her family, but perhaps not.

Still, they are family and for that reason, I’ve since tried to get to know them better.

For 30 years, I lived out of state and hadn’t seen them in quite a long time even though I stayed in touch by phone and mostly just with my aunt, their mother.  When I returned four years ago, I started visiting them again.  All grown up now, “RA” (not his real name) and I became buddies.  During my time away, he’d had four kids and they’d had kids. He was no longer with either of their mothers and now lived next door to my aunt, his mom.

On m first visit, I drove up in my “dirty” car.  I’d just washed it either a couple of days before or the day before.  He insisted, he’d detail it.  In short order he had all his buddies washing and buffing every inch of it.  Before long it looked brand new!!!  I didn’t realize that washing alone doesn’t cut it. A good waxing and buffing makes a world of difference!  Spit spot.

I offered to give him something for it but he always refused.  When my son got his new, used car, he taught him how to take care of it and when they were done his car now looked spanking new.  That particular time, because he had worked on two of our cars and quite laboriously, I might add, I once again offered him a sizable amount of cash for helping out.  That time he took it.  I think he went to the casino afterwards. I was, of course, disappointed and vowed to not do that again.  Instead, I thought I’d give him something in trade, perhaps.  I’m a first born.

On some afternoons, we would talk and occasionally have a beer together. He was warm and kind. I did get around to asking him if he’d belonged to a gang and he said, No, never.  We would talk about everything and I saw nothing but a good guy.

He was also quite artistic and gifted me a Betty Boop clock that I knew my airline pilot brother would be envious of and he was. Betty Boop

On that first visit, when I was in LA for a screenwriters workshop, I told him of my screenwriting desires.  He had gotten so excited about my screenplays.  It was neat, he looked up to me for all he thought I’d achieved, even though a part of me was so afraid to disappoint. He was interested in what I’d written and even hooked me up with a guy who had once been in law enforcement who might help my research. My story centered on a kidnapping and a woman’s unknown connection to the cartel.  Later he would tell me, “Cuz, don’t do it.”  He was quite serious. I didn’t understand his change of heart, but even though he said it sounded great, he reiterated, “don’t do it”. He said, it was dangerous.  It never made sense to me since lots of writers write about the cartel.  In fact, there are so many cartel stories out there, how would one more make a difference?  I said, it’s fiction after all and my queries were non specific, plus I told him, most everything I had, I got off the internet, the rest was made up. Nevertheless, I let it go because it wasn’t developing the way I wanted it to anyway.  Unfortunately, there was also one about a kidnapping that came out soon after.  Plus that year, so many cartel movies began to surface that I would be hard pressed to sell it anyway, even with revisions.

On my aunts property, she had fruit trees. RA would harvest giant grapefruit and from her tall avocado trees, avocados.  She would sell them to the neighbors or passersby that would stop and ask.  Of course, that was frequent since RA made her a big sign inviting them to buy.   “RA” would also be the one to climb this tall ladder to harvest the fruit so his mom  could sell them for a little cash (like 10 for $1 or so), mostly so they wouldn’t go to waste.  When I was there, I’d hold the ladder for him as he’d tie it and himself in before he’d get to work some 20+ feet up.  Between him and his brother they took good care of his mom and did things for her all the time.

A few weeks ago, he was shot, assassination style.  The news said that, except for his age, 63,  it had all the markings of a gangland “hit”.  But what got me is that it was a story that got snuffed almost immediately. It was weeks before his body would be released to the family.  Am I overstepping my bounds in saying so?  I hope not.

It was around 2 AM.  He was riding his bicycle home, after visiting a “friend”, after said friend called him over.  Was it a set up?  We still have no answers and pictures are sparse for a reason.

At first, I thought perhaps, because I knew he liked to gamble, that maybe he’d gotten in debt with the wrong person.  But that was just a guess.  No one else seemed to have a clue.

I’ve since learned the FBI is investigating.  The FBI?  Hmmmm

The story gets curiouser and curiouser.

Death Number  2 –

Last weekend, we deposited my ex son-in-law’s ashes at sea.  My daughter and granddaughter came out for the services.  She was his first and I believe his only legal wife. His mom, sister and ex football jock friends from high school were there and all his homeless “crew” were there.  The contrast disconcerting.

The homeless sat or stood on one side and the country clubbers on the other.  How did this once good looking guy go astray?

I knew he had an alcohol problem when he married my daughter and I only suspected the drugs.  One time, when I visited them, I had observed him stepping out momentarily with something in his hands and then returning moments later, but I was naive to those matters at the time. Was it a drug deal?

What I didn’t know is that he had once used my daughter, while she was pregnant with our grand daughter as a drug mule. So, his addiction and her love caused them both to make some unwise choices. I never knew.  Drugs and alcohol, for me anyway, have never been a temptation, for which I’m grateful.

We talked them into moving to Colorado to live with us hoping that away from his druggy friends, that he’d kick the habit.  They were there for six or seven months.  We employed him at our bicycle business and kept him busy, but he was miserable.  He didn’t have his drugs, that we knew of, but he still had access to alcohol.

While cleaning one day, I found a stash of alcohol, several bottles of vodka, whiskey or whatever.  I went back to check later and those were gone and several others had taken their place. Where and when was he getting these? One day, I asked him to run to the store for me, so he borrowed my bike and took off.  After more than an hour, I went looking for him on my son’s bike. (the store was nearby) I found him sitting on the bridge, downing cans of beer and tossing the empties into the Colorado River!!!  I took the cans from him and we had a chat.  When the chat was over he hugged me, thanked me and then closed in for a kiss.  I pushed him away and told him, he was drunk and I’m his mother in law, for Pete’s sake!  He was only 21.

I wasn’t angry at him because I recognized only too well that this young man had a serious problem. (My ex had been an alcoholic, but a good natured one such as BAC, (not his name). He was a teddy bear… a gorgeous, handsome, charismatic hunk (at the time).  Women had trouble not forgiving him. Instead of getting angry, they forgive and forgive, which was a disservice to him. Some time later, the kids announced they were moving back to CA. We were not happy.

They got their tax return and he was going to go on ahead, get a place and send for the girls.  We never saw him again.  My daughter, after waiting awhile, learned he had moved in with her former roommate.  She filed a divorce in absentia.  I’m not sure if that’s the correct term.  She would later marry a guy who became the only dad, my grand daughter would recognize as dad.  He and his family love her to pieces.

BAC didn’t show up in her life again until he learned she’d had a son. His mom, sister and brother were always in Becca’s life, so it wasn’t as if he was totally unknown to her, but he wasn’t dad and she’d never met him.  She finally agreed to meet him.  By then, he’d been in and out of prison, lost an eye in a fight and was living on the streets.  He’d stolen from friends, and abused his friendships. He was a mess, but despite that she says philosophically, “he lived life on his terms.”  She doesn’t hate or admire him.

My daughter met his “wife” and she told her that he stayed away as much as possible because, he said regarding his daughter, “she was the only good thing I ever did” and didn’t want to ruin that. She was the only child he would ever have.

Now, here he was, at 48, in a box. (His mom gave permission to use his pic on this blog.)

The program had a picture of him when he was young and the way my daughter remembered him when they first met.  She lost it.  She never expected that hurt to spring up after 26 years.

The homeless people laid out a spread you would not believe, but no one, except the homeless ate anything that they’d prepared. Even then, they didn’t eat until most everyone had left. We drank water and dipped only what our own hands touched.  There was a pork loin (several, in fact) that were on the barbecue, but when I saw this guy slicing it up with his filthy hands… well.

My grand daughter and I made an attempt to talk to them, but discovered that most of them seriously suffered mentally and from their addictions. They did say, he talked about us often.  It was difficult to watch. We learned that some of these folks had, at one time, had come from good homes. Some were well educated and talented. I learned they  are provided phones and other resources by family and friends, who have not abandoned them completely, but don’t know what else to do for them. There was among this older group, one young man, who is probably not unlike BAC was at one time and it saddened my heart to see and wonder where he would end up. It was sad all the way around in so many ways.

BAC died peacefully I hear.  He got up one day and sat down at the table and that was it.  He died where he sat.

My daughter said, she believed it started when his father died while he was still in high school.  He never got over it. I think people are more aware of the impact of traumatic events these days, but perhaps not so much then. No two people suffer the same and for some, it is deeply hidden and surfaces subtly.

His high school jock friends turned out. They went to college and he went to drugs, but they were there anyway.  Some were childhood friends and others he’d grown up with later and they came.  Two of his friends went out on their boards to deposit his ashes.  None of his homeless friends except for his wife, would walk that far (one block) to the beach for his send off.  For me, it was so evident who his true friends were.

 

When his friend had paddled the required 1/4 mile to deposit the ashes, he said that once the ashes got wet, they felt like 50 pounds on his back.  The sea was not in his favor and he returned exhausted.  That’s friendship.

Bret sendoff

 

Stabbed 37 Times

Hello blog friends.  I’ve been MIA from the blog community and will unfortunately be a long time trying to catch up on past blogs.

I had to depart suddenly as my brother was stabbed by a “tenant” he was evicting from his home.  He is fortunately recovering well. The trauma team was amazing and repaired his heart and lung, damaged in the altercation. We have determined he comes from sturdy stock, because it was a miracle he did not die.  Although he did say he remembered a “gold” room where he saw mom and his dad, both deceased. So who knows?

I cannot say enough thanks to all those who came to render support. It was very inspiring at how so many coworkers and friends showed up for the next few days. I think it helped for him to know so many family members and friends came to his side and offer if nothing else moral support.  It was a tenuous few days but he is doing well.

It was also cool to hear stories from previous Air Force buddies who told us stories about his knack for picking up strays and rehabilitating them, making mascots of some that stayed with them during their service.  Not surprising.

My brother Michael is one who has a big heart.   He has a tendency to take in troubled youth and this one was more trouble than he ever anticipated. Having been a foster child himself, he knows how young people may sometimes need a break. Despite the fact that this young man had assaulted his own mother and grandparents,  Michael was determined to give him a chance. I am unclear as to how old he was but I’m guessing he is in his early 20’s and still at large.

All the way over there, (I drove) I kept remembering the first time, I saw Michael as he got off the plane with his older sister to live with us. He had been in a foster home in Boston and both he and his sister were just as cute as could be. He was 5 and she 7 and I was in love immediately.  I had just turned 18 that day, so I always thought of them as my birthday present. It still brings nostalgic tears to my eyes.

He was wearing a little beanie, shorts & jacket, knee high socks and a big, big smile. I wish I’d had an iPhone then, but no matter, it’s permanently engraved in my memory. Tears fell when I told him.

His buddy, “Jim” was telling us stories and the one that stuck in my mind was about a dog, they would later call “Runway”.  He said, it was near death and rescued by Michael, taken to the vet and how Michael didn’t bat an eye as he promptly plopped down several hundred dollars to have her looked at and treated. She came to live on the base in, I think he said, Minot? (Not sure.) She was there for a good many years before she died.

Michael was a mechanic for military aircraft and I remember how he was always bouncing back and forth between there and Saudi.  After retirement, he went to work for Boeing on what I suspect are aircraft requiring top secret clearances.( I only know because his family always has to be cleared as well, which they do periodically for his job. No clue what he does though.  One year, we went through it twice as my son’s MSG assignment required it as well )

In the last couple of years Michael has fought cancer, gone through chemo, had a stent put in his heart which the nurses and docs commented on as he had a possible attack while in surgery. Shortly after that he had back surgery, so he’s had a very busy year. Despite all that, my daughter and I were amazed at his ability to bounce back.  He was disappointed when the docs nixed his bike riding days for several months. Sigh!  No holding this guy down.

We hope he will get to go home soon, though maybe with his wanting to get up and get going might be harder to control.

In the meantime, his assailant has not been apprehended.  We called the police and asked about this, but he lives in a city where law enforcement is overwhelmed with stabbings and other grave crime.  I was shocked at how many more had made the news in just 24 hours!!

With my other brothers help we changed locks on his home and my daughter and I cleaned up what had not been picked up yet.

It might interest everyone to know that his nurses were mostly men and his trauma doctor was a woman.  Progress. My, how times have changed!

The trauma doc didn’t look like she’d hit 30 yet, but she was phenomenal and just as great about explaining what she did and even answered my other daughter’s questions (on the phone) and who’s in nursing school.  Living in a small town, incidents like this would be rare and she was disappointed she was not in a place where she could attend to her uncle.  I took pictures of all the data on equipment, tubes in and out of him and wounds for her to observe. With his permission, of course.

Sorry, no pictures that are releasable.

Just so you know: If I don’t “Like” or “comment” on your blogs,  do not despair. It may just be too overwhelming to catch up.

POST SCRIPT:  He is a hardy soul. What I failed to mention was that most were defensive wounds, still serious of course because of the possibility of infection, but only about a third were in vital areas. For awhile they were not sure of tendon damage, as the ones in his arms did affect movement but only for a few days, so they didn’t have to go back in for more surgery to repair them. So that was good.

Thanks for all your well wishes.

For the Love of Me.

WARNING!  This post is not for the feint of heart. It is disturbing and unpleasant.

As I mentioned early on when I first started posting, there were some things I would eventually include in my posts that were cathartic for me but that I hope might help others as well.  This is one of them.

——–

I have heard from the proverbial “they” that you must first love yourself before you can love others. I have also heard that those who stay in an abusive environment are ones in search of love. They equate abuse with love.  I disagree and perhaps agree a little with that.  In fact, there are countless reasons that come into play. More than you realize. (See footnotes)

My parents were both abusive.

My mother who was later diagnosed schizophrenic was more verbal than physical, although she wasn’t above taking a wooden coat-hanger to us, yanking us by the hair in the middle of the night because we left a spoon in the sink. It didn’t matter who did it, we all got it. It was worse, when she and dad got divorced and she remarried and took on her second husbands children. Those poor babes were taken out of foster homes where they’d been molested to a home where they would get beaten, and they were there because they’d been abandoned as children while my step-father was serving his country. Hard to imagine that kind of stuff exists, but it does.

Oh, did I have my hands full!  My sisters and brothers (now six girls and three boys), made a grand total of nine, with me being the oldest. They tell me they pretty much regard me as the momma they look up to. Hard to imagine. I was 16.

Daddy was both physically and sexually abusive. The sexual he reserved for me. It had never occurred to me at the time to ask or wonder why the other girls were never touched. Later, as an adult, I was to learn his why. It was simple really. He told me he really never thought I was his daughter. Apparently early on in their marriage, when mother had escaped from him after one of his beatings she had returned to Mexico. He thought perhaps she’d reunited with an old boyfriend because when she returned, she was pregnant. She was aghast at the idea and told me, yes she left but had gone to her mothers and upon learning she was pregnant,  returned to her husband as so it was expected in those days.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But, the question remained. Was he punishing her through me?  I don’t know.

Once I became an adult, he no longer believed that. In part because after I moved to the small town he’d grown up in, he had taken me to a store to meet a cousin. Later, a woman walks in and says you must be a —–, giving our family name.  She hadn’t seen my dad standing nearby but the family resemblance was apparently unmistakable. He laughed proudly.

The sad thing about abuse is, there is often times no rhyme or reason for it.  Abuse is not punishment.  It wasn’t always discipline for misbehaving.  If mother had crossed him, he’d had a bad day at work or was just in a foul mood, he’d take it out on us. His physical abuse against me and my siblings I remember, that against my mother, I don’t, whereas my siblings do. If it wasn’t an outright beating, then he’d hit us on the back of the head with one of his famous backhanded slaps.  (I wince every time Gibbs does that to his people on NCIS even though I’ve noticed he does it less now, so someone may have complained) The sexual part was in a cloud-like dream. I couldn’t remember anything beyond a certain point. In some cases I thought the perpetrator had been someone else.  Over the years I’ve seen several (three) therapists and through them, learned a lot about myself and my ability to cope. I call it “shelving” the ugly. The therapist said that it is how I survived and remained sane.

I came face to face with “ugly” several years ago when my daughter encouraged me to see her therapist and thought maybe it would help me as well. I was in one state and she in another, “out west”. She was having some things she wanted to work through and some of it was in relation to her feelings for me. Being the eldest, she always felt responsible for me emotionally and didn’t understand why.  I too, am the eldest and it was my job to protect my siblings, which I often did, stepping in or deflecting blows, so I understood.

My little sister and I were caring for my father at the time which by comparison was relatively easy to that of caring for mother. I was having a hard time though. I’d been doing it since 2005.  She joined me in 2008. I was already drained from the energy it took to care for mother who had Alzheimer’s and who had recently died. (I had all the paperwork  to do which was daunting since I had a battle with VA constantly and then shared the physical care with my sister.)

Earlier on, there had been an incident with Dad when I found out he was friends with an old neighbor of ours. I had always believed that this neighbor had been part of a group of boys who had molested me. I told him I remembered the blood on my panties and my little friend running for help and his mom coming. I remembered her cradling me in her arms and I presume taking me home. I remember my little sister coming home from the hospital soon after. I remember little else. I was five. My dad blew me off!

He never once said, “poor baby”. “It’s not true.” Nothing. No comment and that seemed odd. He also continued to be friends with this guy, he just talked less of him. I thought, why no paternal indignation or anger?

So when my daughter, who is not generally the most tactful person on the earth made her request gently, I accepted her offer to come out and give it a try. I had questions. Besides, I thought a vacation sure would be nice. Hah!

My daughter had already learned about a phenomenon called “transference”, where the roles are flipped.  It made perfect sense to me. As a child I had been abused in every sense imaginable. I craved love. I was needy. When I was pregnant with her out of wedlock, I recall with definite clarity thinking and saying, “Now I will have someone to love and who’ll love me back and never leave me”.  Oh my! It is a known fact that children in the womb absorb so much more information than before realized and here I am loading her up with this stuff. I was so relying on this child to take the place of all the love I’d ever wanted and never got. So, yes, I wanted to be there for her to work this crap out. I didn’t do this to her knowingly, but I still did it.

I gave permission for her to be present. It was there we learned the extent of the damage. I was functioning as an adult and I was a good parent, but certain triggers would cause me to respond as a child. Trauma, it turns out can prevent you from moving beyond a certain point. (* A form of child PTSD.)  The therapist we saw, tapped into my inner self and found the details of the rest.  So much ugly!

It did turn out there were five teens (as I had remembered) that had raped me, but the man dad was friends with was not one of them. But there was more. Dad was also a perpetrator. Not with the boys, but later.  All I knew was by age 6 it had started. The man I was always trying to please was hurting me in ways I didn’t understand and I had blocked it out! The therapist asked me if I wanted the details. I said, “No way! I can’t go there.”

Oh, I didn’t disbelieve the doctor, because the cloudy dream like memories I had lived with were now coming back to life. Memories of Daddy coming to me in the night, lowering my panties, staring at me and stroking me. I remember him coming  to their friends house where I was staying in LA. They had been in entrusted with taking me to auditions and make Hollywood connections for me to get in show biz, because I could sing and dance “a little”.  I would hear him tell them he’d beaten mom to a pulp because of another man she’d fallen in love with, and how later that night, he came to me and held me in his arms and tells me how he wishes I was mother and then kisses me passionately. I recall wiping away the nasty kiss and not falling asleep, afraid he might do more.  A more I thought I was unfamiliar with. While at the same time he was telling me my Hollywood dream was over, I had to go back home and protect my siblings from my mom?

No, I didn’t want to know details.  I already had more than my fill of memories that suddenly took on a life of their own. What I had begun to think were the musings of an over active imagination were solidified.

A flashback of me confronting him as an adult and him not denying it but making the excuse that he’d grown up with all boys and never had a little sister so was only “fascinated and marveling” at my changing body. (My earliest memory of him was when I was 10 years old so it made sense) He apologized and cried and said he never meant to hurt or confuse me. I forgave him then. Was that all bullshit, or was he just relieved that that was all I remembered? Now the therapist is telling me there was way more than that? My mind was in a whirl. It was too much and I knew I could never handle more. As it was, I was gasping for air and my daughter for one last time, took her mommy role and held me in her arms as if I were her child.

For hours I sobbed uncontrollably. I would see her little girl sitting on the couch, confused and probably wondering why her grandma couldn’t stop crying and me thinking I was no bigger than her. Why? How could anyone do that to a child?  Mother and daughter cried together.

Dear God, how was I going to go back home and continue caring for him?

I couldn’t. More than anything I wanted to run far, far away, but I didn’t.  Did it cross my mind to exact vengeance?  You bet. I didn’t know what or how, but I thought it.

Instead, because I am who I am I didn’t.  I talked to my sisters and we agreed on specifics on how to handle his care, especially when he became totally bedridden. Up until then, it was just me and my baby sister.  The other sis had never stepped up to the plate, but now I was forced to engage her help.  She was out of work and her forte’ was senior care-giving. I would not wash or take care of any of that. I hated to do that to her but she said she was fine. To her, he was just another patient and she needed the money. I strictly handled his financial business, his medical and hospital transport and later hospice care. He had made me legal guardian years ago so that’s what I did. I took extra care to never overstep my bounds of guardianship and I refused to physically touch him.

I had accepted the beatings as how things were in those days and that they (my parents) didn’t know any better and had forgiven them both for that. Mom because of her mental incapacity and dad for his upbringing. His dad beat him and his dad beat him and so on, but this?

When I began caring for my parents, my baby sister had moved from Florida to help me care for mother since my caregiver sister would not.  My parents had been especially cruel to my caregiver sister because they thought she was retarded. Daddy and her locked horns regularly and at the time, he was still very coherent and although he fluctuated between giving her the “farm” and nothing, he could still hurt her by his words. And, she came through in the end. So, in comes baby sister.

I had to find a way to protect us all and still do our jobs. Mom had passed away the year before and we would now be alone with him.

My dad was very well liked in our little southern town. He was highly regarded for his intellect. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t do. If you’ve read my other blogs, you will also know there were many admirable qualities about him as well. He was charming and smart. So, it’s no wonder I was conflicted. There was also this need to hide what had happened. We were related to so many people here, so there was also this sense of embarrassment and shame for the family. My revealing this old stuff or explaining why we would no longer care for him would bring all this out if we just walked out. Maybe we wouldn’t have to explain, but I liked my other family members and being God fearing Christians that they are, I just couldn’t do that to them. They would be so disappointed and maybe even angry. Most of them are elderly.  No,  I couldn’t tell. Walking away would not be that easy.

On his deathbed, I would tell him what had been revealed and why I had distanced myself. I told him too that I forgave him. He had never been a God fearing person but had explored all faiths, but he had accepted Christ and I trusted God would take care of the rest. By then, he had had a stroke and could only listen and not offer up any excuses like he always did before. I went on to thank him, because it was my history with him that made me a stronger person and a better parent. (the girls still tell me I did a good job and we are closer because of it). Early on, I always knew what kind of parent I would be and nurtured my children the best I knew how.  And, I also thanked him for having been able to care for him.

I had to tell him this way, because before his stroke he had inadvertently slipped up and told me about a time he and his pals had violated their little sister, so his excuse about never seeing a little girl’s genitalia was hogwash – he also didn’t see it as violating her. He had said, it was just a child’s natural curiosity.  I get that, but it wasn’t right. What amazed me further is they surprisingly remained fast friends until they died – had she blocked it from her memory as well?

My siblings all say they couldn’t have done it. For either parent.
The younger sister I refer to is the one that was born after the first incident and because of our age difference I never really knew her well. She was also ten when our parents divorced, so our memories are not the same, neither our experiences.

Through it all, I don’t regret it because the bond between my sister and I could never have developed and grown like it did had we not shared those trials the last days of their lives. In so having this experience, I got resolution. The two of us got resolution. We shared our perceptions, our feelings and we are now closer than I can imagine we would have been had we not shared that time together.

We noticed too that my brother who didn’t share this experience with us still has that baggage to unload. I hope he can.

My caregiver sister was my Irish twin and although we wished we could have a relationship with her, it didn’t happen. She escaped back into her own little world again when it was over. Her son would later get arrested for supposedly molesting their sons. I had shared my experience with him and his wife and a year later in the middle of a nasty divorce she accused him. I don’t think he did it. But how does anyone know for sure? The last I heard he was acquitted. Psychiatrists examined the children and there was no evidence to support her claim, but the damage was done.

What’s interesting is, during a bitter period, when a dear friend of mine who also knew dad and liked him, was singing his praise, I retorted “he wasn’t all that he seemed.” Her response was, “we know”.  I didn’t ask what she knew, it didn’t matter.

The family and friends I made during that time are irreplaceable and had it not been my decision to go there and explore my roots and meet family I would never otherwise have met them nor had the experience that was so worthwhile.

And even though they are several time zones away now, I love all my friends there and think of them often.

As painful as it was, it explained a great deal. My daughter now gets to have her mommy back and the “ugly” no longer haunts me. When it comes out it is when I feel it safe to share and perhaps help someone.

I have come to the conclusion that I have great survival instincts. When my first husband threatened to strike me, I stood up like a cobra and got in his face and snarled, “Don’t you dare! Don’t even think about it!”  He stood over 6 feet to my five foot 2″ little self (and I was little then) and he quickly backed off and apologized.  I know I frequently irritated the hell out of him in those days because if he raised his voice or was angry I would duck. I was still young and the wounds fresh back then.

Once when my dad hit his wife while I was visiting, she ran and hid behind me and I immediately got in his face then too and told him, “NEVER, never do that again!  You don’t hit women or kids!” He backed off instantly.  (I had already heard from the neighbors that she would sometimes run to their house to get away.) This woman who didn’t like me for most of the years they were married couldn’t do enough for me from then on out.

Why did these men back down when I stood up to them?

What was different now than from me as a child?  Size?  Not likely. I’m not much bigger now than I was then. Then I remember I did stand up to dad, when I stuck up for my siblings and/or myself and only got more beatings because of it.

The same for my brother. I think he and I got the most beatings. So what was different?   Did it come from the fact that I had nothing to lose or to gain? I don’t know.

No matter.  Tenaciously hold onto life and choose joy and happiness. I do.

The following links shed some light and understanding of the psyche of an abused child and adult.  I hope my blog wasn’t totally depressing.

NOTE: When I added the above picture of me when I was little, I didn’t realize how tying it to this blog would affect me. I suddenly became overwhelmed with the urge to hold that little girl in my arms and comfort her and tell her, “it’ll be all right”.

http://www.loveisrespect.org/is-this-abuse/why-do-people-stay/

*  http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/res/brain.html

http://www.practicenotes.org/v17n2/brain.htm