Well, that was heavy. I felt relieved after writing that story. Reading over it I'm able to see how close I stuck to reality. I'll put this to bed after I process why I said there's a reflection of me in each character in the story Tea for Christopher.
Content: Physical abuse of a young child. Processing the previous entry. No sexual abuse mentioned or discussed.
I'm primarily Christopher in the story who tries to manage the unmanageable. I had Christopher leave home just the way I did, an unplanned exit on a night of routine abuse. I couldn't do it another night, not another second. I left Feb 2, 1992 at 10:30 pm and I never went back home. I went to a hotel that evening then got up to go to work. I never went back home.
Just like with Christopher, I did watch my little brother beaten with a dowel rod. Just like in the story, he was held down with one hand by my mother and beaten with a dowel rod until he was no longer even screaming. I walked away and left him with that monster. A few days later he was removed from our home by Child Protective Services. I felt so broken by that loss.
It is safe to say, the story Tea for Christopher was triggered by what happenedthe other night outside my window.
Ruby, the mother
It's interesting that the mother wasn't given a name until about the middle of the story. I realized I kept calling her 'his mother'. I didn't think too hard about a name for her but I immediately rejected Diamond. Now, the name Ruby seems appropriate only because of the color.
Why am I the mother in the story? I see how much my life revolved around creating situations that would appease my abuser while ignoring myself and my needs. An abused child is always at the beck and call of the abuser, there is no time for anything else.
I never told her, but I apologized in my heart for being a bad daughter. Though my mother left us repeatedly (a few days tops) there was a constant threat of being sent to the orphanage where my grandfather grew up. She was neglectful in criminal ways. Abandonment issues are still a huge problem for me. ...continue reading →
I never felt a connection to my grandparents house. There was never a corner that held secrets I wanted to know. Yes, the house was impressive, but it was of no interest to me. Nana (now age 90) was adopted early on but reunited with her biological mother in her adult years. Her biological mother's home was very intriguing. That's where I first came in contact with a massive doll collection in cases that lined the wall. That's the home where I was served meals and dessert on my great-great-grandmother's china. Unforgettable.
I wanted to know everything about Nana's mother's house and the things in it. I wanted to know the story behind the jewelry box, behind my great-grandmother's physical scars on her back. I wanted to walk through her pantry and see all the stuff she had. I watched her make bread and pies. I was intrigued by the radio that was built in the wall in the restroom. The restroom was amazing as it glowed a soft amber.
My great-grandmother gave us permission to explore without restriction. I was able to walk the land and see fruit trees, flowers, the lemon trees and more. She had apple trees, a pear tree and cherry trees, too. There wasn't a dull moment in that house full of history.
I won't lie, my great-grandmother was a wicked woman in her youth. My Nana got her meanness 'naturally' because she wasn't raised by her biological mother. To hear my Nana tell it, she had a picture perfect childhood. ...continue reading →
I didn't know that grief would be accompanied by desperation to fill empty spaces. I used to require silence. It helped keep me calm so as not to be overwhelmed by stimuli. I now need to hear some type of program, film, theater, something. I need background noise to break the silence. Now, in silence, my head goes on and on. I go over all my mistakes and failings. I think and think some more.
It's not just that I need noise in the background to break the stream of thoughts, there's a specific noise I need. I need to hear a male voice more than a female voice. My anxiety remains sky-high and my attention span is short so I do well with 45 min TV shows and such. Two hour films feel like a commitment. Most of the time I don't sit and watch the show, I'm up tinkering with this and that, cleaning, pacing.
I didn't realize how much blame is added to his death. It's humorous that his grandmother (not my mother) feels no guilt for the cruelty she slapped him with before he died. She's smoothed it over in her head. Nope. You can't cover that up. It was profoundly immoral. ...continue reading →
I can't call my aunts or my sister or cousins to share the grief, to encourage or be encouraged. I often feel alone with this. I feel broken. I've vomited out my heart. I no longer have one.
I tread waters of criticism when I say I can think of a hundred people who should take his place in a coffin. I have a hard time thinking that he's in a box decaying. My brother!!!! My boy is decaying!!! Really? Somewhere I read about a woman blogger whose mother died. She talked about how undignified death is. I can't remember which blogger it was, but she talked about how her mother's autopsy discussed her in ounces and pounds. To think there was an autopsy done on my boy is mentally terrifying. You cut up my boy? You weighed him like a pound of meat, sewed him up, put him on display, locked the lid then put dirt over it. You left him to the bugs. I'm mad that such barbarous acts were perpetrated against my loved one.
It's confusing and huge. It weighs down my shoulders and makes my eye lids heavy. I slightly drift to the left and rock just a little, back and forth. This death, this self murder, this selfish act haunts with a force powerful enough to freeze me in my tracks. ...continue reading →
Content: Brother's suicide, anger, powerlessness, the complexities of death
The day didn't pass without painting. I tried to focus on something other than life issues and lay color on paper. It felt good to do so.
I'd been sipping Chamomile Bloom to keep myself calm which meant I wasn't in hysterics at the time of my appointment. We talked about my brother quite a bit and about how hard this has been to lose him. In the last 5 years this is the second suicide I've dealt with and the third of my lifetime. My brother's suicide, his death is unbelievably hard.
I said that I understand he was just human. I understand that he had a breaking point but I wonder if he thought for just a second about the students he left behind, about the suffering of anyone else? And yet I know when my pain levels rise too high I can no longer say I'm safe. I don't think about how others will respond. I don't think, I can't think. I only want to get out of my skin. So I can't say I'm without understanding of being on one's last bit of rope. I do understand. I also understand the complete betrayal one feels standing on the other end of death. It's complicated.
He asked if I think about my sister a lot. Yes, every day..but not every second of every day. I have given her all the space she needs from me. I have no updates on her though. I am still committed to an emotional divorce so I can heal from .....so I can heal. It's hard to walk away from a fantasy. I'm not going to get the sister I need and I have to walk away even when life is threatened. I can't swoop in and try to save her bc I'll be sucked back in to being her emotional punching bag and sucked back in to believing that somehow I can win her approval and we can be sisters and friends. That isn't true. It's a fantasy and I have to let it go, even when things get scary with her.
Content: Physical pain. Physical torture as a child. Mother and uncle standing in the doorway. Being watched as I shower. Reassuring myself that I'm safe. Robert's session.
When my pain level gets really high I get confused about why I'm in pain. When my eye lids hurt, when it hurts to talk, when I struggle to breathe I forget it Lupus or CRSD. I forget I have a medical condition and feel trapped in the past. Yesterday I lay in bed, just on the sheet, the fan was blowing over me. I had my face buried in the pillow when I became flushed with dread. I expected to look at the door and see my mother standing there. I fully expected her face to become clearer, for her to fill the doorway. I pulled the covers over me and felt more protected. I had to tell myself she can't ever again stand in my doorway. I slept with uneasiness and woke feeling bogged down.
Dr. D asked the question: Can your mother come to your house and get in? Me: No. Dr. D: Can she get in and stand in your doorway? Me. No. Dr. D. Can she ever hurt you again? Me: No.
It's what she left me with that haunts me. I feel her hand from the grave touch my skin and make it crawl. I see her in my head but I try to talk to myself and remind myself that I truly am safe. As far as living family members, as long as I have a cat, no one is coming here.
This spring I was to decide if I could manage a dog which would help me sleep better but I am not able, sadly, I am not able. ...continue reading →
May is the one year mark of the death of my brother and mother. I found out in June of 2016 but they died in May. This is another reason I'll be playing it really close to the vest. I feel so .... thin.....fragile.
Through this whole issue of grief, I will be many things. I'll be a minute to minute survivor. I'll be angry, grieved, at peace, wordy, creative, exhausted and a million other things. I wish I could say that things will go back to settled but they won't. It's impossible for me to fathom normal with that baby gone. I can't imagine normal but I can hope for settled with less gut wrenching pain.
There's a blog magazine I read called What's your grief?. It helps me process some of what I feel in a more tangible way. Recently I saw an entry called 64 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Griefand immediately honed in on number thirty, “The last 24 hours of their lives will replay in your mind” and 36, “You lose yourself, your identity, meaning, purpose, values, your trust”.
I knew I'd go all over the emotional scale with grief. I knew I'd be in disbelief. I knew I'd sit shocked and trip over myself. I knew I'd bargain, that the world would look different, that I'd have memories so real it felt like I was standing there with him again. I knew these things, but I didn't know my ability to trust would be tested. I wasn't expecting that. I wasn't expecting to feel betrayed by the entire world for having the audacity to continue on without him. I was offended. How could you? How could you possibly keep spinning as if nothing happened? It's an insult.
I called your name as I awoke.
You didn't answer.
My brother's birthday was the 14th of February. Of course I don't celebrate birthday's but it is the first anniversary of sorts after he took his life. I believe anger toward him is less intense and has moved to a great sadness.
I do not recall my sister ever taking care of my brother. I can't say for certainly but I can't remember her having him for a day or night. What I do remember is around age 3, when he was removed from the home, I woke in the early hours of the morning listening to her cry. The mother was in the room with her, hitting her. I could always feel her getting hit. My body cringed. Maybe it was just me remembering dowel rods on my skin and knowing what she was going through, but it felt like I was physically taking on myself each and every blow.
I'm just a broken little girl crying at a brick wall too hard to be affected by my tears.
We were at the tail end of getting a few items from the store when my pain level spiked. I needed Betty to come help me get something off the shelf so I called her. When she got over there she told me since I was looking for a Thai item it would be on a different aisle, so she starts walking away. I said, it's right here. She objected and said, it's down here, I know it is. I didn't move. She came back but passed me to look elsewhere. I said, it's right here. I said, forget it, just forget it. Her movements were over stimulating for me as well as her refusal to listen.
She passed me twice going down the aisle looking for the item right in front of me. It was too high for me to get because I was in the chair. Finally I said, forget it. I'll get it. I grabbed my cane, stood up and got the item. While standing she started in on me, got really close to me and kept saying, is that it, is that it? I saw her hand come to my chest ........and everything changed......everything........
She was in my face, literally in my face with her hand inches from touching my chest. Robert said in a very threatening voice, "Don't touch me. Do. not . touch. me." His threat had nothing at all to do with pain, nothing. She pushed too far today.