Saturday, May 31, 2008

Part 2 of 4. (sissie)

.....................................................................(Part 2 0f 4).......................................................................

I think my brother is a magnificent human being. Having survived such darkness in childhood, he seemed to resolve to be the opposite of his father. He married a wonderful woman, and together they had four children. They have a strong Christian faith that unites their marriage and creates a home that always seems to be the Mecca for our family gatherings. Anyway, my brother told his wife that he remembers our father raping our mother. His wife then asked me if it was true that my sister’s conception was a product of spousal rape. Only my mother knows for sure. Mom has acknowledged that it is true, but this is still such a painful issue that she is unable to speak much about it without tearing up. She suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to this day. I don’t remember this event. But, I do recall my mom taking me to my first day of school in a new school system. I was in the fourth grade. My mom was 9 months pregnant with my sister. Unfortunately, the beauty of her swollen belly was darkened by two very large--very black eyes and a broken nose, all compliments of my dad. She made up some story about falling down some stairs but it was apparent that wasn’t the truth. It sickens me to remember these events and worse to reveal them, but it is important to understand the makings of such a wonderful and loving human being; my sister.

(FACTOID:Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to one or more terrifying events in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. It is a severe and ongoing emotional reaction to an extreme psychological trauma WIKIPEDIA)

Mom and dad divorced after 20 years of marriage when my dad was incarcerated for a crime involving an illegal hand gun. (Thank goodness—I mean for the incarceration, not the hand gun—it was as if a storm cloud had left the home which enabled the sun to shine) My sister was about 6 years old. Mom re-married and while that marriage was much better, it only lasted 7 years. He was a black-out alcoholic…but at least he could put food on the table and he didn’t physically abuse her. Even though this relationship had many issues, I think it was very healing for our mother.

By this time, mom had attained her real-estate license. She was driving a nice car and wearing nice clothing. This was very different to the way she had previously lived. She was winning awards at work and taking some college classes. She was feeling better about herself. Unfortunately, I think her past continued to haunt her and she started drinking. At first it was just to drink with her new husband, but not long after she was drinking out of control. Sissie was around 11 years old during the worst years. Mom’s second marriage ended suddenly and violently when her husband became enraged and while in a black-out drunk literally destroyed the home and everything in the home that belonged to her. Sissie was around 13 years old. Mom was in horrible emotional pain and became somewhat dysfunctional. While she continued to work and was able to earn a living she did very little else. Sissie took over as the adult.

My sister is extremely bright. When she was 16 years old she went to college. This was no ordinary college. It was a sister school of a prestigious institution of higher learning designed especially for the very young and very bright. I drove her to her initial college interview. It was a strange & cold world of academia. The library was filled with master’s and doctoral work completed by these young minds. Our host was an adolescent boy that was obviously very bright but very pretentious. He made such an impression that for years my sister and I would imitate him. The mention of his pretentiousness gave us first-rate comic relief. My sister was not pretentious, however. She was the real deal. I recall visiting her and walking through her dorm room. There wasn’t a single place to step without stepping on some books or papers. It was literally a disaster. But her time and energy went into academics, not cleaning. Her education was very different than the one I received at the local community college. I was taught information and facts. She was taught how to think for herself. And, think she did…and still does.

During college, several life events transpired that affected my sister deeply. First, she became involved with politics and many issues involving injustice. She would rally and protest for the rights of the underdog. She wanted equal healthcare, equal pay, and equal rights for all—especially women. Looking back, it’s easy to understand how this transpired in her young life. She was an aggressive activist on many fronts for around 7 years, and then later continued to be an activist in more subtle ways as a loving parent…Secondly, she was exposed to a horrible violent and senseless crime involving one of the first school shooting incidents in the country. One of those exceptionally bright adolescent kids ordered a semi-automatic weapon and proceeded to unload it on the college campus. One of sissies loves was shot square in the chest and died instantly. He was attempting to stop the shooting and stepped in front of a speeding bullet…And lastly, during her last year of college our mom was diagnosed with lung cancer with a predicted 6 months to live. The tuition payment could not be made and Sissie had to withdraw from school before she could graduate. Furthermore, because she had an outstanding tuition debt, the school refused to release her transcripts so she could complete her degree.
Sissie moved to be near friends and to an area where she could continue her political activism; Hamtramck Michigan. Mom, through surgical intervention (partial lung removal), survived the lung cancer. Although living in Ohio, a series of events ultimately brought mom to move in with sissie. They were the dynamic duo. They lived in an old, large, drafty house in an ethnic neighborhood filled with polish people. The neighborhood eventually came to accept them and even seemed to love them. They would bring food and gifts often. My sister worked as a telemetry technician (heart rhythm specialist) in the largest health care organization in the United States. She worked 2 jobs to make ends meet. Mom was very frail. She was oxygen dependent and wheel-chair bound. At some point my brother, sister, and I decided that mom’s health was seriously failing and, since I was a nurse, we decided that I would take care of her. I lived in a small 1 bedroom cottage on the Pacific Coast, in Northern California, so I set mom up in a cute little wheelchair accessible apartment near the center of our coastal town. It was a heeling time for mom and me. We resolved a lot of issues left over from childhood. We shared forgiveness, understanding, love, and best of all, friendship.

To Be Continued.............................................(Part 2 of 4)........................................................................

1 comment:

shelley said...

wow. and thanks.
and write more, please?