My brother came up to visit yesterday, and it was a gas, man. We laughed until our stomachs hurt, ate gimongous cheeseburgers and red velvet cupcakes, and had real, quality time together.
I don’t do well with saying goodbye, and I spent most of the day, repeating, Please don’t leave me yet, over and over again in my head. He stayed for a long time, and when he got ready to leave? My heart stuck in my throat………….I am sick and tired of goodbyes. The better your experience, the worse the downer when it’s over.
We walked down to the driveway, and he said, I don’t know what’s going to happen to the family………it broke me. I don’t have the answers, dear brother. But this I do know, I will love you with an everlasting love…….it’s hard to put your finger on the emotions you feel, when what’s left of your family drives down the street, on their way to Philadelphia, then LA……..but one of the hardest things? Learning to let go, and not feel alone, forsaken, misunderstood.
So for now, let’s just say, “see you next time around.”
I had just begun to settle in, feel like myself again, feel real joy…..when the shadow people paid me a visit. No, not THOSE shadow people-my family of origin, as my recently fired psychologist likes to call it. They seem to think I am owed nothing in this life, not even my writing-and then a discussion with my bestie, in which she told me I was wrong to include information about my nieces and nephew’s childhood. At first, I argued the point. And then, sadly, I came to the conclusion that she was right as rain. One sentence out of one blog post had effectively terminated my integrity, and for that I am deeply disturbed.
Speaking of anxiety, you would be amazed at what triggers CPTSD, and why. The texts from the Adirondack Mountains, in which my husband was placed in the middle, again-well, that was just the tip of the iceberg. My weekend was ruined the minute Dwain spoke the words, “I need to tell you something.” A friend of mine, Gordon, and I were laughing hysterically in church yesterday: we were laughing at the way people give you bad news and how they preface it.
“By the way……..”
“Don’t shoot the messenger…….”
“I didn’t want to have to tell you this,” and the most mind crippling of all?
“You’re going to be really upset, but….never mind, I shouldn’t be the one to tell you this,” which leads you to think the worst about the people that surround you, your husband and the SAT scores you had in high school.
CPTSD triggers can come in many forms, shapes and sizes. and we don’t see them coming. One word, one look, one bad day…and the anxiety comes back, full throttle, in your face, mocking the idea that you have a right to be happy and at peace. They turn your world upside down, and as far as you have come with your emotional health? Well, that is all shattered and you have to start at the bottom, again.
But the fight is worth it, to get back on top. And I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
I was standing in the kitchen last night, eager for my weekend with my baby, in a great mood-until I saw the look on his face.
“Honey, I was going to wait until the weekend……but you need to know.”
Sweet and merciful Jesus, what fresh hell awaits me? I hate the look he gets when he knows it’s going to hurt me, when he knows my pain will be fresh, and I have to rip the scabs off of old wounds.
“Your brother and your niece text me earlier in the week, from Lake George.”
Okay, why? I mentioned before that I knew my family was reading my blogs. I had blocked everyone from Facebook but my nieces, and perhaps I was naïve in thinking that they would leave me my writing, after taking everything else. I was wrong, oh so wrong.
He told me a blog I had written earlier in the week had hurt the girls, my nieces. I could not fathom why they put my husband in the middle. He has gone through enough and ENOUGH I SAY. I immediately wrote to my eldest niece, who did not message me back. I told her I was sorry she was hurt, that it was far from my intention, that I loved her more than words can say. And then, later in the evening, I awoke-from a nightmare-and ran down to my lap top. No returned message. No text or phone call.
Sleepily, I opened my Facebook account and severed the last ties I had to my sister’s side of the family. I cannot be kept from writing, it is how I process the disturbing reality that my very own blood has turned against me. Never thinking that the flying monkeys would come in such precious packages, I looked back on the years and years of banishment from the kingdom. Never a call, a text, a card, a gift…….and then it hit me-they have been lost to me for years, only now I can let go.
I will save the weeping for later, but for now I will write.
I love this artist. Fact is, I just heard her for the first time five minutes ago on WXPN’s World Café Live, where I find all of my music and have since my first XPN concert, which featured my brother’s band Huffamoose. This tune sings me a sweet song, and brings me back to much simpler days-or were they?
My brother and I have a complex, but loving relationship. I have spoken, ad nauseum, about my troubled family, but I just can’t seem to divulge any secrets or hidden agendas. I don’t want to hurt my blood, but I have awoken-and I realize just how naïve and haunted I have been. I am not feeling sorry for myself, what is the point? I went through some heavy grief in May and June-finally seeing things for what they were-soul murder and heart rape at the hands of a sister that was supposed to love me as much as I loved her. I confided everything, everything to her and she used my pain to delve deeply into my psyche and wreak havoc at every turn. She knew she was dealing with a very traumatized, freshly sober sibling, but it mattered not to her. She caused my pain, damnit, and she alone is responsible for the slaughter of my family. She may as well have murdered us, that is how deep the wounds are. I abhor the air she breathes, and if I had my druthers I would completely and forever forget about her. She is nothing, less than dog shit on my shoes-and I pray she gets what’s coming to her.
One day, we know not when, Abba will right the wrongs. He will obliterate our pain and reward us for our suffering. I never thought it possible to feel this way about another human being, let alone a sibling-but the Karma bus drives itself, and for that I am incredibly grateful.
I come from a long line of stoic men. My father was great with people, until someone told him what to do, or interrupted his martini time. They liked their space and I am my father’s daughter. Once, while moving me for the fourth time-my roommate issues were loathsome, including a stint with a mobster and drug dealer who held a gun to my face-my father told me how much I reminded him of himself. But he shook his head and said,
“But Honey, you’re a woman,” as if reminding himself that yes, I indeed was a woman who had the traits of a man. Not those traits-independence, I am my own person, being alone is not a liability kind of characteristics. My father was fearless, in the face of daunting circumstances, he always, always put on a brave face, and that my friends is what I do with satire. I write the occasional Shakespearean tragedy from time to time, but that is an attempt at helping others, and the therapy is free.
I am on the mend, learning to define Michele, and each and every day is a new surprise, a new beginning. No haunting echoes of the C-word’s daggers, no loved ones telling me what to do every five minutes (oh the horror, even my husband is trained to shutty) not a soul to answer to where it comes to my art and expressing my true self.
Having this freedom? I’m like a little girl in line to see Santa Claus; only this time, Jesus is along for the ride.
Journal Entry-July 2, 2002
C-you are nothing but a fucking coward. But you hide it well, how lovely. You are not only a coward, but your passive-aggressive tendencies may indeed make you the Bish you are. Wake up little sister, daddy ain’t giving you any golden stars for making his life “easier.” At this very moment, I hate the white and red cells that make you human in others’ eyes. Rock on, superstar, just keep me the fuck out of it.
Why was I so angry? My father was suffering from dehydration, renal failure, pancreatitis, uncontrollable diabetes, and devastating neuropathy. In a hospital near Philadelphia, while visiting my father, I was approached by my siblings.
“We don’t think you are capable of taking care of dad. We want him in a nursing home, but you need to agree to it. Your drinking makes you unpredictable, you understand.”
The above journal entry was written six months after I moved my father into a house a mile from my own. My husband and I tended to his every need, and the home we made for him was quite lovely. He loved to sit at the kitchen table and watch Minnie and Pearl(the horses across the street) go grocery shopping, listen to talk radio. I was a nervous wreck, my marriage hanging by a thread, fired from my job for having a panic attack. After calling his house for an hour-we had an agreement that he would pick up, as I had run over there so many times in a panic, for nothing-the meals on wheels woman stood, staring at me with fright in her eyes. I grabbed my key, ran into his house, and found him in a diabetic coma, bleeding from his mouth, his peritoneal dialysis machine beeping.
I called 911, my husband and friend arrived minutes later.
“Come on daddy, don’t leave me, please, hang in there, help is coming.”
He moaned, and the EMTs walked into the house. My husband had to pull me off of the EMT, as she moved in slow motion and every second counted. Fire chief, EMTs, police-they were all there, and the fact is they knew the address, they had been there so many times before. Rushed into the ambulance, he was resuscitated by an EMT. Moments later, we were in the Emergency Room.
“No more, no more,” I screamed into the phone. My sister wept and agreed. I could not be with my father every second. He needed to be in a nursing home, and we found the perfect fit with Stoneridge Village. Close to here, we could visit him often, and I was there when the nurses couldn’t figure out his dialysis equipment. I would run over, in my pajamas, in the middle of the night, to instruct them-again-on the matters of renal failure.
I wrote this entry after finding out that my siblings had visited dad behind my back, and even though I was his caretaker, his POA, and his best friend. I wanted him safe and sound, but that was of no concern to them. After submitting a ten page report to the administration, in which my best friend, an RN, had also requested dad stay safe in the home, I was called into the Administrator’s office.
“Your father and family agree…..he will be released this week.”
A week later he was dead. After numerous amputations to his leg, his heart gave out. And I remain undaunted in my quest to right the wrongs of people who had no business making a decision that would decide the fate of my beloved father.