Putting erotica aside for a moment… (Whaaaa…???) I put my focus today as a memory day.
As part of my recovery process writing for “Recovery Writing 101”, I decided to remember certain things.. Memories I would prefer to stay far back respectfully, because I do not want to remember them. But it’s a part of me and who I am… and WHY I AM.. so I’m accepting them as is. There’s no lemon law on memories. We either take’em, or we block them out.
“THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING, I’VE GOT SHIT TO DO TODAY”
Last night a call came in as I drifted between the sheets and dreamland.
My boyfriend had woken me up as he returned from an emergency call. He had responded, as he always does when he’s on fire duty. But this time, he stayed on the edge of the drama.
My older sister had called them, or someone had. At the time we didn’t know what happened or the outcome.
As I laid there, thinking sleepily about years back, I felt little emotion. I texted her son with the drama, passing the responsibility to him. I wanted nothing to do with my sister’s emergencies.
And so the night passed slowly, as I tossed and turned with thoughts tumbling in my head like last years’ jeans in a hot dryer. The natural worry was slowly getting to me. Lifeflight emergency service had taken off a block from our house, an hour after the call. With my sister, it’s always an emergency.
I remembered when we were little kids, how my sister seemed to hate me- setting me up to get punished, destroying my toys, placing me in harms way. There was physical abuse involved…constantly fleeing as she chased me for a hit, as well as manipulation tactics. Once I got old enough, I began to fight back. I remember that day. As afraid as I was, I managed to push her off me and held up my little fists. She eyed me and backed away. God, I remember that day so very well.
An old memory surfaced of my mother punishing both of us with a whipping for the other from whatever stick we brought in. I, bawling, brought in a small old twig. My sister dragged in a thick branch too heavy for her to carry, red-cheeked and with her crooked smirk she always had when she felt superior.
Mother’s eyes grew wide- and she very gently used our own sticks on us right there in the kitchen.
Even though my twig was brittle and broke on impact against my backside, it was clear to me even at a young age that my sister meant me pain and harm. My sister howled with fictitious pain as mother barely paddled her butt with the branch.
Young memories awoke of me slamming and locking the bathroom door to crouch on the floor, terrified, as she ran a knife blade under it, screaming she would harm me.
Memories of her lunging at me in the living room as the family cat (who watched us awhile) finally tossed a dead crow between us as a peace offering and walked off, disgusted. That was the day I blocked her punch and she broke her little finger on my elbow. My husband and his friend watched but nobody tried to stop her.
Memories of her screaming insults in my ears, trying to force me to wreck the car as I drove her to the doctor.
There were more faint, distant memories, ones that passed through in the wee hours that almost felt like bad dreams.
By morning I awoke, weary with a strange heaviness, and a mind full of sadness.
Her Holy Grail has always been winning the love of our mother. My sister was under the illusion that our mother loved her less. Mother loved us equally, but as my sister was constantly in and out of juvie hall, police stations, and court hearings as a young teen- including selling every stick of furniture we had at a rock-bottom yard sale price of ten cents while our mother was at work- she made forgiveness an obstacle.
There were moments, when she came through as a sister would. Bringing me water when we were both mysteriously ill at home (with a house gas leak); when she broke her promise to remain quiet over my childhood abuse. Those moments, though few, were the glimmers of hope on a dark angry sea.
My sister got pregnant young. I was an aunt at 14 to a beautiful nephew.
Then one day, my sister married and disappeared.
Time passed. Mother and I had our lives, sharing an apartment, working, having relationships, and a good mother/daughter bond. I had helped her escape an abusive relationship with an awful man and so we leaned on each other. That’s another story entirely. I’m not ready to go there yet.
I remember one night coming downstairs and mother was hanging up the phone. My sister was on a long bus ride to us, thousands of miles of a journey, with young son, age 3 now.
Mother seemed nervous and said little of why my sister was coming.
And there, my mind goes blank briefly.
This strange woman appeared in our apartment, eating our food, sleeping on the couch with this little boy I hardly knew.
Switch to another day.
The little boy got off the couch and stared at me. I took his hand in mine, he was so small and sweetly innocent. With his tiny voice, he asked me who I was. I said I was his aunt. At the time, I was nearly 19.
We went for ice cream. His first good memory of me was ice cream.
From then on, my mother and helped I raised him- as my sister, that strange woman, began to have nervous breakdowns under our roof. My sister had been beaten by her husband thousands of miles away, and she was safe with us. We moved frequently, and she always came along.
Life moved on.
My sister seemed to be on the mend slowly.
Mother clothed, fed and protected her and her boy. I was by then, engaged and living with my soon husband. My sister and I went to night school together, both graduating at tops of our class. I was 20, working for a doctor.
And then, something happened.
My sister attempted suicide. Again, and again, and again. From there, we lost count.
She changed dramatically. There were suddenly more of her. She had split into many personalities. Some were vicious, a couple childlike, and a particular one that ran the show when she shut down.
That one, was dangerous. Usually that one had a knife hidden, and a motive.
Her son may not recall the day I thought he looked like a monkey jumping as he watched his own mother attempt to stab his grandmother in the back with a kitchen knife. Some of the memory is fuzzy. Who got the knife, or how, I can’t recall though I was there.
No one but me would recall the day I found her comatose upstairs with empty narcotic bottles. She should have died. But a personality made her get up and try to act normal- as in speaking normally and wanting to drive the car. We called the ambulance anyway and that’s how they found her. She collapsed after they began to administer aid.
Mother and I stood in the hallway at the emergency room with her son in my arms, talking to a doctor, as a woman on a gurney far down the hall was seizing. We didn’t recognize my sister at first. Everybody ran to her as we stood there.
My sister’s stomach was pumped right there.
From here on out, is a long memory page.
My mother began to show signs of wearing down. I became severely ill, and for a year, we all had to live together helping each other get better. I was married by then. My husband left to stay with his mother in another state.
My sister’s mental condition got worse. She visited psychiatric wards- usually at holidays, her birthday, and the solstices. We continued to raise her son. He hardly saw his mother.
She was becoming a prescription addict, and learning how to lie to people to get the high.
Life continued this way.
My husband returned and we moved out. I eventually got better. My husband and I miscarried. Devastated, we moved far away to start over, leaving my mother in charge. She was at that time working, and had somehow managed to buy a house, even with my sister’s identity theft tactics and money missing.
I got a good job, and for the first time, my mother got a real vacation. I purchased tickets for her, my sister and my nephew to come join us at the beach.
Mother was sunburnt the first day, and miserable for the next six days.
Nearly two years slipped by. Mother wrote often, we called and talked. Things were hidden from me.
I dreamt my mother was dying. I awoke crying.
Four days later, we were on her doorstep. We’d quit jobs, packed house, and I’d driven my husband and I, along with our two cats, in the dead of winter across the United States.
She was indeed sick. Mother had lupus and was losing everything, including the house.
We stayed there with her for a year, attempting to save things. Foreclosure began and we relocated her back home with us. On the way, a vehicle nicked her van in the dead of night, flipping her over and over in the New Mexico Desert about 3am, with her, my husband, and three drowsy cats in cages inside.
Her cat did not survive. He was crushed by oncoming traffic as he fled the scene in the dead of night. Mother stayed in denial even when we found his body.
Her van destroyed, cat dead, and most of her possessions gone, she slipped into depression for several months as we worked to rebuild her life at the beach.
My sister joined us with her teenage son not long after. She could not handle being away from mother.
I divorced my husband. He was fooling around.
As eleven years passed slowly, things began to change.
My mother could not shake my sister, who at first held a job and had her own apartment, but eventually moved in with her again. Mother took care of her again as the job was lost and they both went on disability.
Mother began to look worn out and show signs of hoarding.
My sister fell into her addiction and old patterns. Mother began to have strange bruises, that she chalked up to bumping into things or tripping over something.
Mother stayed at my house alot. I had a child by then, and a business. My house was “her oasis” as she put it.
I rarely went to her apartment. Mother always came to my house.
My sister was holed in her bedroom there, surrounded by cats, burning cigarette holes in everything, high on prescriptions at times. Yet my father’s child had no issue having our young daughter babysat there if he wanted to drag me to a party.
His tune changed when we separated later on.
Life began to devolve. My sister somehow visited during a holiday and was dying on my couch at home for no reason. She was flown to an ICU, with no definitive diagnosis other than multiple sclerosis.
I was abused by my father’s child over time, and fled. Custody was settled. My sister was written in the custody as an unsafe person for our child, written by the same father who had no issue prior when it suited him. I had no issue with the decision.
Months passed. More abuse occurred. Mother was talking out of the blue about my sister attacking her. I attempted to separate them with no results.
The grandkids gathered at my house to play often, Mother and I would have coffee and visit. My sister called every fifteen minutes for something. Mother would hide the meds as my sister was frequently overdosing.
One Sunday in winter, mother looked nervous and quiet as we had coffee and the kids played. As hours passed, I realized as she brought it up, that my sister had not called.
Excusing herself, mother left. Another hour passed, and I called her.
My sister was overdosed on the floor, covered in a blanket, but breathing and speaking in a garbled way. Mother was in a hushed panic. She expressed worry she would be jailed for leaving her unattended, although mother was not in charge of her.
Finally, mother called the ambulance when she rolled her over to discover my sister had passed out on a bare heating pad, set to high. I was on the phone with her as she did this.
My sister was sent to ICU, then a burn unit. She lost a toe.
Mother made the decision to consider moving in with me and letting my sister go to a home. My mother was tired of the drama and the pain. She had been punched and pushed, alot, lied to, robbed, and was told she was not loving her daughter enough.
My sister had piled enough emotional manipulation on her for mother to believe it… even when my sister would say to her face that she was snowing her.
Mother fell into her old role as soon as my sister was discharged, and my sister ruled her life with needs, demands, and follow-up appointments, mixed with absurd requests and belittling.
On a beautiful Sunday at the end of February, mother and I had coffee and cinnamon rolls at my house as the children played amicably for once. I had hugs and smiles for mother. I gave her a surprise… a Nestle Crunch ice cream bar from the freezer.. knowing she loved sweets. Her eyes gleaming, she laughed saying those things would kill her, but they were so good! Mother ate it with a happy smile.
We said our goodbyes, each with kid in tow. I was headed to work, Mother was headed to drop off the other grandchild. We were full of smiles. It was a good day.
As I drove away and rounded the corner, I saw mother getting into her car.
That was the last time I saw mother conscious.
For she couldn’t start the car.
Mother brought the grandchild back into my house to call someone but instead she called my sister, asking for her to call 911.
The rest is pieced together from others.
Mother’s brain hemorrhaged in my living room, but she remained conscious until the ambulance got her on the gurney. Her final words..”This can’t be happening, I’ve got shit to do today.”
She laid back on the gurney and her eyes rolled back into a coma. The grandchild saw it all.
I came home to see remnants of a crisis call on my living room floor.. needle caps, tape, chest leads.
Six long days of a blur, being trapped in a car and ICU with my sister who conned the ER in the lower levels for narcotics.
Six long days of the elite hospital pulling me aside to ask me to remove her if she didn’t stop her behaviors. She was trying to get supplies from the ICU staff and have them put it on mother’s hospital bill.
It was embarrassing. I’d never been asked to leave anywhere.
Six long days of her snarling in my car about insurance money.
Six long days of her bitching who was going to take care of her now?
Six long days before mother’s body ceased to function.
On the seventh day, Mother sent rainbows. The most beautiful, colorful ribbons of light we had ever seen locally.
Mother and I had the best last day of her life. No drug addicts, no drama, no pain. Just love, and children, and happy moments. Mother had so few of those. It was a privilege to be with her on her last day.
If only I would be so lucky as she on the last day of my life.