Unrest

I don’t want to do this anymore, this whole life thing. I want to hibernate somewhere, hidden away under cover.

I don’t know how I got to this point. I’m just tired of it. I’m just tired.

I couldn’t fall asleep last night. It was after midnight before I silently fell into slumber. This happened twice this week although this type of insomnia rarely happens.

I couldn’t stay asleep last night. I slept restlessly. I awoke several times. At 4 AM I had to go to the bathroom. This is the type of insomnia I call home.

I had one of the most intense nightmares that I had in a long time. I was a little girl. I was brought to an empty house because there was going to be a lot of blood, my blood. I went willingly because I knew I had to be the sacrifice. I was afraid. I was going to be hurt badly, but I would live through it. Before anything happened, the owner of the house came back. She looked like a grown up me. I told her that she needed to leave because she would get killed for being there. She tried to help me, we ran away. She was killed and I hid in the closet terrified knowing I would be next. Now we both were going to die because she tried to save me.

I awoke at 5:30, less than an hour before my alarm was going to go off.

Today is the day that my video is being posted. I didn’t know it until this morning. I hate the video. I want to destroy it. I feel so anxious about it.

Why do I have this need to tell everyone about the things I’ve experienced? I just don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to write. I don’t want to blog. I want to disappear off the face of the earth like I never even existed.

I thought of strange things. I remembered the book my mom used to read to me about Toad and Frog. They left the door open and winter came in. They were cold, sad, and lonely. They made soup out of their tears. It was almost as if the hauntingly sad child me came for an unwanted visit. But to cast her away would destroy us both.

I struggled to find the motivation to do everything I needed to do. Some days are like that. I’ve been stirring up my demons. But I was able to make it through. It is hard to do when my body and mind doesn’t let me rest.

Maybe tonight I will sleep.

Unrest.

 

The nursery

A few days ago, I posted about trees. Sounds boring, I know. Sometimes I have an idea that scratches around my mind that I want to write about that leads to more ideas, and yet more until it takes root.

Today I am going to write about trees again and family roots.

I just want to be upfront with you right away…I do not have a green thumb. I’ve killed every house plant that I’ve ever had. Once I got a chia pet for Christmas. I ended up regifting it because it was too much pressure.

My grandpa had a nursery located on the edge of my parents property when I was growing up. Most of the trees in the photos that I posted the other day were of trees that came from my grandpa’s nursery. My grandma came to my house and helped me plant those trees. My grandpa passed away the year we bought our house. Even my grandma has been gone for almost a decade now.

We are thinking about moving in the next year. It seems silly to say that one of the things I will miss the most is my trees. It is one of the last connections I have left to my grandparents now. I remember painstakingly deciding where to plant the trees with my grandma.

Thinking about the trees again made me think about growing up. Oftentimes my grandpa would remove the trees that weren’t thriving. He would put them on a pile to discard. When I was a young girl, I decided I would rescue one of the dead trees. It was a little pine tree with brown needles. I planted it in my parents backyard. I watered the tree everyday, but it still looked dead.

Then one morning I went outside to check on my tree and it was alive with leaves of brilliant green. I did it! I saved my tree. Things went downhill after that with my green thumb. I don’t know who replaced the tree. It probably was my grandma, but I will never know for sure..

Then my memories started taking me down a darker path.

Strangers stopping by to buy trees. Grandpa coming over in his truck. The smell of fresh dirt. Fertilizer. The musty smelling plastic bags the trees were sent home in.

Strangers in our yard. We must be alert. We worry. Are there children? Are there little girls? I give my mother a report. Keep an eye on Matt while I walk over. We could prevent Matt from going places where he could hurt someone, but we could never warn the strangers that came into our yard unaware.

I never felt safe. It would probably shock you if you knew how many times we had to worry about the safety of outsiders. My brother Matt is violently autistic/schizophrenic. We couldn’t control Matt but we did our best to push other people away to protect them.

Today I sit in public places with my back to the wall…always watching. I notice when patterns are off. I do everything I can to be a protector although I am never needed anymore.

It is strange how thinking about something neutral like trees could take me back.

What I truly want for Mother’s Day

What I truly want for Mother’s Day…

Baby, I want to hold your tiny hand in mine one more time.

I want to gather you back into the safety of my nest.

I want to be able to kiss your owwies and take away your pain.

I want you to still think that I have all of the answers and that the world is a good and magical place.

I want to sit you on my lap and read your favorite stories…I can’t seem to remember the day it all ended.

I want to laugh off the people that say it goes by so fast as I hold a crying baby in my arms.

What I truly want for Mother’s Day…

Mother, I want to see the excitement in your eyes as I give you my scribbles on a piece of pink construction paper.

I want to see the beauty of your young face and the natural color of your hair. I don’t want to see signs of you slipping away from me.

I don’t want to think that this could be our last year together like last year was for my husband’s mother.

I want to think that the little things I do or say give you lasting happiness more than flowers or a card someone else wrote on this one day of the year.

What I truly want for Mother’s Day…

Grandma, how I long to hear your voice again…to hear you sing like a bird…to tell you that you gave my daughter your gift. I want you to fully understand the influence you have had on my life and how that impacted my children.

I want to smell fresh cookies as I walk into your house and know that you made a special batch just for me.

I want you to answer the phone when I call.

I long to see your house again, the way it was before the new people moved in.

I want to smell your sweet perfume, even the scent that remains in the half empty bottle is beginning to fade.

I wish you could walk alongside of me on this journey again..

This is what I truly want for Mother’s Day.

Autism’s sibling, journal 3 part 2

One time when mom’s old friend stopped by, Matt threw rocks at her car and she left..

What I don’t understand is why the nice friendly Christian ladies at church didn’t offer to give us an hour break from Matt. We never got a break. I only had two friends that lived with me, my two cats. But Matt was mean to them and they eventually ran away. Life with him has been hell. Even though Matt is small, he is very strong.

I also have a lot of nausea. Once my depression and nausea got so bad I couldn’t eat. Nobody cared about me. Nobody cared about Mark either. They cared about Luke because he was a troublemaker and got a lot of attention. Sometimes he would even be as bad as Matt.

What I hated most was talking to relatives. They always asked how Matt was. That really hurt because it is like I don’t exist. Usually people ask how you are. But imagine if they asked about your brother and not you. It hurts to know that people really don’t care if I’m alive.

I remember when the three boys were wild at the table. Mom had to feed them. Mom and dad would fight. Mom would get upset and go upstairs to cry. I was her best friend. I would talk to her and tell her that things would be better tomorrow, but it never did. There were always more problems or more doctor bills. Things are better now, but I still feel the pain and it’s holding me back from being happy.

I had a friend that stayed over once in awhile until Matt kicked her. She never wrote back to me after that.

Alissa, 1990

Isolation…being completely alone…emptiness…a cold barren winter devoid of color….loneliness…the crying of the wind…sadness…the darkest days of the year.

Isolation…for three years Matt had a school teacher come out to the house to educate him. He was deemed too violent to attend school. My mom took a leave of absence from work and pulled my younger brothers and I out of school as well. Sometimes we only left the house once a week to go to church. I spent a lot of time alone in my room writing in my journals.

Emptiness…Robbed of joy and childhood magic…My dad couldn’t handle the stress…he was there physically, but he was gone emotionally…I had to step up to the plate…the firstborn…the caregiver…the fixer…weighed down with adult worries…numb to pain, numb to joy…Pushing all feelings away…left empty inside…Not able to feel anything.

Loneliness…Friendships were severed. When friends came over, it was a disaster. We only had people over once or twice a year and it usually did not go well. My mom and my cats were my best friends. I had more pen pals than actual friends, it was safer…the friends we had went away and never came back…

Sadness…My mother, the kindest and most compassionate person that you would ever meet. I think that it truly hurt others when they had to kick us out of public places because of Matt’s violence…he hurt someone…I have to kick you out…you are welcome back again, but give it some time…Those were the years when I saw my mother’s tears more than I heard her laughter.

Isolation…being completely alone…emptiness…a cold barren winter devoid of color….loneliness…the crying of the wind…sadness…the darkest days of the year.

I spent three teenage years completely alone..Those were the darkest years of my life. Years that I don’t talk about.

 

Autism’s sibling, journal 3 part 1

Now I am ready to tell you about myself, my family, and you will understand everything..

Everyday Matt would be violent. He would bite me and claw up my arms. I have the scars to prove it, although they faded a little because he’s a little better. But it was awful. Everyday he would be uncontrollable. It was always me he hit.

Once he had this thing about men with beards. He would scream and be awful. Once Matt, mom, and I went grocery shopping and Matt saw a guy with a beard. He got really mad. When mom was checking out, she had to hold him down on the floor because he could hurt someone. 

Or how about the time when we had to move the knives because he took one out and threatened to stab my eyes out.

Or when my mom got a bloody lip because he threw his head back on her. She started crying and it really upset me when I heard her say, “What kid would do this to his mother?”.

The stress was unbearable.

I couldn’t have any friends over because they might have on a fragrance and he might react. So you could say that I never really had many friends over because he would hurt them or me. I couldn’t wear any hair spray or anything with a fragrance.

Other times he would hurt small kids.

We had to do different things. We had to get unfragranced soap, shampoo, deodorant, and laundry soap. We had to close the windows when there was an east wind because the auto exhaust would bother him.

He couldn’t leave the house. He had to eat special foods. We never had anyone over because Matt might hurt them.

He can’t read and when he was younger, he couldn’t talk. He would do weird things like grind his teeth and hit his head. He broke about 5 stereos, one of mine, one of mom’s, and the rest were his.

He couldn’t go swimming because of the chlorine. He would be wild for two or three days in a row. He threatened to run away.

Alissa, 1990

Over time, I have forgotten the magnitude of the stories written by a younger me.

To be honest, something has been scratching at my mind since I stirred up my demons.

My last post was on locker rooms of all things..Talking about locker rooms seemed to bother me more than it should have..Memories swirl through my mind. My mom taking a too old Matt into the girls locker room? There weren’t options back then like there are now. A too old screaming autistic boy in the ladies locker room would have been memorable back then, but I don’t remember more than a flicker.

There are whispers quietly echoing through my mind, but I can’t make out the words.

I am nervous as I type.

Do I really want to remember?

Places where the past and present collide

The last few days I haven’t been feeling much like writing. I toy with the temptation of disappearing and being totally anonymous again. Strange thoughts trickle through my mind. I worry that my anonymity has been compromised when the phone rings. I get the pseudonyms crossed in my mind. Will I call someone by the wrong name in real life? Will I use their real name here? The boundaries blur…the wires cross…in my mind..

Time zigzags between the past and present…I enjoyed having Angel home over Easter break, but it blurred the adulthood with childhood in my mind. Is she still my child after childhood fades?

We had a bowling party for Matt’s birthday and a family get together for Easter. Right before the party on Saturday morning, I started feeling depressed and a tad bit angry. I didn’t want to share anything with anybody.

I always feel edgy right before family occasions. Matt’s party went great. We had a fun time. It’s just that sometimes in my head the past blends in with the present and I start feeling or thinking the way I felt or thought back then when Matt was violent.

A group of young laughing girls walked by Matt. I remembered the old Matt…the Matt that would attack them…the Matt that would pull their hair and kick them.

Fear trickled through me.

But the new Matt paid no attention as the girls walked by.

I can’t separate the past from the present. The old triggers still flip a switch in my mind that I can’t seem to turn off.

Yesterday, I pulled out another old diary from 1990. This was something I willingly decided to do in my writing process to confront my demons.

But sometimes I fear that this may trigger memories that are darkly hidden. I am afraid sometimes that I won’t be able to handle what I find…what I remember…and the feelings those memories trigger.

It seems insurmountable to me right now. Like running a marathon right up a mountain.

But once I make it to the top of the mountain, I will see things that I have never been able to see before…new insight, new understanding, a deeper knowledge…peace.

Sometimes I need to take a step back to go forward…too see where I’ve been…to notice how far I’ve already climbed.

I want to be able to put the past behind me so it doesn’t mingle with the present anymore. I think it is going to be a long and difficult hike up the mountain, but well worth the view at the top.

Maybe at the end of my climb, I can finally put my demons to rest.

Prom…the good, the bad, and the not so ugly.

There was this 17 year old girl (Ali) that got the part of the floozy that I wanted in the musical. She pulled it off a lot better than I thought she would as someone rather inexperienced in life and love. She has the body that many would envy with long gazelle like legs and curves in all of the right places. She also has a kind and compassionate heart…truly beautiful inside and out. She almost seemed to feel bad that I didn’t get her part although it wasn’t a big deal.

After the show one night, Ali told me that she was missing her junior prom. She bought a dress, had a date, and couldn’t go because it was the same night as the show.

She spoke with regret…lamenting a missed prom…while at a theater full of beautiful costumes, wigs, and makeup…including a stage with music, lighting, and speakers. It seemed like a no brainer to me…I decided to throw Ali a prom. We picked out lovely dresses and had a dance party with most of the people that were lingering about. Almost everyone got into glamorous costumes and danced the night away.

Afterwards, people started treating me like I was Mother Theresa. I became (gulp) almost popular. People told me how wonderful I was for throwing Ali a prom. Ali was even crowned the prom queen. I really felt uncomfortable with all of the praise. Maybe because I had more fun at her prom then I ever did at mine.

I missed my first two high school proms because I was home schooled. My autistic brother was too violent to be in school, so we had a retired school teacher come out to our house to educate him. My mom pulled us all out of school during this time. We weren’t treated well at school because Matt was the first violent autistic child in the school district. Apparently, it was the family’s fault he acted the way he did. For 3 years, I was not in school.

When I was a sophomore, there was a boy I wanted to go to prom with. I finally got up enough courage to call his house. He wasn’t home, so I ended up talking to his mother under the guise of some church fundraiser we were having at the time. I don’t think he ever knew I called for him. I didn’t have a prom date and didn’t attend the school.

So no luck for prom!

I went to my junior prom with my boyfriend at the time, Timmy. My mom picked out a dress for me and brought it home one day. It was ugly and I hated it. But I wore it anyway. We got our pictures taken at Timmy’s house. His step-dad grabbed my ass. Timmy was angry when I told him. At prom, another girl told me that someone wore the same dress that I was wearing the previous year. She also said that Timmy was planning on breaking up with me after prom.

After prom, Timmy and I got into a huge fight on our way to an after prom party about him wanting to break up with me. We sat outside the party in his car on the road. It was pouring. Several people stopped asking if we had car trouble, but the screaming and tears suggested otherwise.

Not a good prom.

Then senior prom came along…my long term boyfriend Bobby and I just broke up. I was heartbroken…so I started dating Bobby’s next door neighbor and friend. Nothing exciting happened beyond a few hickeys on my neck to get back at Bobby. Boy did that show him! Lol…But, I was planning on going to prom with Bobby’s friend. He didn’t have his license. When I went to pick him up, his sister said that he left for the weekend to go on a fishing trip with his dad.

So, I went to prom alone in a cheap thrift store dress with hickeys on my neck. At prom, a low status guy asked me out… I thought to myself…Sure, why not?? I didn’t like the guy, but I was feeling miserable and alone at the time. The other kids found out about it and laughed. Someone had the DJ announce ‘congrats Alissa and Donny for making a love connection’. We broke up the next day.

Not a good prom.

So this past weekend…I threw Ali a junior prom…Maybe I feel guilty for having so much fun. It was like I was redoing my prom all over again.

Sure, it was a nice thing to do…but I am not a saint for doing it.

I just wanted her to have happy memories. If nothing else, she will have a lot of interesting stories..

It was a great prom!

Suppertime sadness

The tool box clanks on the floor…It’s 6 PM…Dad gets home from work…Supper is on the table…Matt and Luke are tied to their chairs with my mom’s apron…otherwise they don’t stay…

Dad bangs his fist on the table…This dog shit you call supper…He roars as he walks away…The TV is turned on in the next room…laughter on the screen…laughter from my dad…my mom cries…The boys struggle against their restraints…

My stomach hurts…I don’t want to eat…But I have to stay until all of my food is gone..

Martha’s eulogy

When I first met my mother-in-law Martha, she was only a few years older than I am now. She was taking care of her mother in Paul’s childhood home on the highway.

Time has been slipping by fast since then. The seconds turned to minutes to hours then years past and a few decades slipped away as well.

This will be the 20th year since Martha’s mom left us. I was glad I could meet her and see Martha’s kind and compassionate care for her.

Paul’s childhood house is gone too. A gas station stands where the house on the highway used to sit.

And now he lost his mother too.

I have to be honest that the last few weeks have been totally heartbreaking. Martha became someone I didn’t recognize anymore. I want to forget the last couple of weeks and only remember the good times. I want to remember her laughter and not our tears.

Martha always had a way of taking the negatives and turning them into positives. I remember taking her in for her biopsy right before her diagnosis of breast cancer many years back. She wasn’t even worried. She had a good attitude saying things like ‘it wasn’t so bad’ and ‘I can handle doing this again’. She fought the first battle courageously and won.  Little did we know at the time that she would be facing this fight again. But she battled it courageously with optimism and hope.

Most people would describe Martha as a lot of fun. We spent a lot of our time together laughing. I will miss her laughter. Although she was one of the nicest ladies you would ever meet, it was in your best interest not to get her mad.  She was afflicted with the family temper, which believe me, I have learned quite a bit about. If something was bothering her, you would be sure to hear about it. But once she spoke her mind, it was forgotten. She was never one to hold a grudge. She was never one to judge either. She accepted people with open arms and made them feel welcome.

Unlike me, Martha never spent her time worrying. She was carefree. We needed her to bring the fun and excitement to the room. She didn’t worry about time, structure, or routine. She got there when she got there. This is the one time that she showed up to heaven’s gates too early.

She was happy with what she had. She didn’t need the newest fashions or glitzy bling.

I remember the days when Martha drove around a puke green 1970’s model station wagon. We were quite the sight driving around town. People stared. She would just laugh and say something like, “It is not much, but it gets me where I need to go.” She really didn’t care what people thought of her. I really liked that about her because that mind set is so freeing. She was herself.

Some might have said, at the time, that her biggest mistake was having a child at a young age without a husband. But I would have to say that her biggest mistake has been my greatest blessing in life. It is the reason I am here now with a wonderful husband and these beautiful grandchildren of hers. I will always appreciate the sacrifice that she made to raise Paul on her own. She held down a job. She put her life on hold for him. She always told him that he could do whatever he put his mind to. She was a great mother and thankfully Paul had the opportunity to tell her that.

A few weeks ago, she shared that the biggest regret in her life was that she didn’t meet Darryl sooner. Darryl was the love of her life. They shared many wonderful years together in their house in the woods.

She loved the time she spent with her family and we will miss her.

This, whatever it is..

Last night after writing, I felt restless.

I had an inability to focus and no desire to do so.

I left home.

I walked out the door and drove off without telling anyone I was going.

I drove aimlessly for an hour. I am drawn to places where I once was happy, but are lost to me now. I drive to the house I used to live in when we were first married, to my grandma’s house, or to the sailing club devoid of boats for the winter. Last night I drove by Lisa’s old house. I glanced as I passed and saw children playing inside. I drove along our old running route. Then I drove aimlessly after that.

I had a conversation with God while I drove. Why weren’t you there for us back then God? Why weren’t you there for me? Where are you now? But I didn’t receive an answer. I entertained the thought that he was never there. Maybe there is no God. I don’t know if I believe or trust anymore. My faith is held intact by a small string.

Paul was worried when I got back home. He forced me to talk to him when I would rather stare off into space, be alone, or attack him so he would stay away. I felt flooded with despair. It threatened to drown me. What is my purpose? Why am I even here?

The sadness was relentless, but I fell into an exhausted sleep only to awake hours later from a horrifying nightmare. I dreamed that I went back in time. There was a horrific lightening storm like one I never saw before. The lightening burned holes in the ground and tried to pull me into it. I had no way to protect anyone. My kids were in it while they were younger, I found my little brothers, and relatives that are long gone now. I couldn’t protect anyone and had trouble finding them.

I awoke in absolute terror. I wrapped myself tightly in my blankets to try to feel safe. But the feelings of terror surrounded me for another half an hour. I got up for awhile, unable to sleep. Then I fell back into a restless sleep for the rest of the night.

I awoke feeling nervous and afraid, like an intruder was in the house. I felt jumpy. I know the feelings weren’t true. I was alone, and no one was there..

The memories keep rushing back. Images ricochet through my mind..Sounds echo through my head… I hear the laughter of children on the playground… I hear them mocking Matt.. I watch as Matt kicks the girl at the roller rink.. I hear her screams and her dad’s angry yell.. I walk through the playground with Matt and his therapist trying to see if the laughter of the children will trigger a meltdown to try to help him somehow stop..I hear the cats cry..I hear a music box and Aunt Grace talking..I hear the laughter of Uncle Harold..

The images and sounds haunt my mind. Whispers of memory. Distorted, out of focus, yet somehow real, remembered faintly.

Then I realized that I was back home. I am feeling the way that I felt back then. The anger, the depression, the fear, the insomnia, the nightmares..

Paul said that maybe I should take some time off to rest. But I am going to work…I am following my regular exercise routine…and I am grasping onto my little string of faith..

If I let go, I will surely drown…