Luke’s visit, part 1

It happened, our meeting, almost 4 months after I sent the impersonal ‘happy birthday’ text to my brother Luke. He replied that he wanted to talk sometime in person, about our childhood, if I was up to it.

It happened the end of last year for him. He wasn’t going to lie to himself anymore. It happened right after our brother Matt was taken off of his anti-psychotic medicine and threatened to kill Luke’s daughter. The memories flooded back with strong emotion.

I understand, I take it in in small doses until I can’t swallow it anymore. But Luke took it in with one massive gulp. He set aside everything that he used to help him cope and embraced the pain.

He told me that he thought no one cared about us. No one had our best interests in heart. We were physically abused by our disabled brother Matt and verbally abused by our dad on a consistent basis. No one once said that they were sorry this happened to us. We were just expected to take it.

I agreed that our dad did not care about us. I did not agree that our mom did not care about us. I said that I thought she did the best that she could under the circumstances. But did she? Or am I just telling myself that to help me cope?? What is wrong with lying to yourself a little to make you feel better?? What is wrong with coping mechanisms if they are healthy and actually help you cope?

My mom always put Matt first over our safety or the safety of our children. Matt was like an idol we were forced to worship. Our wants and needs always took the back burner.

I feel angry sometimes. Luke does too. He said I should feel angry. But I don’t feel angry at my dad although he was a terrible father. I feel angry at my mom although I think she was an amazing mother.

There is an inconsistency there.

Things don’t add up with what I think and how I feel.

What kind of parents have a 6 year old (me) watch my 3 younger brothers swim at the lake even for a few minutes?? That was the day that my youngest brother (Luke), who just turned 2, almost drowned. I have carried the heavy weight of responsibility since then. I was not allowed to be a kid. I had to be an adult.

Luke said he was sorry that all of these traumatic things happened to me. He asked Paul if I was okay. He asked how I cope. Paul told him that I cope by running. He didn’t mention writing or this blog. I’m not ready. I’m not sure if I will ever be ready. But I am ready to start delving into the past again…slowly…

I don’t want Luke to worry about me…I think this time our brother Mark is the one that could be drowning. Maybe if we can reach him, we can help pull him out.

 

Would you rather?

Would you rather…be hurt or watch someone you love get hurt?

I’ve been overthinking again.

Maybe the dreary weather has been making me all dreary inside.

It was my childhood.

I feel alone.

If I said I grew up with an alcoholic parent, many of you could relate. But my parents rarely drank. It wasn’t that.

How could you understand?

My autistic/schizophrenic brother Matt hurt me again and again. He threatened me with a knife. He kicked, clawed, bit, hit, scratched, pulled my hair, and punched me on a regular basis without consequences.

My dad was either depressed, angry, or apathetic. He neither hit nor hugged me, but he tore me apart with his words.

My mother was more concerned about Matt than anyone else. If a person needed to pull Matt off of someone he was hurting, she was more concerned that their hands would grab onto him too tightly.

I lost my best friend from high school because Matt hurt her. I was the maid of honor in her wedding, but she wasn’t invited to mine. My mom said, “Oh well, you were going in different directions anyway.” But I didn’t have a choice in the matter.

I always defended my mother and her actions. I can’t seem to see that she did anything wrong.

I always demonized my dad. He never did anything right.

My parents fought a lot. Luke and I sided with my mom. Mark sided with my dad.

There must’ve been some coping mechanism in place to view someone as all bad or all good. Any thoughts to the contrary are declined. I can’t seem to break through it.

When Matt grew up, he threatened to hurt or kill our children at some time or another. Did I expect things to be any different?

How could I feel angry at Matt when he is severely mentally ill? His mind thinks like that of a young child forever.

So I walk this journey of healing alone, or so I think.

I was thinking about it this morning. My brothers Mark and Luke lived through this hell with me. I always thought I had it the hardest because not only was I expected to be a caregiver, I was at the receiving end of most of Matt’s attacks.

But then I thought about something else…

Is it easier to be hurt or is it easier to watch someone you love being hurt and not be able to do anything about it??

I know, I am starting to sound like the horrible ‘Would you Rather?’ game that my daughter has. Would you rather stab yourself in the eye with a needle or nail your hand to the table??

I would rather not be hurt at all. But, I would rather be hurt than to watch a loved one suffer and be powerless to do anything about it.

I recently came to the realization that my younger brothers are victims in this as much as I am. The sound of me crying is etched in their minds. They are haunted by the same demons.

It was my brother Luke’s birthday this week. I wished him a happy birthday and this is how he replied…when we have time, I would like to talk more in depth about when we grew up if you would be open to that.

We never really talked about it, our childhood, in depth.

He wanted to know if I would be open to talking…

YES!

I am not alone, my brothers were there right with me.

 

In my feelings…

Last year, at about this time, my brother Matt was taken off of his anti-psychotic meds. Slowly, the docile Matt that we came to love disappeared. It started with a grunt and a few twitches. The Tourette’s was back. Then he started flapping his hands again, the Autistic self-stim. It all would’ve been tolerable for his liver’s sake, I guess.

But then the old Matt came back in full force. He talked to my mom about wanting to kill my niece, my brother Luke’s daughter. He fantasized over scenarios of killing or harming her. The voices were back. He laughed at the things they told him to do. He had conversations with himself as he flapped, grunted, gagged, and twitched.

He had to go back on the medicine. It took months to wean him off and it would take months until it was fully effective again. In the meantime, Luke had to keep his little girls away from Matt.

All of this happened before…

He attacked my daughter at her birthday party when she was 4. That was before he was medicated and in a group home. After that happened, I cut myself off from my family for years.

Before that, it was me. It’s okay if he hurt me, we were the same size. It happened day after day for year after year.

I was told not to feel. Don’t feel…don’t feel…don’t feel. I got pretty good at not feeling.

My dad never told me he loved me or said that everything would be okay. He could sit in the next room laughing over something stupid on TV while I cried. He didn’t care. He looked at me with vacant eyes. He wasn’t there.

He didn’t hug me, nor did he hit me.

Then there was a switch that would go off somewhere in my dad’s mind. He would become angry. He screamed, he swore, and flailed out at everyone. He laughed at our fears and tears. He ridiculed us, called us stupid, and told us how much he hated us. My brother Luke got the brunt of my dad’s anger. But Luke rattled his cage.

My dad never said ‘I’m sorry that you have to go through this’. Instead he called us names like wimp, baby, or worse if we cried or showed any signs of weakness. I built a tough exterior around myself that wouldn’t even allow empathy in. For every punch, hit, or bruise from my brother, my mantra was that the physical pain would make me stronger. The bruises and scars have long faded, but the inner scars will always remain unseen to most.

My mother was the perfect mom. Except she had one weakness, Matt. She favored him over everyone and everything else. If Matt wanted to go, we went. If he wanted to stay home, we stayed. If Matt was hot and we were cold, she would crank the A/C. Matt couldn’t help it, she said. We had control over ourselves, he didn’t. Sometimes she was so blinded by Matt, that she would put other people at risk by his behavior. But, she cared.

A few months ago, my mom brought Matt up north for my niece’s birthday. I’m not sure if it was a miscommunication or if she was trying to force Matt back into Luke’s life once she deemed Matt as better. Both situations happened before. Luke and my mother got into a huge argument. He wasn’t ready to trust Matt around his daughter. My mother left crying.

This takes us to a couple of weeks back…my mom stopped by on a Friday night. I asked her why she was over. On Friday nights she goes to the group home to pick up Matt. She said that Matt wasn’t coming home because Luke was coming over the next day to talk…something about therapist…repressed memories…

I felt very anxious the next day. For a brief moment, I wept. I know how Luke feels. I’ve been there before. It rips you apart.

It’s been almost a year and a half since I had my last what I call post traumatic stress episode.

It started out innocently enough. I was decorating the Christmas tree. Then this memory came back, almost like an image in my mind that I couldn’t get out. With this memory came intense emotion…stronger than anything I have ever felt before. It lasted almost two days. I couldn’t sleep and when I did I had intense nightmares where I woke up crying and frightened. I had several nightmares a night. I felt intense fear, panic, and rage. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t think rationally or otherwise. It was very horrifying.

I fell into a deep dark depression. I drove around aimlessly in my car. I had this strong desire to end it all. If I drove fast in my car and missed a turn…well…oh well. I screamed at anyone that tried to help me and pushed them away. I remembered. I felt the feelings I tried to repress 100x’s more powerful than if I would have felt them before.

I am afraid of this happening again.

My childhood…the flashbacks…those are the times my feet have swept the bottom of the ocean floor. I honestly don’t know how I survived, thrived in fact. I am completely ‘normal’, but my experiences in life are far from it.

The meeting with my brother was all very hush hush. He talked to my dad for 3 hours and my mom for 2 1/2. It sounds like there was closure and healing. At this point, it is hard to say.

Maybe I should talk to my parents too while I still have the chance.

But I’ve chosen to write about it instead.

Past presents

I think it was my aunt’s mission to get me drunk at the family Christmas party.

Alcohol…it has a way of bringing me to life. It makes me feel emotions that are otherwise stuffed away. I answer questions less guarded. Sometimes not only do I then like people, but I become the life of the party.

I was cornered. Have a glass of wine. Once it is emptied, it was refilled by another. Normally I might have told her to piss off (but probably in kinder words)…I am in control of my body and how much I choose to drink. But for some reason, I didn’t care. My aunt through marriage is a very eccentric person and I am drawn to her because she is exciting.

After a few drinks, my aunt started talking about her college days. Apparently she was in a sorority and could drink most people under the table. She started asking questions about my college days as she refilled my glass yet again.

What I told her was that I spent a majority of my college years taking care of my special needs brother. I told her that my mother needed my help so I stepped up to the plate.

What I didn’t tell her was that I only applied to one college, the one closest to home. I didn’t tell her that I never went to one party when I was in college. I didn’t tell her that my mom had a hard time keeping minimum wage caregivers for Matt because he was violent towards them. I didn’t tell her that Saturday night was shower night for Matt, not party night for me. This was the night I bathed him like a small child, not like a slightly younger brother.

My aunt told me I was gypped. Why didn’t my mother put Matt in a group home sooner so I could have a somewhat normal life?? She told me that she saw all these things happening to me but there was nothing that she could do about it.

Her words brought tears to my eyes that threatened to drop. I didn’t want her pity. I told her it made me a better person. That is just the type of bull I say to make people stop seeing me as a victim. I view myself as a strong person, not in any way am I weak or to be ever portrayed as such even though I once was. This is the protective shell I cover my hidden vulnerability with.

Has it made me a better person?? In all honesty, probably not. I don’t believe that I would’ve been a ‘bad’ person if I went to a keg party instead of staying home on a Saturday might to bathe my brother.

Usually I just keep my mouth shut about topics that could lead to conversations about my childhood. I don’t like people picking at my scabs. I feel very hurt that I was robbed of a childhood. It has been a great weakness for me as a parent. I’ve spoiled my children by giving them the childhood I never had. Deep down inside I feel hurt, anger, and resentment towards my mother for taking that away from me. I feel guilty because I know that my mother did not want it to be that way.

I am living the best years of my life right now, but I can’t seem to escape the constant reminders of a painful past.

I am thankful I already lost my mind..

Things have been crazy busy around here. I have been running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Or should I say turkey? Would that be more seasonal?

I am getting ready to have Thanksgiving at my house.

Tomorrow Angel is coming home from college. This has been the first time she has been home since August.

The guys just got back from deer hunting. My son Alex shot his first deer. He also played a trick on me. I asked him to send me a picture of his buck and he sent me a picture of a Bambi. Horrible thing to do. Then he told me it was too little to keep. He said he was going to throw it into the woods for the wolves. I was mortified.

He was just kidding. He found a picture of a Bambi online. Real funny! Not…He has my awful sense of humor…Oh deer..

I knew that they would get a deer because last month we got a quarter cow and this week we are getting a half a pig. The freezer is full…so of course the guys wouldn’t come home empty handed.

Alex wants his new girlfriend to come over for Thanksgiving. I feel like it is too soon since he just broke things off with Baylee. I wanted some explanation to why they broke up. Alex told me that Baylee was fake. He said that she was lying to us the whole time. He asked me if I really believed that Baylee didn’t drink at the underage drinking party at the cabin. She portrayed herself as a reluctant party goer…almost like a mother hen…or a nun. Paul and I wanted Alex to pay her share of the party damage fees. All this time he was covering for her lies..

The new girlfriend looks a little like Baylee…so the family we haven’t seen in months might think it is her..

Paul’s step-dad, Darryl, will be here. This year his wife passed away. Lately Darryl has become obsessed with online dating.

My uncle Rick will be in attendance as well. He is newly divorced for the holidays and has nowhere to go. On a side note, uncle Rick and his ex go to the same gym as I do…I have to budget an extra 20 minutes into my workout now to listen to them bitch about each other..

Then my mom will be here…my brother Matt…my brother Luke and his family. My antisocial dad will stay home and my brother Mark is not coming. This will be the first time that Matt is around Luke’s girls since he went off of his anti-psychotic meds and wanted to kill them.

Thanksgiving will be the test to see if Matt will be okay around Luke’s daughters again. I think things will be okay. His hallucinations are gone and so is his fixation with the girls since he is medicated again. We have been dealing with this for so many decades now, but it doesn’t make things easier.

So, I will be hosting Thanksgiving at my house.

Last month I had my daughter Arabella’s confirmation at my house.

Next month I will be hosting Christmas and New Year’s. Time to buy a bigger house if I have to do all of this party hosting..We are crammed in this cracker box house tighter than ten boxes of stuffing in a small turkey..

If you don’t hear from me for a few days…I am cleaning, I am cooking, I am party hosting…

Hopefully I am not prying my brother Matt off of my nieces, explaining how Alex’s girlfriend is not Baylee although she looks like her, wiping away tears for the first holiday without my MIL Martha, talking with Darryl for hours about online dating, or commiserating with Rick on how much his ex sucks..

Oh, did I mention that almost everyone has a special diet??

Have a happy Thanksgiving! Gotta love my crazy family! Thank God I already lost my mind or I wouldn’t be able to deal with all of this!! There is never a dull moment.

Maybe you are lucky to have a prim and proper boring family. That was never my lot in life…

You will hear from me in a few days, unless I have the nervous breakdown I so rightly deserve…or maybe a midlife crisis…I just can’t decide!

 

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.

Journal 5, part 2

5/2/1991

I’m only going to eat one meal a day or else I will be sick. When I was younger this worked all of the time until I felt better..

It is true that sometimes the needs of the ‘normal’ kids get swept under the rug when there is a special needs child in the house.

I know now that I have been a lifelong sufferer of GERD. I didn’t know this as a child. All I knew was that I had stomachaches all of the time. When it was really bad sometimes eating made me feel sick. I felt like I had a fire in my chest. Eventually the acid crept into my throat, gave me frequent canker sores in my mouth, and wore down the enamel on my teeth as a child. My parents threatened to take me to the doctor if I didn’t eat, but they never did.

My brother Matt also has GERD which was made worse by his gagging from Tourette’s. He frequently threw up his breakfasts. There was a time that the valve completely closed between his stomach and intestines. He couldn’t keep down any food and had to have the valve surgically opened again. In the meantime, he dipped below 90 lbs and he almost died.

Whose needs were more important??

Not only did Matt suffer from GERD, he also has autism. He engaged in a lot of self-stimulating repetitive behaviors such as rocking and flapping his hands together. At one time he had to wear a helmet on his head because when he became agitated he would hit his head with his fist. He was hypersensitive to touch. He would scream when he had to have his teeth brushed. He had to be sedated to go to the dentist for cleanings. He would only tolerate having 1/4 of his teeth cleaned at a time and eventually his teeth rotted. He has difficulty communicating and understanding emotions.

He suffers from Tourette’s. He would gag when eating and constantly make sticky saliva sounds with his mouth. His body would twitch and he repeatedly blinked his eyes.

He suffers from schizophrenia. He hears voices that tell him to hurt little girls. Sometimes the voices terrified him. He had nightmares. He would talk to the voices and laugh at the evil things they would tell him to do.

He is intellectually impaired. He cannot read, write, or do simple math.

He has issues with anxiety.

Matt made anything that my brothers and I struggled with minor in comparison.

There was a 3 year period when Matt was not allowed to go to school because of his violence. After that time period, he had very limited exposure to the outside world up until he was placed on an anti-psychotic medicine that eliminated the voices and the violence towards self and others.

My mother did not want my brother institutionalized in a place for the violently mentally ill so she pulled him out of most situations where he could hurt others. That did not stop him from being violent towards me at home. He grabbed a knife and threatened to cut my eyes out. He punched, scratched, kicked, bit, and pulled my hair on a regular basis. Who protected me?? Who reported his violence against me? No one.

I want to say that I handled it like a trooper, but I did not.

I withdrew into myself. I became very depressed. Although childhood goes by fast, it seems to take forever when you are being abused. I wanted out. I cried myself to sleep at night. I woke up crying in the morning after being awoken by nightmares.

I held my body tight like I was always bracing for impact. I cowered like a dog that was beat too much. My shoulders were held tightly up to my ears. I suffered from insomnia. I fell asleep easily but was typically awake from 2 to 4 AM. In the middle of the night, I suffered from muscle pains. I had to wrap pillows and blankets around my legs. I think my muscles were finally trying to relax in the middle of the night and it hurt.

I suffered from anxiety and worry. I was angry. I developed structure, rituals, and routines to feel like I had some control over my environment. For awhile, I was a compulsive hand washer. I washed my hands so often that they cracked and bled.

With everything going on at home, I couldn’t concentrate at school. My grades were horrible. I was put on a high dose of ADD medicine. It helped me focus, but made my skin crawl. I scratched my skin until it bled, especially on my scalp. I scratched until I pulled out scabs with big clumps of hair.

I was exhausted most of the time.

I was a mess.

That was a long time ago.

I survived.

I am strong now.

I am healing.

I feel ready to fight my demons.

 

Journal 5, part 1

12-10-1990

Tonight is my choir concert. For awhile my mom wasn’t going to go because Matt was reacting. But she is going to go.

Events were always difficult for my family. My mom always wanted Matt to be included in all of the family activities. We never really wanted him to attend our special days. We were afraid that if he hurt someone that would mar the day forever in our memory. Plus we wanted some time when we could be the focus.

How would we feel if a special day was ruined by Matt attacking someone? It would make for an unforgettable choir concert, graduation, or wedding day.

My parents typically took turns attending events if Matt was unable to go. My dad would often times stay home with Matt because he hated social events.

But if Matt was ‘reacting’ bad enough, my mom would stay behind. She didn’t trust anyone else to take care of Matt. If Matt hurt someone, he could sometimes be hurt in the process of restraining him.

For example, if Matt was at the roller rink and attacked a small girl…what do you think her father would do? My mother said that no one could love Matt like she did.

Usually there were early warning signs of reacting that we became hyper vigilant for.. His ears would turn red, his fists and teeth would clench, and his pupils would constrict giving him wild eyes. Sometimes these reactions would last for a short time and sometimes for several days. Sometimes it would happen unexpectedly and sometimes we just knew..

The longest it usually lasted was 2 days until it slowly faded away. For 2 days, Matt would scream and be agitated in general. He would often hurt himself or those around him. He would keep our younger brothers, that he shared a room with, awake at night by rocking his body side to side in his bed violently. During the day, he would run in place flapping his hands together sometimes violently enough to make his chin bleed after his hands rubbed against it repetitively.

He had to be watched constantly because sometimes he would run away. Or he would do deviant things like overflow the sinks. Most of the time he muttered to himself. He would laugh after hurting someone or doing something wrong.

After the reaction was over, Matt would sleep all day and all night.

My mom went to great lengths to try to explain Matt’s strange behavior by saying that he was reacting, or allergic to things.

Matt attacked the stranger in the roller rink because the music was too loud.

Matt attacked the girl because she was wearing perfume. The perfume triggered it. We were no longer allowed to wear or have anything with a fragrance in it. No hair spray, no nail polish, unscented soaps…we even had to dip our toothbrushes in peroxide and baking soda to brush them. I found this to be very restrictive when most girls my age used a bottle of hairspray a week.

Sometimes it was auto exhaust. My mom no longer allowed the cars to be parked in the garage. They had to be parked at the bottom of the driveway. If the wind was blowing in a certain direction, we had to shut all of the windows. My mom would panic if we had to follow another vehicle closely on the road, the exhaust could seep in and set Matt off.

Maybe it was gluten, dairy, and artificial colors. My mom started buying Matt organic food. She went to great lengths to make separate meals for Matt that no one was allowed to eat.

Maybe it was the wood stove. That furnace was removed.

Maybe it was the formaldehyde in the curtains. They were removed and old blankets were put up.

I could probably list at least 50 or more things that at one time my mom thought were triggers. We had to painstakingly follow rituals to try to stop the triggers from eliciting a response in Matt, but it never worked.

My mom took Matt to almost every doctor in the state and to several doctors in other states. She had faith that he could be healed from this affliction. As a child, I believed that he could be healed too. We hung on to every hope that he would be completely healed.

My mom took Matt to physicians, homeopathic healers, allergists, and even a lady that read auras. But nothing worked.

I fear that what I am telling you makes my mother sound like she was completely crazy. But I want to assure you that my mother was the sanest person in the house. In her natural state she is an easy going…go with the flow kind of person…She is very compassionate, sensitive, and loving…But with Matt, my mother was fierce and determined to do anything she needed to do to protect him…to feel like she had an iota of control over something that no one had any control over… and to seek answers while holding on to this irrational dream that some day she would wake up and he would be normal.

Quieting the voices again

Last week I shared some really personal stuff about my childhood. What I haven’t told you was that every time I read, write, or think about my past I experience the negative emotions that go along with it. Maybe it is a part of the whole healing process, I don’t know.

I was feeling angry at my mom. This is a real struggle for me because a) she is getting up in age and probably doesn’t have a lot of time left, b) I feel like she was the best parent she could be, and c) she probably was as much of a victim in this whole mess as I was. It is not fair to be angry with her now about things that happened a long time ago.

I should be angry with my dad. He was a) never there for me, b) emotionally abusive, and c) a crappy parent. But I am not angry with my dad.

To add fuel to the fire, the previous weekend when I spoke to my mom she said that the family was going for one last impromptu trip up north. My whole family was going up to celebrate my niece’s birthday and I wasn’t told about it until the day of.

My mom cared about me, but she always cared about Matt more. What I am angry about is that Matt hurt me all of the time and she never did anything. She never told him that his behavior was wrong. She comforted him after he hurt me. She told me that I was in the wrong for feeling angry and wanting to retaliate. Would it have changed anything to tell him what he did was wrong? Probably not, but it would’ve made me feel better.

Did she say she was sorry when Matt attacked my friends? I lost all of my childhood friends because Matt hurt them. I was put in a position where I had to choose between my family and my friends.

When Matt was too violent to go to school, my mom pulled all of us out of school. I was Matt’s caregiver up until my second child was born. I went to college close to home. As a teenager, instead of screwing around with my friends, I was in charge of showering my brother.

When I needed my mom the most, I felt like she wasn’t there…If I dwell on it, my anger boils. I felt rather despondent all weekend. My husband thought I was angry with him because I didn’t feel like talking.

I decided to call my mom over the weekend. I asked her how the birthday party went. She told me that she dropped off the cake and gifts and went back home. She spent half of the car ride home crying. Apparently my brother Luke was not ready to have Matt around his children but that was not communicated. Luke said some harsh words to my mom which was upsetting to his daughter and everyone around.

A couple of months back, Matt was taken off of his anti-psychotic meds. He started hallucinating again and became obsessed with my niece. He talked about killing her. He is back on his medication and hasn’t hallucinated in over a month. But Luke is not ready.

I understand because Matt attacked my daughter Angel at her birthday party. He was obsessed about hurting her too. I’m sure that my brother was thinking that he didn’t want his daughter to get hurt at her birthday party either.

Matt is an adult and our daughters are little girls or were at one time. After Matt hurt Angel I had to cut ties with my family for awhile. At the time, Matt was still living at home with my parents. Matt has always been fixated on hurting girls. Never boys.

My mom pressured me to have Matt get together with the family after that happened. Not long after the incident, I became pregnant with my second daughter. I found out the sex of my baby but never told anyone because it was too painful to tell my family that we wouldn’t be together for a long time.

It took years before I allowed my daughters to be around my brother for more than just a passing glance through the window. Luke is planning on reintroducing Matt to his daughters at my house next month for Thanksgiving. Matt never hurt my nieces. He seems to be doing better. He no longer mutters to himself or laughs at what the voices are saying. The voices are quiet again. Maybe we can move past this. He will have to stay on that medication for the rest of his life.

Delving into the past and the recent events have brought up a mixture of emotions, mainly anger on my part.

I will share some old journal entries with you this week (some of them are funny). Then I will have to put it aside for awhile. I really have a hard time over the holidays because it stirs up all of these family issues. For my mental health, I have to know when to set it aside for awhile.

 

Confirmed complications

In a few weeks, my youngest daughter will be confirmed. So far there are so few people attending that I might not have to clean my house.

My oldest daughter has to work late the night before confirmation. There is no way that she can switch with someone. She felt bad because she had the dates wrong on her calendar and told her sister she was coming home. Angel said that she was willing to get up at 4 AM and drive the 8 hour round trip just to attend the ceremony. I told her not to.

I called my brother Luke last night and his family is not coming either.

This past summer my brother Luke got a big promotion. He was thrown a huge party, but I didn’t attend. He mentioned bitterly after my apologies for not attending that he was upset his wife’s siblings attended, but his own siblings did not. I told him again that I was sorry. Paul and I had our 20th anniversary trip planned out before I even heard of his party.

Growing up, we were never encouraged to support our siblings endeavors. Luke didn’t attend my college graduation or party because he was too hungover. Granted, he was a teenager then and I am in my 40’s now. I am happy that he has a successful career. I felt bad that I couldn’t be there, but I wasn’t going to cancel our vow renewal anniversary trip. I guess he is mad at me now..

My dad and my brother Mark only attend social events that they are required to. You will never hear my brother Mark’s childhood story. It is locked away in some deep dark place to be buried with him.

Mark gave up drinking. He said that it made him feel better not to. He has stomach issues like me and half of the family. He was the one that started drinking the previous summer while we were up north at 6 in the morning. He said he gave up drinking on January 1st for health reasons, but it sounds like a New Year’s resolution to me. I am happy that he is feeling better.

I rarely saw my brothers at all this summer.

My brother Matt tore up the whole family this year. After he was taken off of his anti-psychotic meds because of liver strain, he started hallucinating again. He became fixated on Luke’s young daughters and expressed a desire to kill them. He was put back on the medicine, but it might take months for it to be fully effective again.

Before he was originally put on the medicine, he was fixated on hurting my daughter Angel. We had to limit their contact with each other, but he did hurt Angel on her 4th birthday. This was before he was placed in a group home. This started a time of deep isolation from my family. They spent weekends up north together, but I wasn’t included.

Matt has always fixated on hurting little girls. I should know, I was the first little girl. That was before we heard about the voices. This summer my mom had fear again. She was afraid to take Matt to his appointments because there might be little girls there. Little girls that he could hurt and she wouldn’t be able to stop him.

My brothers and I helped my mom take Matt to appointments when we were younger. We had to be hyper vigilant to signs that Matt might be getting agitated. My mom would try to make appointments when there weren’t little girls coming in to the doctor. But that didn’t always work. At times adults would bring little girls with them to appointments. Sometimes we had to sneak in through the back door. My brothers became quite effective in restraining Matt. It usually took a couple of people to pry him off.

This summer Matt was on lock down. He couldn’t go on trips to the library or to the bowling alley with his group. My mom became fearful of doctor appointments again. It was stressful up north with young kids playing next door. Matt talked to the voices this summer. He laughed like a mad man to whatever the voices said. He is starting to get better…but will he be able to be around the children for the holidays??

So, at this time, only my mom is attending Arabella’s confirmation besides our immediate family.

Paul’s mom and step-dad are Arabella’s sponsors. Paul’s mother passed away this year from cancer. Her husband Darryl moved on with life. Darryl recently told Paul all about his love life with his new girlfriend. It makes us very uncomfortable. We are not ready for someone new to take his mother’s place. We don’t want to meet a new lady at the confirmation. I’m not sure if Darryl will be there.

Whoever would’ve thought a confirmation could be so complicated??