Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Barbed Walls

I watched the curtains move silently with the ocean breeze. They are worn, having decades of sun bleach away the once colorful daisy pattern. A testament of perseverance, I could take a lesson from them.

My sister is having her surgery on Thursday and hearing the certainty, I broke down. I don't want to lose my sister. I don't want her to be so frightened, nor do I want her to be drugged to a point of not caring.

She is a little, terrified girl facing yet another barbed wall to climb.


I see my own life, flush with beautiful things, magnificent doors opening at every turn, and I can eye my past with a deep sigh of relief.

Never again.

And yet, it happens over and over again to my sister. Perhaps that is why she believes in god. All the pain and suffering get handed over to a higher being- it's god's will. Which is why I cannot believe in god- how can such a all powerful being let horrible things happen to children? Adults, well, maybe we've earned it in some unknowing way but not children.

We were children. My father's sickness may torture him to his death but we weren't broken until he came along.

Why does my sister continue to suffer? And I do not? It reminds me of a friend of mine. Someone shattered by abuse who continues to live a life full of pain. Friends die, cancer appears, over and over, she walks up to barbed wall after barbed wall, as if the goal in this life is simply to survive.

There have been times I wondered if she sought out the pain, the familiar repetition, the allure impossible to resist. If it hurts, it's real. If it doesn't, then it will, so why wait?

I don't see my sister doing that. I see her repeating a pattern, desperately waiting for new results. Someone to love her, be kind to her, be a knight in shining armor to take all the scars away.

No one can do that for you, I have said to her. You have to do it for yourself.

It is an odd place to be, as a survivor of abuse. You have to heal yourself, ultimately. Only you can confront the voices that lull you into believing you deserved it, that somehow pain is comfort.

Love. Pain must be love because why else would anyone have ever done that? It's a child's reasoning that never goes away.

How did I find a place to be safe enough to quiet the gun-toting suicidal voice and let good people into my life? It sounds like survivor guilt but it isn't- more of a wonderment. Maybe it was my mother's love; she did love me as much as she could- I know that. It wasn't always enough and sometimes made it hurt to breathe but she did love me. My sister was her failure, her competition for her husband, always needing more, never getting enough.

Why do I keep going back there? Because it feels so unfair. I'm furious at the world for doing this to my sister. Yes, people go through this everyday but hasn't she had enough?

I watched the curtains and I knew I couldn't cry anymore. I can't make anything better and time will tell if my sister recovers to a new place or not. I have no god to pray to, only my own strength to loan. I will be for her what my friends have been for me- healthy, loving support. Mindful of boundaries and kind in how I express them.

There has been enough spite and anger in her life. I will not ever do that to her.

And like my curtains that may see yet another decade, I will persevere through this. It is my lesson in this life. Holding the unbearable, the unspeakable, and waking up the next day unwilling to accept a row of barbed walls as my future.


Blogger Sue J said...

I was struck by the photo, and then I read the post. Powerful stuff, my friend. If you'll pardon the phrase, we all have our own "cross to bear," and we can never truly understand what someone else goes through in life. But empathy and compassion go a long way....

8:06 PM  
Blogger Ms. Moon said...

You are a wonderful sister and no matter what- she has had you to help her, to be there, to simply love her. And isn't that what she's been looking for forever?
She has you. Not to save her, but to hold her hand and tell her you love her.

8:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a beautiful post . You sister certainly has your deep and profound love.

10:34 PM  
Anonymous donald said...

i missed seeing you this evening, but totally understand you needed some time and space for yourself. allan rocked at euchre and ben got his tv fix.

i will be praying for cathy, and hope she can get through this yet another unfortunate chapter in her life.

hang in there!

3:07 AM  
Anonymous Kori said...

I am a believer but I don't-can't-won't believe in a God who causes things like cancer and abuse; PEOPLE abuse people, and sometimes cancer just happens. And it sucks, totally. As for your sister, all you can do is, I think, sit there with her in her pain; you can't fix it for her, which you know, all you can do is love her. And I think you are doing a great job of that. This is a wonderful post.

8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope her surgery goes well today. Wishing her the best and speedy recovery.

11:31 AM  
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12:40 AM  

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