The title is off putting, isn't it? What could be dysfunctional? Well, it's a difficult topic, Domestic Abuse. For some readers, you'll leave at the mention of that charge, for others, you're curious what it was like, and for some it's the comfort of knowing you aren't alone. That someone went through this like you and made it to adulthood with partial functionality. Why am I still talking? Because I'd like to tell you my story, the beginning, the nitty gritty. The good, the bad, and the ugly side of Domestic Abuse.
Some adults are born abusive and others are raised to be abused. There is nothing to be done but cry; and that's okay. No one expects you not to cry. I still cry at the thought of how hard it was. I'll tell you now, this experience that I'm going to put you through is a long and rough tale. And if you feel sympathy, I appreciate it but now I can stand on my two feet. So keep reading. My method of telling this experience is unorthodox.
Imagine you are a young girl, a child, living in an apartment after you just moved from cool and beautiful Virginia Beach to blistering hot El Paso, Texas. It's Christmas and you have an older sister, a twin. She looks like you. She is your best friend. Now, the both of you are playing with dolls in the open living room and you hear your mother and father arguing. It's Christmas! What could they possibly be arguing about? He's drunk. You both hear it and start crying but your cries are ignored. Your father grabs the tree. He rips the cords from the wall and throws the tree from the balcony.
As you age, that memory is forgotten. You and your sister become big sisters, the first younger sister is born in 2003, and you see your mom in the hospital with your baby sister, Amber. A little less than a year later, another younger sister is born, Meghan. Only, you didn't get to see her. She was sick, born in 2004. She had pneumonia and spent six weeks in the hospital. Then things take a turn for the worst.
Your older sister gets sick, really sick. You don't know what's going on. All you see is that she can't walk anymore. She can barely speak, she doesn't play, all she can do is sit and color or watch television. You're confused. Your mom and dad continuously fight. More and more. Months pass and you're sent away to be with your aunt for a month. Later, you will know just why you left. You came back and your older sister was worse. She couldn't walk at all, she looked really sick all the time, and when all you wanted to do was play, she turned you away and yelled at you. You were hurt. You watched as your sister slowly decayed and then, your mom pulls you into her bedroom.
You sit on her bed with your sister and can see the weight of what she is about to say in her face. You gaze at the pain that she expresses, the sorrow in her eyes, this beautiful woman that is your mother now looks old and sad. Slowly, she breathes out and sighs. She says, "Nicole, you have cancer and it's in your brain, the doctors can't do anymore." A tear rolls down her cheek and she sighs. "Honey," her voice breaks. "You are going to die." Everything is a blur after that. She explains what is going to happen and why it's happening.
And then you hear your sister, your twin, with a heartbroken breaking voice say gently, "But I don't want to go, I don't want to leave you."
This is all you can remember of that experience. Nothing more. You can barely remember what her voice sounds like.
Time moves on, a month or two passes. And one night while watching a movie, your sister goes to lay down. She looks tired. You and your mom finish the movie and you head to your room. You pass your two younger sisters' room and enter yours. There on the opposite bed to you is your older sister. No longer breathing and motionless. Your mom leads you away. She sighs and leads you into the living room.
I don't remember much of that night. I just remember this:
Family came to mourn with you and they said their goodbyes. Your mother had put your older sister into her last Halloween costume. A blue butterfly. Two men came into the house with a gurney and carried her away. You never saw her again. You clung to your mother crying and wondering where these men took your sister.
The next few years seemed to be a blur. You don't remember anything and all you know is that your mom and dad are fighting more and more. He is a drunk, he is abusive. He would beat you, your sisters, and your mother. Things just blurred until one day in third grade you came home and found 15 police cars around your block, and as you left the bus and walked into view of your house, your dad is in handcuffs being escorted by cops into the back of one of their cars.
It tore your life apart, but what do you do? Curl up in a ball. Let life topple you over? I didn't, and neither should you. I've been through abuse, a divorce, the loss of my sister, the loss of my aunt who I confided in for everything. I've been in abusive relationships with guys, emotional, physical, everything. Stand tall, keep fighting. I am a fighter, and you should too. There is always hope and you can live an amazing life.
Because life is dysfunctional.