Brother Dearest


1:30 on a Tuesday.

Buying my husband socks.

This is what I was doing when my mom called me to tell me that my older brother had taken his life.

I broke down crying in the middle of the underwear section as onlookers watched. We bought our items and drove to my sister's workplace to tell her what had happened. 

My brother was bipolar. He was in the middle of a divorce. His six month old son had died a year ago. Our father had been abusive. He didn't like his job. He was adopted. He had been in jail several times. He had attempted to take his life several times before. All of these are risk factors, we just never thought he'd actually do it. 

That day was the most painful day in my entire life. Even now as I write this, I'm welling up with tears. He was only 21 years old. He was the most brilliant person I know. He was always inventing things and had a unique way of looking at things. He could be a jerk sometimes. I mean, he was my older brother. We yelled at each other. I feel terrible saying this, but I hate it when people sugar-coat the lives of the deceased.

I had gotten married ten days before his death. He didn't make it to my wedding because he had to appear in court. We had just gotten back from our honeymoon and were going to go spend our gift cards, thus the sock buying. I hadn't spent much time with my brother leading up to the wedding even though he was living in the same house as me because I was so busy and I regret that. But I can't go back and change what has been done.

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Infertility is a B*$%!

I want a baby.

I want one so bad that I can feel the aches and pains as if I'd been punched in the gut.

I turned 30 this year. I know intellectually that 30 does NOT mean all is lost. Emotionally? It feels like the beginning of the end.

I FINALLY got my husband on board with infertility testing. Seriously? Took freaking forever. He wants a baby just as badly as I do, but apparently he thinks they come from the brier patch or some shit. He did his testing, and he got the high five from my doc when everything on his end turned out fine (seriously, a high five. You can't make this shit up).

Then I got laid off.

Sonofabitch, I seriously got laid off and half of our monthly income is gone. Unemployment in my state is a joke, but hey, it's better than nothing, right?

But "nothing" is what it means for any future infertility testing, or treatment, or any of my hopes and dreams. Even once I find a job, the momentum is gone, and my husband isn't on board anymore because there's so many other things he wants to do with that income (i.e. shiny toys). Fuck this shit.

Yes, I'm pissed. I'm pissed because I gave up my dreams for a family and to be married to this man, who admittedly, is pretty darn perfect in every other way.

He's supportive and loving and attentive, but he doesn't have the ambition or attention span or whatever to actually TRY for a baby in the medical sense. So, I basically gave up my lifelong ambitions and dreams for something that may never happen.

Fuck you Universe.

How can this be happening?

I'd like to say that I know everything will work out fine in the end, but my overreaching anxiety keeps me from being that optimistic. Instead, I cry when he goes to work.

I cry and I hope that this month will be the magical band aid. "Maybe this month will be the month that defies all odds, right?" Yea, it hasn't happened yet. 55 months since we started trying. 4 years, 7 months and we still don't have a baby, and there's no indication it will happen anytime soon.

A blocked Fallopian tube, fibroid tumor, hemorrhagic cyst, and God knows what else because I can't afford further testing. Basically, I'm fucked.

My reproductive system has said "Fuck You" in a magnitude of epic proportions.

But all I want is a baby. I used to daydream about how I'd tell my family and what I'd name my child. I'd imagine life with several children and how sweetly chaotic it would be. I'd think about the best places to live in our area with access to the best schools, and how many children we'd have.

Now all I want is one.

Just one healthy baby.

Is that really so much to ask?
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This Story Is Not Mine, But My Mother's Story

When my mother was four years old, she lived in Cambodia. Her mother passed away due to the war with Khmer Rouge and the killing of poor, innocent people. My grandfather was a soldier from Vietnam who didn't speak a word of Cambodian, yet fathered 14 kids.

Most of my mother's brothers and sisters died during the war, but there were a few of them left. My mother, two uncles, two aunts, and my grandfather were all that remained in the family.

As time went by, my mother grew older and when she was 13 years old, she was sleeping in her room and her father came in. She didn't think anything about it until he started pushing her down and forcing himself on her.

She screamed but no one in her family heard her cries. The next morning, she told her brothers and sisters what had happened to her, but they didn't believe her. They asked her why would a man rape his own daughter? From that night on and for the next two years, she was raped regularly until she escaped to America to live with her brother.

Her brother was the black sheep of the family and he hated my mother.

His wife would only feed her four chicken wings and a bowl of rice a day. She had to work and give her brother the money or she would've been beaten. Her sister-in-law hated her so much that she made my mother wear men's clothes to school. After so long, she forced my mother to quit school and to get a full-time job to pay more bills in the house. 

After time went by, my mother met my father (who was my uncle's best friend) and she believed that he would save her from the life she was living. She decided to marry him. Things weren't right, but she had to get away from her brother and her evil sister-in-law.

Little did she know my father was worse then what she could have imagined.

Always yelling at her, beating her, and forcing her to have sex with him. 

He made my mother give him a bath every day right before his girlfriend would come over to have sex with him in my parents room while my mother sat outside in the living room crying her eyes out.

He told her she was lucky that she was with him, that no one wants her and she was nothing

My mother gave birth to my brother and then two years later, to me. My father loved my brother but always looked at me like I wasn't his, and always accused my mother of cheating. 

He used to call her all sort of names.

Then she had enough... she divorced him and moved out. Every time my father came over, she had a butcher knife ready for him. She was not taking it any more, and she stood her ground.

My parents went to court and the judge decided that my father should keep my brother and my mother should keep me. My father told the judge that I wasn't his and my mother had cheated. The judge believed him and he granted his wish.

I have never seen my brother, but I saw my father when I was 16 years old. The first thing he said to me was, "You are my child, you look just like me." Then told me that I "will not receive any money from him when he dies." 

These are the only words I really remember from my father.

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An End And a Beginning

I saw the lights on the ceiling. I felt the tear. The nurse held my hand with saintly love as I sobbed. A part of me died in that moment, a ripple through the eons.

I was 21 and a newly graduated nurse when I went through my abortion and had landed a prestigious hospital job. My mum was accidentally pregnant at the time at 40 with my brother who I later helped to deliver with the midwife (after I had undergone my abortion)

I freaked out. I couldn't move back home in a small town with a pregnant mother. My boyfriend said he wasn't ready for a child and we couldn't afford it (I later discovered he was wealthy and had not been honest with me). He was living far away at the time going to university.

As he slept in my room one night at the nursing quarters against the rules of no men, we were discussing what to do. I got caught with him in my room and I was kicked out by the nun. Pregnant, I went to house hunt by day after my night shift work. The nun who found us gave me one week to find a place after I begged her. I was scared. I didn't know what to do. I didn't tell a soul.

My boyfriend booked a hotel for the week as I was homeless and I went through with the abortion. I didn't want to go through with it but I was so scared, alone and overwhelmed. I always said I would have a child if I accidentally became pregnant, but I just didn't realize what it was actually like to be in that position.

The first doctor I approached rejected to care for me due to his religious beliefs so I had to hunt for a doctor who would.

I went to get counselling afterwards and was paired with another religious man who rejected me so I had to keep searching for help. I gave up.

I went back to work and it was a very hard year. I saved a few lives and I decided to work in hospice to become more familiar with death. I nurtured people through their losses.

Many hard, lonely years accompanied me with multiple instances of sexual assault and trauma I started to have difficulties coping. I always comforted myself with the idea that losing a child to help others may be excusable as a choice but when I left my career, in those last days I sat down by my friends nieces side who was losing her new baby that had just been born. It was dying in her arms and her tears dropped on that babies face. I watched that baby die as I said goodbye to my career. She didn't know of my past and now I hear she wants to be a nurse. The chain continues.

My whole family said I was always the mothering, nurturing type and I would have the most kids. I am childless and not married. Tortured by bad memories. Too lost for words.

You don't forget but you learn to live with it. Its a silent shame for me but I see now with my history of abuse I needed to feel some control over my body. I don't feel it was the answer now, and in retrospect I would like to say I had all this courage to stand up to this invisible community who bad mouthed people but I was a young vulnerable frightened girl. While I was being accused of being a baby murderer I was saving their lives in hospital.

I think now about it more in philosophical ways. The things we should terminate in our minds and and how a new beginning can start for us to live a happier life. My God believes in redemption and love.

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Narcissistic Parentification

I learned about narcissistic parentification today. I'd been aware of narcissism and parentification as separate things prior to this, thanks to my son's father, but I didn't realize these two things often went together.

Yesterday my 6-year-old son attempted to stab himself in the eye with a pencil. This occurred after being asked not to throw paper.

He decided he needed to punish himself.

Thankfully, my husband caught the pencil and it never touched our son's eye. Still, it was terrifying. This is not exactly new, although this is the most extreme self-punishment to date. Often when my son thinks he is in trouble for something, he will self-discipline by hitting himself or knocking his head against something. I've asked him why he does this, and he tells me that it's so that he remembers what not to do.

We have an extreme perfectionist on our hands. This, too, I've known for a while. He has always been the kid who won't try anything if he's unsure he has it mastered. I had to get down on my hands and knees and physically SHOW HIM how to crawl when he was a baby! He wants to do everything perfectly the first time, and he will hid the fact he knows how to do something until he feels he can demonstrate the skill perfectly.

We've told him again and again how much we love him and don't want him to hurt himself. We've told him it's okay to make mistakes, that it's expected and even necessary in order to learn and master new things. We've emphasized the fact that he isn't in TROUBLE when things like this happen - that we are just reminding him to help him learn for next time. Yet, it doesn't seem to register. He hurts himself anyway.

He is a 6-year-old self-injurer.

Lord knows he has plenty of reasons to behave this way. He is fighting cancer, has changed schools and residences in the last year, and is about to become a big brother.

And then, well, his dad is narcissistic...

Since my son's self-injury has escalated even though the rest of our life has calmed down, I looked up the effects of narcissism on children today. And that led me to narcissistic parentification.

I learned that children of narcissistic parents are more prone to pediatric anxiety and depression. They can be self-destructive, have an irrational fear of failure, and either have difficulties in school or strive to be perfect.

Everything I read reminded me of my son.

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