My story ~ my wonderful Dad married my birth Mom after she was divorced and had 3 children, my half brother and 2 sisters. We all lived together and from what I understand we were all very happy. I was 22 months old when my Mom was killed in a car crash so I have no memories of her. My Dad was left alone with 4 children and not able to care for all of us and work too. My brother and sisters moved to North Dakota to live with their own father and my Dad and I went to live with my grandparents. When I as 4 and ½ years old my Dad remarried my step-mother. She also had been married before and had lost her son - 12 years old to a drowning - so she was to gain a daughter and I was to gain a Mom.
My step-mother always took good care of me and was a good wife to my Dad but it did not take long before she realized I was a whole different child and I could not replace her son. She became verbally abusive as well as sometimes physically. I did not realize at the time it was abuse. She cut my self esteem to the point that I believed she must be right when she told me I was fat as well as ran me down in front of people. She told me I was stupid and never worked up to my ability and I tried to please this person I knew as Mom all of her life until the day she died. I was always looking for her love and wanting to meet her expectations of me. Well I think right before she died I realized she did love me in her way.
I married for the first time when I was 17 only a few weeks out of high school and had 3 children with my ex. We ended up divorcing after 7 years and that is another whole story.
My current hubby and I had a child of our own so we had 4 children. We will be celebrating our 40th anniversary in June.
My first experience with death was my Dad who was dx with Pancreatic cancer and he died with in 3 weeks of his dx.. That was in 1985 and I miss him so much. I promised to take care of my step-mom and I did. She lived 2 hours from us but every other weekend I went to see her. I had been a nurse since 1979 and I had to work every other week-end but I kept my promise to my Dad.
The next death is the one that put me over the edge. One Sunday afternoon the doorbell rang and there was a police car in our drive way. As well as the police officer there was a priest in his own car. The police officer asked if they could come in and I said to him “ It is Todd, isn’t it?” He again requested if they could come in the house. and he told me that Todd and his best friend had been killed in a car accident on the freeway only 22 miles from home. A part of me broke that day as I did not know how I could go on. . I cry as I write this……….. He died on August 12, 1990. He was 21 years old.
I made it through and spent the rest of my career doing it for Todd, to make his death matter by caring for all patients that died in my ER and spending much time with the parents as they went through what I had been through. I did not realize that I was suppressing so much of my feelings.
Now up to my siblings. In 2007 I received a frantic phone call from my sister Bev telling me our oldest sister, Dorothy had a massive heart attack and was going to have open heart surgery. I jumped on a plane and went to North Dakota . 3 weeks later Dorothy died. She died on Thanksgiving Day. My sister, Bev and I, became even closer after Dorothy’s death.
In the summer of 2008 I noticed Bev did not look good and she was having some symptoms but she still went to work everyday. I talked to her everyday. On August 13, 2008 I received a call from her daughter, Bev was in the ER in North Dakota and she was full of ovarian cancer. She was flown to the University of MN hospitals that very same day and thus began her battle with cancer. I spent most of my time for 10 months with her but I knew as a nurse that it was not a battle she could win. She tried so hard and often comforted me by telling me I would be OK. At least she was near me and I could be with her.
On April 6, 2008 I received a phone call that my brother Don was found dead in his home of probable liver cancer .
On April 30, 2008 Beverly died. So in a 17 months time frame I had lost all three of my . Siblings. . Of course I had my awesome hubby and my own children and grandchildren but I was devastated.
My Anxiety/Depression started when my oldest son left home at 18 (1982) to join the service. That seemed to be the trigger and my first meltdown. I have kept working on me.
I have to admit that I am tired and feel beaten down so often that it gets harder every time to get up and keep going. I will always keep trying.
Thanks for reading and know how much I appreciate each of you.