The passing of my sister was understandably a huge sorrow in our lives. Even though she had been sick for much of hers..she had always been a ray of sunshine that effortlessly lit up a room when she was in it. It took a great deal to get that beautiful smile to waver from her lips my Mother tells me....and she never seemed to dwell on the fact that she was the sick one...always asking the rest of us "why we were sad" etc.
I was very young when my sister passed away...and the emptiness in my life after that is a feeling that has never gone away even though many years have passed since then. And I often sit and wonder what our lives would have been like had she survived her childhood and grown into an adult with the rest of us...but I digress.
For many months after her passing my Mother could not focus on the rest of us...on life. She was so unaware of time passing that my bday in November came and went and wasnt remembered by her until Feb. Of course I was too young to realize a milestone in my life had passed but on that Feb day when my Mother suddenly realized that she had forgotten an important day in one of her childrens lives...she quickly worked in a feverish frenzy to organize a bday party for me. There is a pic of all of us gathered with a few friends and family...me in my party dress...a very festive atmosphere with balloons and presents etc...but when I look at the pic I realize there are no smiles on the faces of the party goers...and I look like the saddest little bday girl in the world. I was suffering a deep loss without my Nay...as if my other half was gone and I faced the world (and the Big Bad Boogieman) alone.
Its during these months of unfocused living that my Mothers mind was working itself into a deep depression...playing the What If game but with a deadly consequence...What If....he hadnt gone into her room that day in the hosp? That dark thought kept my Mother preoccupied for the months that followed and while it remained just a thought in her head she could almost convince herself that her imagination was getting the best of her...but one day the thought, so far unspoken out loud, was spit out with a harshness that only long held pent up breath can express.
She was with her sister that day...listening to my Aunt tell her to "just let her go"...she was in a "better place now"...and life "goes on"...the usual platitudes we try and console ourselves with when a child is lost so young. My Mother listened until she couldnt listen anymore and in life changing moment (another one...sigh) she spit out those dreaded words...what if he had something to do with her death?
From the moment my Mother released those words our lives were once again turned upside down. My Aunt immediately jumped to the very worst conclusion knowing full well what sort of man slept beside my Mother at night and kept us all hostage with his abusive ways. It took her no time at all to inform the entire family that her niece had been murdered by "that MONSTER!!!" and the police needed to be told as soon as possible.
My Mother felt as if she was on a roller coaster ride...unable to control the speed or direction her life...our lives...had suddenly taken. She felt she had made a huge mistake by uttering those words out loud...but felt powerless to pull them back in...but after all...he was an abusive man...and he had been in her room for some unknown reason...what else is one left to assume?
Before too long my Mother found herself at the police station surrounded by various family members telling the cops about her suspicions and why she felt the way she did. I might mention that my Mother actually did very little talking during this initial visit...my extended family were more than happy to "fill in all the details" of our lives. Years later I find it somewhat hypocritical of them to jump to the role of 'saviors" and "justice seekers" for my sister...when prior to her death they all were fully aware of just what our family was suffering through at the hands of that man...and not one of them ever opened their mouths against him or tried to help us in any way.
I will fill in a bit of back detail here and tell you that the police station was well aware of the abusive and volatile ways of my Father. He had had run ins with them several times all ready. In one incident while my Mother was working at the bar....my Father got extremely jealous when a half drunk man made a pass at my Mom...during the ruckus that followed the cops were called in. Now my Father was not a drinker (thank God or Im positive that alcohol and his abusive personality would have resulted in one or more of us being dead at some point through the years...ironic considering this very story) and he didnt do drugs etc...but he also didnt take kindly to anyone...including cops...telling him what to do. Before the night was over....6 cops were needed to take him down and get him in cuffs....yes...they knew what they were dealing with when it came to my Father.
Apparently sufficient suspicions were aroused to warrant the arrest of my Father. I dont know how all that works but it was agreed he needed to be brought to the police station but wasnt likely to come on his own...so cops were sent to our house to facilitate as peaceful an arrest as possible. It was agreed beforehand with my Mother that they would come in the night when he was asleep...the element of surprise giving them the upper hand and all.
The courage it took my Mother to go home and act "normal" for the next few hours knowing full well what was going to happen...and knowing what could happen to her or us if he had even a glimmer of a clue about it must have made her sick with apprehension. She did her best to keep the rest of us quiet and sent us off to bed sooner then usual. It was agreed upon before hand that she would leave the door unlocked so the police could enter quietly.
The one fear she had more than anything else was the fact that my Father kept guns...and took delight in taking them out now and then and pointing them at her (and later us) and informing her on how easy it would be to pull the trigger and blow her brains out. She informed the cops of the guns and begged them to remember her children...promises of avoiding a "shoot out" were extracted...but really...it wasnt something they could promise when dealing with a man such as my Father.
2 o'clock in the morning while my Mother laid in bed with her heart hammering in her throat...barely able to stop herself from fleeing the room into ours as he slept beside her...the cops entered our home. They quietly stole through the house already knowing the layout and where they needed to go. Before long there were 8 police offices surrounding my Mother and Fathers bed...not a sound was made as my Mother was led away (I will add here that my Father was one of the lightest sleepers I have ever known...and believe me we all knew that...so why he didnt awaken that night is beyond me...they must have been seriously quiet).
My Father was awakened on that early March day with cops surrounding his bed and pistols aimed at his heart...for once he didnt put up a fight (now theres a What If game..what if he had....hmmm?)
*to be continued