Sunday, May 10, 2009

From Imaginary To Real Life Heroes (Part Two)

I'm not exactly sure how long we were with the first family but it must have been almost 2 years because I was not yet in school. To be honest, I can't really remember a whole lot from that period other than they had two daughters of their own. It could be because I was just too young. All I can remember are black and white snippets, kind of like old Polaroids. When you are young, you adapt. You get used to the way things are and you don't have the capacity to ask questions. It is a little like Darwin's theory of 'Survival of the Fittest'. What don't kill you only makes you stronger. Go tell that to a 3 year old.

Then something happened that forced the agency to remove us from that family and place us in another home. Whether intentional, accidental or what, they found my brother in the bathtub sitting there screaming from the heat of the water. It scalded him from the waist down and he wound up in the hospital. I was not quite 5 years old at the time. My sister, 5 years older, was in school at the time. So when it came time to move us, my brother was in the hospital, my sister went to one family to finish the school year out and I was sent off to the new home alone.

Needless to say, I became an emotional basket case. I didn't speak another word for months. They didn't know what to do and figured that when my sister and brother showed up that I would eventually come around. They were right of course, but the damage was done. My brother was scarred on the outside and I was scarred on the inside. And here we were again, living with a bunch of people we didn't know. This family had one son and three nieces living with them plus the three of us. Eventually, they added another one more boy from the agency.

Time moved on and I finally began school. Kindergarten to be exact. Like any kid I guess, I just trudged forward. We moved not long after that but just up the street to a cottage style house with a fair sized backyard and about a million windows which I got to know personally. At this point, I could not remember the last time I had seen my mother. It just seemed like an eternity. Then by the second Christmas we were told that we would be allowed to visit with my mother for 24 hours.

I can't begin to tell you how that made me feel. My mother, knowing this was going to be a short visit, did all that she could to pack as much fun into one day as she could. She regretted one present that she gave to my brother and me. It was a little battery operated chicken truck that would make the annoying sound of a bunch of chickens clucking.....non stop. Eventually she just removed the batteries and tried to regain some of her sanity. There were presents, which I no longer remember. And a little family tradition that she started for this special little treat. She roasted each of us a Cornish Hen with all the usual Christmas fixings.

None of this mattered of course as the final hour approached. She packed everything up for us making promises that she knew she couldn't keep. Then we all piled into taxi cab for the ride back. It was Christmas Day. The car was unloaded as we prepared to say our good-byes. By brother was busy playing with whatever. My sister, being older took it all in stride. Me, I came unglued. Do you ever remember crying when it seems like all of the air in your lungs just escapes you. Well, that was me. I couldn't understand. Why did we have to be back here? Why couldn't we stay with you? The questions poured out between heavy sobs. But to no avail. My mother got back into the taxi and the car pulled away from the curb.

(to be continued)


Winifred said...

I can't begin to imagine what this must have been like. These times are so precious for children and parents they stay with you forever.

It must be hard to relive these memories but pretty cathartic I imagine.

When my Mam died it was only the happy memories that got me through it. Still hard after nearly forty years. How much more difficult for you to lose your Mam at such an age when you couldn't understand what was happening. As you say it scars you. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your story.

Michelle said...

Oh Bogey, my hearts for that little you.


Lover of Life said...

I can't imagine what that must have been like. My mother died when I was six, and I am still not over it. Hope it helping to talk about it. We appreciate your sharing.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness - this is so sad! I often wonder, not that it matters at this point, how the social service agency workers and the foster families felt when they witnessed the intensity of sorrow that children like you experienced. It is one of the great dilemnas of our culture - how to protect children without causing further damage.
I am so sorry that you, your brother and your sister had to endure such heartbreaking sadness. And I am glad that you have found the blogosphere to share your story.

Lori ann said...

I am hoping too you will find some healing in the telling. I am no help at all because my heart breaks. For you and every child that is without its Mother. My husband is so worried about us going to this orphange(now a week away)he knows how difficult this will be for me. I don't matter. It's the little ones. Think about them. Oh dear. Sorry.
going to read part three now, my friend.
♥ lori

Natalie said...

Oh, my heart hurts, and my ears are ringing with the sound of your little Bogey voice. Isn't it just a little gift, that we all are here to share your pain, and to love you up.I am glad we met.xx♥

Bogey said...

Hi Winnifred,

Believe it or not, though shared times with my Mother were rare, I do try and remember some of the good memories she created. She had a laugh that could crack glass.

Hi Michelle,

It took a long time for me to ache for the little me too! Thanks for your caring and for sticking with your kids thru all of your own journey.

Hello LOL,

I am so sorry for the early loss of your Mother. I can imagine the empty feelings you must have felt during important periods of your life. It explains the love you have for your own daughter so much.

Hello again Audrey,

At that time, those kinds of agencies were so understaffed it wasn't funny. I remember one of our workers distinctly. Her name was Mrs. O'Brien. I can still remember the pain in her own face when she came to visit. She knew what was going on was BS which probably explains why she didn't last very long.

Hi Lori,

What you are doing is a great thing. Not everybody has the opportunity to do what you are going to do. Right now, the more I am trying to respond to all of your comments, I'm feeling more guilt than relief. It just seems I cast my pain into all of your hearts and that was not my intention.

Hi Natalie,

It has indeed been a gift. But in ways you cannot imagine. After reading these words, it makes me believe that you will all love your children even more than you thought possible. Mom's are the soul of the Universe.