Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A short inspirational story today!

The First Half of My Life


Life is like a picture. I see mine through snap shots laid out in bits and pieces.
Snap Shot One: How is it at twenty-five I see myself back in time in my white dress and veil? No, not Halloween, but my communion! A bride of Christ.We feel all holy and clean and gladly accept the host in our bodies to be purified.
Snap Shot Two: The May procession. I was chosen to lead it as it was my birthday. The Blessed Virgin’s day.
Snap Shot Three: In my white gown with the red collar and red beanie (skull)hat.   My confirmation! Hands held in prayer once again. We are now soldiers in Christ, I’m told.
            The theme here is the Catholic upbringing, attending Catholic schools leading a Catholic life. It is a clean (white) life in Christ, in Christianity. No more white for years to come.
Adolescence comes around; then young adulthood exploring the world in a time that conflicts with everything that you were taught.
It is a sin to feel your body awaken.
It is a sin to want to explore that awakens.
It is a sin to drink, to smoke, to curse.
But the teachings are ingrained when I hit young adulthood in the turbulent late sixties and early seventies. Everyone was preaching free love and drugs.
I was considered straight lace and naïve. A mother hen to my sisters; always letting them know if they were doing something wrong.
I had a straight vision. Right or Wrong. Black or White. No grey for me. There was nothing in between for me. My friends made fun of me because at twenty I was still a virgin. Dates ended quickly when they found out or some thought they could change my mind. They couldn’t, it was my deep seeded belief.
Then…my older sister died. She was just thirty-two. She became a statistic in a state that had a lot of statistics.
Shot with one bullet through the head.
She walked in on her home being robbed. Lives changed forever that day. My parents, my sisters, my brothers and last mine. How do you deal?  Death is for the old, right? It is not for the young. There must be some mistake. People said life goes on. How could they say that?  It was not their sister or their child. Unless you’ve been there you couldn’t possibly know the pain or the loss you feel deep inside your heart.
I continued for a short while to live my good catholic life. Asking God how could You? Thinking He failed us. His promise was if we lived in His light we would share in its brightness and have a good life here and then in the afterlife.
A young person is dead!  I see no light.
I started to become part of the times I lived in. I drank for the first time. I smoked for the first time and yes I experienced sex for the first time. I said sex not love. As I would later learn sex with out love is like peanut butter without the jelly, it just isn’t right.
For a year I was practically unconscious each and every night. I had changed. My parents couldn’t help us deal; because they were not dealing. You are not taught how to handle your child’s death. Bear your children and let them grow and live, to bear their own children. Wasn’t that God’s promise? We all pulled away.
   In this time of self-destruction, my friends rallied and watched over me. Nothing they said pulled me back, but they made sure I got home safe every night.
  After a year, my father sat me down. I was just turning twenty-one. He asked me if I intended to make it to twenty-two. Naturally, my answer was yes.
 He said “Good because I couldn’t attend the funeral of another one of my daughters and live through it.”
It was a powerful statement that hit me dead center in my heart.
 My father and I finally talked about my sister’s death, about the abuse and harm I was doing to my body. He asked where I wanted to be in a year, in five years and even through the rest of my, he hoped, long life.
That night I realized I was not only hurting myself, hoping the pain made me feel alive. I was hurting my parents. That was unacceptable. They had enough hurt to last a lifetime.
Snap Shot Four: I’m twenty-five and I am wearing a white gown and veil again. I married the love of my life and now we are going on thirty-three years together.
  I still think of my sister everyday and pray for her soul and keep her alive within my heart. I also pray for both of my parents who are now deceased. I thank them for the foundation and love they gave me early in life so that I could survive whatever I encountered.
That foundation has lasted with me some thirty-eight years, after that horrible life changing event. I made peace with God and realized it was not his fault, life just happens. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s bad. I’m now in the second half of my life and I’m enjoying all the trials and tribulations that come my way knowing that I have the strength within me to deal with them.
Posted in memory of my sister, Florence.


  1. Marian, that is a very poignant story and I ached with you. There are no words except thank you for sharing.

    1. Vicki, thanks for your kind words. This is a tough week for me.

  2. Gritty post. Loved your paragraphs entering with the snapshots.

    1. Thanks, Suzanne and thanks for stopping by.

  3. Marian, that story is truly inspiring and shows not only how someone can get into negative coping mechanisms, but they also pull themselves out before it's too late. You ended up somewhere between the virginal Catholic girl and an alcoholic - probably right where you should be. For 30 years I've been dealing with the kinds of tragedies we see commonly in the firefighting and EMS world. I've spent much of my career helping to pull others through. On June 11th I was in attendance when a long time firefighter friend died. The next day 16 of them lost their jobs and I lost a major chunk of income. I'm in the middle of selling my house. As the Chinese say, though, "opportunity comes from chaos". I'm getting rid of a financial albatross and may have the opportunity to be a full time writer. Maybe that's where I need to be. That's my story, thanks for sharing yours. Sam

    1. Sam, it was a tough year back then but upbringing has a lot to do with dealing. I hope things improve for you. I was once told He never gives you more than you can handle though when bad things happen it's hard to believe that.

  4. My heart goes out to you. When we buried my nephew, a former Marine who wasted away with cancer before he was thirty, leaving a new wife and a child, these words gave me comfort. Instead of grieving for things we'll never get to experience when we must say goodbye to someone we love, we must learn to cherish those times we had and hold close the memories we'll never lose.

    1. Susan, that saying is so true. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Marian, your writing is a beautiful tribute to your sister. I cannot imagine the hell her early, dreadful death wrought for you and your family. It hurt reading the tale, but it is encouraging to read your dedication to your life and a return to loving yourself and finally finding the love of your life. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Gail, for your words of encouragement and for stopping by.