(Alternately titled “The Fourth, Part Two). Here is part one of this story.
After a year, Cameron is taken away. All of the new clothes my parents have bought him are packed away in the small suitcase he came with and he walks solemnly behind some woman out the front door of our house. His smile is gone, but it hasn’t been around as much lately, anyway. His head is down, looking at the orange shag carpet in the living room and he doesn’t turn around to say good-bye. I can’t say anything. I can’t breathe. I follow them onto the grey cement steps of our porch and hold on to the black iron rail so I won’t sit down hard.
I watch the door of the white van shut and the lady get in the front seat. The van sat in our driveway, engine chugging the entire time. Someone knew he would be packed already. Someone knew he would be ready to go when they got here. I can see Cameron’s one cloudy eye watching me. I can feel the thick ball in my throat as the van backs up into the street. I watch the smoke from the back of the van curl up past his window and make it hard to see him anymore. I can’t look. I have to close my eyes. I can’t go inside. I’m just standing here in the springtime sunshine feeling cold and little.
Finally someone tells me to come inside.
“Can I write him letters?” I ask my mother and my voice sounds high and whiny. She shakes her head and her eyes are full of tears.
I don’t understand. My big brother shrugs his shoulders to say he doesn’t know anything, either. My sister is too little to know anything. All I know is that Dad didn’t like Cameron very much and now he’s gone. Dad doesn’t like my little sister very much, either. And he is trying all the time to make my brother tougher. He was really pissed that Cameron could play soccer better than my brother could. Dad’s the coach and his own son ought to be the star player.
It takes a while but the cold ball in my throat finally settles in my stomach. I’d better be really good from now on.
This was the “scene” from my perspective as an eight-year old girl who knew that something was wrong. I knew that my parents were fighting a lot and things were not easy at home. Mom was unhappy and the kids were all walking on eggshells. This incident proved to me that it wouldn’t take much for our family to simply disintegrate. Indeed, it was shortly after this that my father moved out and they announced they were getting a divorce, although I don’t recall any of the specifics. Within six months, my father had accepted a job transfer in another state and I was even more certain that, one by one, we would all be picked off, our ties as family members dissolving as easily as the translucent rice paper wrapper on that Chinese candy we got at the store sometimes. From that moment on, I made it my mission to keep my brother and sister as close to me as possible and never do anything wrong. I didn’t want to be next.
Oh, wow. To a child that feels like death.
Kari, despite knowing the story, it still makes it so painful to read… and never will I be able to know how traumatizing it must have felt to you. We both know the impact of traumatizing childhood events, we also both know that what happenend to you is just not fair, to neither Cameron, nor you.
All I would like to do today is share with you one comment from Karen's blog … It helped me a lot to read it, I hope it will bring some peace to you too.
May I dwell in the heart.
May I be healed
May I be filled with love.
May I be free from suffering.
May I be happy.
May I be at peace.
(Metta Prayer, Buddhist Practice)
Powerful. Painful. I just read both parts and am so filled with emotion. I cannot imagine how hard that must have been for either of you 🙁
That poor little girl! So much loss. So much fear. And yet you didn't let any of it harden your heart.
Dear Kario, That whole scenario of taking care of our siblings and being afraid that we will be the next to go or the next abandoned is so destructive to the human spirit and to the spark of belief in goodness and love that grows within all of us.
I feel such sorrow for that little girl who was you and yet I see in your postings all this past summer a wise, generous, compassionate, thoughtful, reflective, and concerned human being who bows before the holiness of others. You are a beautiful human being.
I do wonder if you ever again heard from Cameron. My heart aches for him too.
Absolutely heartbreaking Kari. I'm left speechless.
I want to wail in fear and grief for that little girl. I feel it physically — tears in my throat and a big chunk of heaviness in my chest. I so wish I had known all this back then. I wonder if I would have been wise enough to offer you comfort and to tell you that I will never, ever leave you.
I just found your blog through Dee's. I went back & read Part I. Your posts & writing styles are so similar–losing people you loved & opening your heart & soul to us. Dee talks of her healing & acceptance of herself. I sincerely hope that you, too, have healed. I am now a follower–how could I not be? I send you my love….
Holy Cow, Kario! I don't know why, but I didn't expect the brutal ending. I am continually amazed that those of us who are the "walking wounded" manage to rise above the pain and disillusionment of our tattered childhoods. I often wondered, which is worse, death or divorce. I think that they are both pretty devastating. I lost my little half brother through divorce . . . another story for another time.
Thank you for your comments. I have read "Motherless Daughters", many years ago, and I wept. I have not read "Motherless Mothers" and will look for it.
warm hugs to you, Kario.
Dear Kario. It's Dee again, thanking you for your perceptive words on my most recent posting.
You commented that you are fascinated "when we are unflinchingly (and nonjudgmentally) honest about looking at our lives and relationships."
I see those traits in you also. Unflinchingly looking at your past and being nonjudgmental. When healing, I've found, we walk a maze that takes us back and forward to where we've been before and where we long to go.Both of us now walk that maze.
I'm sorry about Cameron. How tragic that you have lost him and that your family cannot help you discover where this gentle person is now.
Here I am again and again I'm thanking you for commenting on my most recent posting. I did find great peace in living with Meniere's and learned that I have only limited control over my life.
On Thursday I'll post more about living with the disease, then on Saturday I hope to assure everyone that those bad days are over and that my life today is much, much easier.
Sometimes I still can't believe how clueless parents can be…thinking their actions won't have devastating effects on their children.
I'm so sorry for the little girl you were and that things weren't better explained to you at the time to make you feel more safe.
Oh, Kario. I read first the joyful advent of Cameron in your lives. So taken by the outpouring of love toward him, I didn't notice that you said nothing of your father.
I did wonder a bit at those ramrod straight bodies around the table, napkins neatly in laps, speaking only if spoken to, but my childhood dinner tables were similar, if not quite the same, and I ignored the lurking shadows in your story.
I wonder what happened to that heartbroken little boy. I pray somehow he was loved enough to survive and thrive.
May your blessings far exceed the misery.