Thursday, April 18, 2013

But God

20 years ago today, my sisters Rasheeda and Rashawn were born. I don't remember much from that day. 7 months later Rashawn passed away. They had both spent most of their lives in the hospital, in the NICU, Incubators, we had to scrub our hands and put on masks before we were able to see them. When they finally came home, Rasheeda first then Rashawn we had to keep a pristine house, boxes of antibacterial scrub brushes were everywhere, selective friends and family were allowed in the house. I would watch them in their crib, astonished that 2 babies so different in size could actually look so much alike. Rashawn was much smaller, but she seemed stronger. She wasn't as lazy as Sheeda. She held her own bottle which was half her size, she was holding her head up first. Sometimes, Rasheeda would lean over too far and fall on Rashawn, and start crying, I noticed that it wasn't the fall that would make Sheeda cry but the fact that Rashawn would Pinch her whenever she would fall on her. I KNEW me and Rashawn would be very close, she was determined even at 4 months. Her stature would not be an obstacle but a blessing.

I don't remember much from the day they were born, but I have very clear memories of visiting them, of going to the hospital, the nurses, the food in the cafeteria, Luckily I don't remember their doctor but I know I met him. I also remember the day she died. It was my mother's birthday, Rashawn had a procedure so I had to spend the night at my friends house, it was a week day. I decided to get my mom a very nice fake rose for her birthday. I could only afford something from the dollar store, so I made up some story about it being a forever rose so she wouldn't realize it was from the dollar store. I remember, instead of spending the night i was picked up and taken home. No real explanation. I remember sitting on the couch as my mother walked in holding Rashawns blanket, she was crying from the worst pain I have ever seen. I was scared. My family was all around, helping her get to bed, making her a plate of food, a drink, a joint, anything to help numb the pain and all I did was stand there holding my brother's hand. I don't know when I started to cry. I know i was in my room alot after that. Cousins evading my space and helping my cope. I remember feeling guilty because I ate all my food and wanted seconds. Some said "Well, you must be ok you didn't lose your appetite" they didn't say it as a put down, they were genuinely happy that i was ok. But the guilt was still there. Later on the funeral was being planned and I was still just in my room and a few people came up to talk to me, hug me give me a kiss. They would also remind me to be strong form my mom and brother. They needed my help and since I was old enough (11) the best thing I could do was keep it together for my family.  I tried my best. After the funeral my mom would go to the grave site everyday and stay for hours. She would sit and talk to Rashawn, watch the kids play across the street and laugh and cry. I think that was her therapy. Sometimes I would go with her, just for support. Eventually she got better, she didn't have to visit everyday, she moved on still missing her child but able to function more and more in society.

As fate would have it the other day I ended up in front of the hospital where my sister died. I have actually avoided this hospital for 20 years. If I'm in DC and I get a familiar feeling, I instinctively turn the opposite direction. However, a few Sunday's ago God would place me in front of this hospital, unprepared for what happened next. My family was with me but they were both sleep in the car. I drove up to the hospital and got out, prepping myself to do something outrageous, to break a window, or punch a wall, or nurse, to scream I HATE YOU at the building, but sane people don't that type of stuff so I got out the car, looked at the building and drove home, crying to myself. The next morning, it all became clear to me, I had never allowed myself to go crazy. My sister dying had such an impact on my life but I never noticed. Sometimes it's the silent things that have make the biggest disturbance in our lives. Over the years, I have unsuccessfully most times, attempted to keep it together. I'm strong, I look at things practically, and objectively. I let myself cry as needed but not at all excessively. I have an unhealthy connection to the best friends i had when i was 11. I haven't talked to these ladies in years, and I still call them my best friends. I know at least one got married and I was not on the invite list, and I was genuinely hurt. Again, I haven't spoken to them for years. BUT somewhere in my heart i still held on to her as if she was my forever friend. I realized that I don't go to the doctors enough, nor do I take my daughter enough. I also realized I purposely look a mess when i first meet people, in hopes to keep the shallow people away. Right after my sister died, people in school that didn't like me, were giving me hugs, and cards and saying sorry. I was so annoyed by their pity that i began to lash out. I didn't want to me treated differently I wanted to be treated the same. I wanted to blend in, so for about 15 years, all I wore was variations of black. I didn't notice it at first but my whole wardrobe was black with a pop of color. I even stop asking my family to do my hair, i didn't care to be noticed or pretty or anything. I just wanted to keep my friends and help my mom. I also realized, my depression which i began treatment for last year, after a bad adoption situation (save that for another blog) was really all about my sister. The feeling of another baby that wasn't mine being taken from me didn't start the depression as i thought it simply reactivated a sadness that had been in me for 20 years. I was reliving the inability to do anything, the staying strong for the friends and family that got attached so they could heal. I was the same 11 year old little girl that was trying to keep it together and stay sane so everyone else would be ok. the difference was, they didn't need me to be ok. Like the people I was mad at in Middle School they were just waiting for me to do the natural thing. To be sad, and mad, and grieve, instead I said "it's ok, guys God is in control." BUT GOD!

God, allowed me to go to that hospital, because he has a plan for me. He allowed me to go to the beginning of my pain to show me it's time to call a hurt a hurt. He allowed me to go there so I can allow my friends to help me. SO I can say out loud I didn't want to get out of bed today, but my best friend sent me a text that said I love you, so I did. He allowed me to see what I've been missing so I can no longer be numb. So I can feel the good and the bad. So I can say Ouch and Hallelujah. He required me to face my fear, so I can say shut up I'm not scared anymore. Being hurt is not the end result, it's simply a by product the ending is healing. Always. I know it doesn't make much sense, but after that trip I realized, my Sister's death had a purpose. To heal us. My mom at the time was in a very abusive relationship. My sisters death I think gave my the courage and strength to say no more. If she hadn't died, I may not have made it. I might have had to die for her. I don't understand God's plans but I starting to trust that He really knows what He's doing. So Today I say I love you & Happy birthday Rasheeda & I Miss you & Thank you Rashawn.

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