When I was 5 1/2 years old, I became a big sister. I was so happy to have a little brother to love. His name was David. He had the cutest big brown eyes and chubby little cheeks. I thought he was the cutest baby that had ever been born. I did all the talking for him. My mom was concerned that he didn’t talk like others his age, so she took him to the doctor. He said, “Why should he? He has a big sister that talks for him.” (I think the doctor might have been implying I talk too much!)
As we got older, we had the usual fights. He would throw his trucks at me and I would retaliate by messing up his stuff. We were complete opposites. He was neat as a pin. I was a slob. He loved to play in silence and his trucks or army men were always organized. My room looked like a bomb went off in it! I liked playing with other kids and David liked to play alone. You get the idea.
When David went to college, he began to change. My parents took him to see doctors at many different clinics and he was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. OCD completely took over his life. He had to quit school and come home. He tried to work at several different jobs but the rituals of the disease got in the way. This disease was very hard to understand. It affected the whole family in different ways. My mom, dad and my other brother Robby dealt with it the best we could. It was a roller coaster of many ups and downs for a long time. There wasn’t a medication that seemed to help him. He was a tortured soul. He attempted suicide many times during a 14- year period and finally in July of 1997 he succeeded in taking his life. There is so much more I could tell, but the point is, when someone is sick in the family, it affects everyone no matter how hard you try to hide it.
At this point in my life, I had 3 children. I was a busy mom and wife. I was trying to keep my life together. I helped with my brother as much as I could and I was working for a very controlling father. I felt like I was drowning! David’s death ignited many emotions in me that I had tried to hide for years. Because I was the actress in the family, I had gotten used to hiding my feelings. David didn’t try to hide the pain and agony on his face like I did. I could see in his eyes how miserable he was. It took 2 years after he died for the panic attacks to start, but I know his death is one of the things that made me start having to deal with my life.
In the midst of my counseling, my counselor told me I needed to journal about David. She suggested I write him a letter. Here is some of what I wrote to him.
“David, I was so happy when you were born. I tried so hard to protect you and I feel like I failed you. I know your life wasn’t very happy. I know you didn’t feel accepted by Dad. You didn’t feel like he loved you. You got sick because of all the abuse and all the lies. I am ready to expose the lies and the secrets. I knew when you killed yourself that you were making a statement. I wasn’t ready to tell others how bad it was, but I am trying to do it now. I have a counselor who is helping me expose the truth. I didn’t want anyone to know how bad our lives were, but I am ready now. I want to honor your memory and deal with the issues.
David, you lost your life, but I feel like I did too. No one knows I feel this way. I really didn’t have a childhood. It felt like we were in a war zone every day! I was in a protect mode all the time and then I thought I needed to protect you too. I became an actress. I thought that was the best way to protect myself but I was lying to myself and others and you. I didn’t want you to tell how bad things were. You showed others you were sick, but I was sick too. I just didn’t want to admit it! I am so sorry! I wish I would have had the guts to tell everyone how mean and cruel Dad was with us. I pretended he was this great father and he wasn’t. He was nice to everyone else but us! I never understood that! We were his kids and we wanted him to love us so much and we did everything we could to get him to love us and it never was good enough! I will never understand a father who mistreats his children.
The little girl inside me is screaming at me to quit lying to others and myself. She is sick and tired of me acting like everything is okay. She wants me to deal with the issues that have been buried so we can move on. So David, it is time to honor your memory and deal with the issues I have and bring them into the light and ask God to show me how to heal and move forward. I know that is what you would want for me. You are free now and now I need to be free! I love you so much and I can’t wait to see you again someday when we will be reunited in heaven with our wonderful heavenly father. I know you are at peace and that is what comforts me more than anything. I can’t wait to see you again!”
Your sister, Laurie
I am balling my eyes out as I rewrite this letter. But, I want you to see that God took this tragedy and used it as one of the things to get me to wake up and change! He can use horrible situations to mold us and heal us! Without God, I would not be alive today!! He has swooped in and saved me. I want you to know that if you allow God to take all the crap in your life and give it to Him and be honest with him, He will use it and good will come from it. It took me a long time to do this, but I am so glad I did. I encourage you to do this in 2016. I am committed to helping you and praying for you! My life hasn’t been easy at all, but without God, it would have been a lot worse! I am going to leave you with some verses that have helped me.
Ps. 4:1 “Answer me when I call to You, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.”
Ps. 3:8 “From the Lord comes deliverance.”
Ps. 33:4 “Your word is right and true; You are faithful in all You do.”
Matt. 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your should. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.”
Looking forward for what He has in store for us this year fellow sojourners! Until next time!