Thursday, November 05, 2015

From the Beginning

So, I recently have realized something.  A week ago, maybe even less than that, if given this title, I would have started my post with, "When I was 12 years old, my brother died..." but slowly I am realizing, this is not the beginning at all.  More than a decade of life occurred before this moment, but I have somehow made my brother's death the beginning of my story.  My therapist explained it like this to me, "When you lost your brother, you essentially killed off yourself at that moment, and replaced your whole identity in his untimely and undeserved death."  So where do I go from there?  What is the focus for my treatment?  We both agree that I can't try and regain the childhood I lost, and threw into a great abyss.  Because even if I didn't grieve the way I did, if I didn't die inside and abandon every part of me that once knew my brother, 20 years have passed, and a healthy adult would have changed so much from that 12 year old girl.  That should not be my goal.

But maybe I can share a little of my beginnings and regain the memory of who she was, both for those reading and for myself.

I was born into a family of six, my mom and dad, my sister, the oldest, and my two brothers.  My first four years were spent in Ozark, Arkansas, in a small white house with a pump faucet in the front used for many muddy adventures, and an auto shop down the alley behind it with a glitchy pop machine that would spit out six orange soda drinks at once if you hit the button just right.  I found myself playing alone quite a bit since my sister was six years older than me, and the boys were old enough to run around the neighborhood on their own.  But I am pretty sure I had a good imagination that kept me occupied.  I was a sensitive girl, easily brought to tears, and lived to please everyone around me.

At the age of four, we moved to Pensacola, Florida, for my dad to continue school at the Bible College there.  We lived in a small brick rent house for about a year, then had an opportunity to move 30 minutes outside of Pensacola to a small Christian campground to live as caretakers onsite.  It was a young kid's dream place to grow up.  We had paths through thick woods, a swinging rope bridge over a creek/swimming hole, a large canyon with every color sand you can imagine, and so much to explore.  We lived very meagerly, rent-free, growing our own vegetables, and rotating two sets of uniforms for the private Christian school we were able to attend tuition-free as part of our role as camp caretakers.  My dad continued school while working two and three jobs at a time.  I grew closer to my brothers during this time of my life, but still spent a lot of time in my own world.

When I was six years old, my family made our final move to Oklahoma to live closer to my mom's side of the family.  We found an amazing two-story rent house that used to be a parsonage for the next-door Presbyterian church.  My mom put us into public school my second grade year, and we established ourselves in the small community of Chandler and the Baptist church.  The people from this town are cherished to me because they are the part of my life that best knows who my brother, Josh, was.  They grew up with him and our whole family, and were impacted the most when he died at the age of 16 in 1995.

So there is a little "from the beginning"...  there isn't a whole lot more to add.  I have the facts, some anecdotal things told over the years to me.  And I don't know that I will ever regain all those years.  If there is anything certain about my dissociate disorder, my life prior to age 12 is a time I have almost completely dissociated from.  Maybe it was out of necessity, maybe it was a mistake, maybe it was involuntary.  But now, I just need to regain who I am today.  And that is what I am working on every day.

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