A Christmas to Remember

May contain content that is triggering for some, self first.

Tyra:

Looking back through the years it is difficult for my sister and I to remember a Christmas that wasn’t plagued with addiction and abuse. This is true for the Christmas that we will talk about today.

People always say that Christmas is for the children and not really for the adults in life, I think that is because the children bring the magic back into the adults life for just one time of year. Children have the excitement of santa coming to see them and all want to stay up late waiting for him to show up. children wonder if they will get what they had hoped for the most for the whole year. This was true for us also.

In the beginning of the season was wonderful. we would put up the tree and decorate it as a family and sit and enjoy the lights like any ordinary family. There were a few gifts that were under the tree from friends and family but not too much as we were children of a welfare mom. Then the santa anonymous came to our home and brought our food hamper for the holiday season. We knew at least we would eat good during this time and there were a few presents that we received also.

Have a blessed and Happy Christmas and Holiday.

The Christmas excitement was in us this year, not sure what made this year better that in the years but us kids were just in the Christmas spirit. Maybe it was because our little brother was of the age to have the excitement and carried over to us older kids. we would play with each other and behave wondering what santa would bring to us this year.

Christmas morning came early for us as our mother could not wait till we woke up, but to her surprise we were already awake waiting for the call to open presents. I do not recall all the presents that we received that year as there were so many of them, but remember the tree being full of presents, more presents than I had seen before. The one gift of mine that I do remember was the sleighs we received to play outside. Tammy remembers the nurses watch she received that year also. We were always playing outside whether it was to build snow forts or ramps for our sleighs to jump. those memories bring a smile to my face.

I wanted a strawberry shortcake doll so badly. I felt hurt and confused as why mom would give Tammy one. Tyra 2019

We would build the ramps so high that we would fly in the air and land on our tummys and take our breath away. We would get up laughing and walk up the hill again and try it all over again. Looking back I am surprised that we did not get broken arms and legs from the crazy down hill slide me made. it took the whole community of children to build and went that one was made we would make another more extravagant one for the older children to play on. Wow what a time it was, to be a child and just play without no danger in mind.

Then came the alcohol in the scenario and that is when this Christmas took a turn for the worst. Our mother just could not seem to enjoy any of the seasons or celebrations without alcohol, there needed to be alcohol for it to be a celebration. For us children we just wanted a quiet family season with no worries about fights and other distractions. to my dismay it did not happen.

It was the week after the greatest Christmas that we could remember, to turn to the worst Christmas we ever had. I think my sister and I would give all the gifts back if we could not have gone through the loss of our innocence this same Christmas.

Our mother and her boyfriend of the time, went to a party and of course they were drinking. The story went that our mother did not want to come back home so her so called boyfriend decided to leave her there and came back home alone. I do not recall much more about this night, so Tammy will share more about it, in her piece.

We had such a beautiful tree that year.

Tammy:

I do not recall any Christmases were it was memorable before or after this one. Typically mom would either skip Christmas or we would get a gift basket from charity. I really didn’t mind charity, as when you are hungry, if food is offered you take it. This Christmas was different, her man was a working man and made good money. We had a beautiful decorated tree, and nuts and candy. We even had stockings. I was so happy. I thought maybe we were going to be like regular people. I had a couple of friends and one did not come from a dysfunctional home, that friendship did not last though. The blame for that rest squarely on my mothers shoulders.

However, I have a bad habit of going on tangents. That year we had turkey with all the trimmings. It was delicious! We were sent to bed, and as expected we had a hard time getting to sleep. My sister and I stayed up late, softly talking and giggling. We were determined to stay up and see Santa. However, like most children we fell asleep. To wake up really early to sneak up stairs and see what Santa brought. If I would have known our Santa was a devil in disguise, I would have never asked for a thing. However, being a child I was so exited, all the brightly wrapped packages, and two sleds for riding down hill fast,

We made ramps so we would fly in those sleds, air born for a few seconds, then ouch! Hehe was worth it. Tammy 2019

Our mom, her man and the younger ones came down stairs, and the young ones were so excited. They were so giddy, prancing around like little elves. I was happy for them. I do remember looking at our mom, and she looked happy. Her eyes were shining, and she had a smile on her face. I think she really loved that man, but the price was so costly. I still can not put my mind into a set we’re I would ever be ok hurting a child, or letting some one else hurt them.When it came to loving me she was heartless.

We unwrapped our presents, and I was confused. Why was I getting items Tyra wanted. I was really confused and upset too because I could see Tyra really liked the stuff I was getting. She did get a watch too, but she liked mine better. Honestly, I liked hers better, but to trade would have infuriated our mom. So we made do and enjoyed the day. We went sliding on those last very red sleds all day! Pink cheeked and happy we tumbled into the house wet from the snow, but warm from the exertion.

Things soon went back to normal, our normal. Mom would stay in her room all the time and her man had free reign of the house, and us kids. He was such a vile, repulsive man. I had no good will for him, but at the same time I was scared what he could do to me, or even worse my siblings. I hated it when mom would abandon us and let him get away with his odious behaviours.

Sadly, my Christmas was ruined, in fact I did not celebrate Christmas ever again. There was just no reprieve from abuse, especially from him!! I was torn between running away and leaving my siblings behind, or staying to be destroyed bit by bit for a mans twisted desire to possess and ruin. He just would not relent, not even during a holiday meant to honour family and goodness’s. He hurt me again when mom was not there. He said she was not there, but maybe she was just on the other side of the wall passed out on drugs and booze. I Was going to my place in my mind, I could run away in my mind, and then what he did would not matter. I told myself this, even though it mattered, it mattered a lot.

This Flight Tonight”… “blackness blackness dragging me down”. Nazareth

Our mother and her man went to a party, Tyra thinks it was a New Years party. I am sure she is correct in her memory, as dates are hard for me, I tend to tell time by the seasons and the weather. I heard the door close, upstairs, and rushed up to meet our mom. However, the only one standing there was that monster, disguised as a man. I stoped dead in my track, dread filled my body and made it tingle with fear. This was going to be another night of horror and pain. My soul retreated even deeper into my secret place, my mind screamed silently, run away, run away. I was paralyzed, crippled by my mothers teaching me I had no choice, no value, no reprieve. I was not allowed to have boundaries, therefore I had none. Our mother created the perfect victim, me. Just even writing that statement down, makes me profoundly sad, the lessons she drilled into my very being were to haunt me well into adulthood. Even to this day, I fight my demons, sometimes I win sometimes I don’t, but I never surrender.

I went back down to the basement, we’re I slept with my sister in a big bed. I always felt safest when I was with her. However, in our house there was no safety in numbers, and no were to hide. Mom’s man was on a mission, hell bent to get what he wanted, and it was me he wanted. Sometimes I wonder what goes through a grown mans mind when he is sexually abusing a child. Then I think, I really do not want to know, because if I did my mind might shatter irreparably forever, because their mind must be even more frightening and dark than mine.

Calling me, demanding my presence, every time he said my name, my feet would move towards him, while the rest of my body wanted to disappear, never to be found again. I went though, for fear that my sister would be targeted if I didn’t. I remember looking at the Christmas tree, and remembering how magical it looked. Now it reminded me of a gaudy, and grotesque bar I seen on tv once. The smell of his alcohol stink didn’t help matters. He demanded I drink with him, I had drank before, sips of my moms tia Maria, or sneaking a beer or two. However, this was different, he wanted me to drink so I would be more compliant while he went about his dastardly deeds.

I remember eating chestnuts, now if I eat those, they turn to fouled goods in my mouth, as they remind me of the night Christmas became a nightmare. I would go downstairs and I hid behind the furnace, hoping that he would get tired of this cat and mouse torture. However, he wouldn’t give up, and when he targeted my sister, I knew my time had run out. I could not sacrifice my sister, for one night of reprieve. I took a deep breath, and stepped forward, and accepted another night of hell and anguish. I was ten years old, Tyra was seven, and I felt like I had already lived to many lifetimes, for the short amount of years we had been on this earth.

Stripped of boundaries, self and dignity. Robbed of choices and self determination. Feeling like I was going to shatter into a million pain filled fragments. He took my body, my childhood, my innocence. I knew to much, yet not enough. I could regal you with the horrors of suffering, pain and abuse, but for the life of me, I could not tell you how to save yourself. I could teach you how to survive, but not how to live. A flash of brilliant white pain, the penetration, the invasion, the sickening feeling of being smothered. I am hurt… I am going away now…

Tyra and Tammy wish you all a very merry Christmas!

This covers in more detail events that were shared in our memoir. If you would like to join us on our healing journey, please, feel free to star, “two sisters perspective, or the beginning of our memoir “ The Beginning” It is Christmas, and I am happy and I want you all to be happy too. I want you to create memories that will last forever, as I will be doing the same. “So have yourself a Merry little Christmas.” Enjoy, be blessed, eat lots of Turkey.

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I am in the arms of a angel

Tyra:

After leaving my siblings behind I was plagued with guilt. There were several times that I was considering going back several times. I would go to bed and cry myself to sleep because I just missed them so much. We would visit and I would not want to leave them but I knew deep down that it was the right thing to do. I needed to spread my wings and fly on my own.

Starting school in such a large school was scary for me coming from a small town. I enjoyed the small town atmosphere, where you knew everyone, and everyone knew who you were. In a large school you are left with the students that you are in class with and that is pretty much all. I did make some great friends at this school and still friends today.

I knew I had to take school seriously if I wanted to become someone, so I tried my best. I was living with the sister of Dick’s and she was a alcoholic also. She did work and after school I would be home before her and have to have my chores done. It really made me angry that I had to do chores and her daughter that was 19 years old did not have to do any. After a few arguments I just did them it was not worth all the tension. I did enjoy my stay there, even though it was brief. I lived there from September to Feburary.

During my time there I did have friends and did go out to see them. This one day I went over to my girlfriends place and she and a guy friend were drinking. I did not drink, I was scared of the consequences. When it was time to go home Dick’s sister came and picked me up. She said that I was drinking and I could not live with her anymore. I did not understand I told her I was not drinking, I even said smell my breath, it just was not good enough and I was on my way to my cousins place to live.

Thank goodness was all I was thinking that I had somewhere to go, I believe in divine intervention and this was one of those times. I moved into their small house, I had a room in the basement. I hate basements but did not complain. I had a big bed and was happy to have a place to stay. It was difficult though, as they had 2 young daughters also. I tried to fit into the family but it just did not seem to work.

It wasn’t long after I moved in with the family that mom died. All that ran through my head was I predicted it 6 months earlier, did I cause this to happen. I was in shock and could not believe that I was right in my prediction. I felt like I was cursed to have this knowledge of her death. Then again it may have been my guardian angel telling me to be prepared. I can say that now but back then it was difficult to put it is perspective. I also was thinking how could she do this to the kids, they are going to feel so lost. Where do we all belong now? At least when our mom was alive we knew where we belonged, even if it was totally dysfunctional. Now I really was on my own in this big world, wondering where it was going to take me.

Going to the funeral was a shocking moment for me. I wanted to see mom in the casket, and Tammy came with me. I wanted to see her one more time. It was painful to do but I knew I would regret it if I didn’t. I already knew that she died of a drug overdose, but I did not realize how old she would look. Looking at her in the casket was surreal for me. She did not look like the mom that I knew. Her hair was grey, and she was wrinkled like a old woman. I still to this day can see her there. She did have bruises on her neck I am not to sure where they came from, and she was in a grey outfit. What a symbolic outfit for her life, there was no black and no white, no good and no bad in her life. During her life she did not say sorry for anything that had happened to us, and it seemed that she did not have any remorse. I just could not understand why she would do that to us, and not acknowledge the effect it had on us and our little family. All that I knew for sure is that it was too late for the “I am sorry” as she was dead, and going into the ground.

Going to the burial is the worst part of the funeral I think. It really is the last place that you say your good bye and know that you will not see them again in this life time. I think I was numb, but I will never forget the pain Tammy felt that day. When the casket was going into the ground she was crying and screaming, totally lost control of her emotions. Our aunt holding her tight just let her cry and scream for what felt like a life time. After the casket was at the bottom of the grave Tammy calmed down and we all left the grave yard. I do not recall what happened after that, I must have blacked it out even to this day.

I had a boyfriend and my cousin did not approve of this young man. It was always an issue between the two of them, they just locked horns. I even had my own phone line in the basement where I would talk to my boyfriend for hours until I would almost fall asleep. This one day he came to pick me up and my cousin and her family were not home. My boyfriend and I went for a walk around the school, when we came back towards the house we saw my cousin running into the house. We knew what she was thinking, and we laughed until we got to the house. I looked at her and asked if there was a problem and she said no. I always had respect for other peoples places and their rules, but she did not trust me. I did not want to have sex in that house it just did not feel right. It felt forbidden, and it was.

At the end of the School year, my cousin stated that it just is not working out staying at her place. She found me a place to go where I paid rent for a bedroom and that was all. I went to this town house and there was a lady there with her husband and daughter. All I could think was where the hell am I, and how could she do this to me. This family had animals and were not the cleanest people out there. The husband reminded me of Harvey with his grey hair and beady eyes. Thank goodness I had my boyfriend still and he would pick me up and take me away from this place. Also I was not there very much either cause I was working to support myself. I knew down deep that if I wanted to make it I would have to get a better paying job, but none came up that I could do while I was finishing high school. I thought that I may have to stay with these people while I was going through school, and was prepared to do so as a last resort, then the bomb shell came. They were moving to a town outside Edmonton, now what do I do. I need to finish high school, so I asked a friend if I could stay with her and her family until I get enough money ahead to get a place of my own. Thank goodness relief raced through me as her parents said yes.

I had to wait till I turned 18 to apply for social services to support me to finish school. During my waiting time i spent it with my friend and her family. The tensions started to get high when I realized that my friend was going out with more than one guy. She was seeing a lot of guys and I only knew of her boyfriend from school. This did not sit well with me at all, and told her to tell her boyfriend or quit seeing the other guys. The problem was that her parents did not know about the boyfriend at school. I knew I had to do something and I was going to quit school and get a full time job. The mom of my friend took me to the job and sat me down along with the boss and said “she needs to finish school and she can not do that if she is working full time.” Basically she quit the job for me, and said that I could stay with them until social services are able to help support me. This seemed like forever, I just would stay down in the basement, you know how much I liked them, but still wanted to be by myself. I basically ended up coming home to sleep, and that was all. I would spend my evenings with my boyfriend, and my days were at school. The tensions were getting higher by the day I just was not able to take the pressure, I was about to blow if I did not get out of there.

Finally my 18th birthday came and I was looking for a place to live. By the middle of the month I had found a small bachelors suite, big enough for me. I did not know how I was going to do this but I knew I had enough money from social services to pay my rent and my job could pay the rest. I’m not saying that it was easy just that I had a plan in my head. The first weeks I slept on the floor with my boyfriend as I could not afford to buy a bed. I did not mind as it was my place and no one could take that away from me except myself. I went to school and worked my way through school. I spent 2 years in that apartment and enjoyed every minute of my life there. My boyfriend and I had a good life. He had his job with his father and I worked at my job, he would always pick me up from work and go out for coffee. I couldn’t ask for things to be better.