December 11, 2013

Carol's Birthday

December 11 is my older sister's birthday. Unfortunately we lost her at a young age.

By the time I reached my teens, she was already ill so most of my memories of her go back to a time long ago. She was only a year older than I was. One of my earliest memories is riding together in the back seat of the old Chevy on the way to Michigan to visit my grandmother. My mother had dressed us in matching sundresses, frilly pinafores with a carousel print, very cute. Colorful merry-go-round horses circled around us! And we played and giggled, actually getting along better than we typically did. Like many siblings, we were competitive.

It's odd how some memories are clear when so many are hazy or totally lost. Some years I almost forget that her birthday is coming, but I feel a heavy sadness and then remember why. She died in a mental hospital as an adult after spending many years in the state hospital system struggling with a schizophrenic condition that robbed her of the ability to make rational decisions. The last time I saw her she did not know me.

When we were children, some people could not tell who was who and called us by each other's names.  We had similar smiles but her face was broader so I can tell us apart in the pictures.

Compare our pictures in 1952 and 1957.

10 comments:

  1. Mental illness is a terrible thing and for so long it was hidden and not discussed. I'm glad it's no longer a taboo topic.

    So sorry for the loss of your sister.

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  2. She was a cute little girl. It's a shame that it took them so long to find some of the drugs that are so effective for schizophrenia.

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  3. how hard that must have been on your family. we've come a long way with treatments, thankfully.

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  4. Having had lost two brothers, I can get at least in part the sadness that carries with you. I'm very sorry.

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  5. Olá!!!
    Só as lembranças boas devem ficar...
    Passando para agradecer o carinho e desejar um Lindo Natal com Cristo e um ano novo com muitas alegrias, saúde ,amor e paz!
    Boas festas! abraços.

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  6. So sorry for the loss of your sister. I'm sure you miss her. That is a cute picture of her.

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  7. I'm so sorry for your family's loss. I don't think we ever fully get over such heartache. Hugs to you.

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  8. What a beautiful photo of her. I'm so sorry you lost her - time certainly helps with the loss, but I know it will always be a part of one's life. Schizophrenia can be so difficult to treat, even in this day and age.

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  9. Thank you all for your kind comments.

    If you are curious about the translation for Lena's comment, Google's translation says "Only the good memories should be …" followed by holiday greetings. I do feel better for having written down a good memory,

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  10. I have been thinking a lot about mental illness. I personally think much of it has to do with a chemical imbalance in our systems. Possibly a lack of certain vitamins. But then who knows... I may have no idea what I am talking about.

    Isn't it funny sometimes how we feel heavy hearted and sometimes have no idea why. At least you knew it was because of your sisters passing.

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