2. Mother, Daddy and the Girls


As I write this post, I am being very mindful of advice given to me by my very wise son-in-law. When I told him that I was going to write a blog, he said, “Don’t write anything that you don’t want read all over the world.” Hmmmmmm.

With that in mind, I will attempt to give you a basic understanding of our family during our early years, and how we related to each other. This is important because it greatly impacts how we related to each other during our time of crisis.

Daddy was a very proud man. He was an ex-Marine who loved his time in the corp. He never saw combat, but he loved telling stories about the experiences he did have. He was a police officer for many years. He later became Chief of Security for Hendrick Hospital in Abilene, Texas and then MD Anderson Hospital in Houston. He had to take an early retirement for medical reasons. I look back on his retirement with sadness, because I know that mentally and emotionally he was not ready to face retirement.

Mother, well, there is no easy way to say it. She was a martyr. She always made sure that she took care of Daddy’s medical needs, but refused, REFUSED to take care of her own. She totally gave OF herself, but would not give TO herself. She felt that she must totally carry the burden and responsibility of the family. She would not ask for or accept help. The last 5 years, maybe 10 years of her life, we knew she was not well. She would not go to the doctor. We made appointments for her and she would not keep them. She just said there was not enough money……. she was the perfect picture of selflessness.

There were many things I wish my parents had done differently. I could make you a list. However, there were many things they did right. I could make you another list. The one thing I do know is that my parents did the best they knew how to do.

There are 3 girls, no boys, in my family.

Deborah, that’s me! I am the oldest and by placement in the birth order, the one who was responsible for my younger sisters.

Donna is next. She and I are very different in many ways which made for a lot of arguing and fighting as we were growing up.

Darla is the youngest. Because of family circumstances at the time, Darla practically raised herself. She also had to be responsible. Responsible for herself.

There are many other things I could write here, but I am not sure they are critical to ‘my story’.

The important thing here is this. We grew up with our own set of challenges and difficulties just as many families do. There were many things that we wish were different as we look back on our childhood. However, when our parents got sick, everything changed. As sisters we bonded together, worked together, and leaned on each other for strength. Because our personalities are so different, we each had specific strengths that we brought to the situation. It was amazing. Additionally, we each had weaknesses, and in an unspoken sort of way, I think we worked together to help compensate for each other’s weaknesses.

Back to the birthday party. I knew it would be usless to attempt to talk to Mother about my observations. Based on her previous reactions to our concerns about her health, she would not discuss it at all. The time wasn’t right.

I can’t remember. It was either the next day or a couple of days later. Daddy was hospitalized. Again.

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