The battle scars of life

The battle scars of life
The battle scars of life

In the middle of every difficulty comes opportunity.   Albert Einstein

Walking Away From Family Part II

Those angry days brimming with hate, venom, and violence. In the streets of  Bronx, my best friend lay dead, murdered by someone who struck him and was too afraid to stop. He was about two and a half years younger than I. We grew up together … lonely and unhappy. He was my little brother, Gary Anthony Grant.

My most painful and, oddly, most treasured memories were our usual rides on the subways from the Bronx to Grand Central. That day, we waited silently for the Greyhound or whatever bus to take me back to Ithaca, NY. We were both quiet—seen but not heard—and silence was blissful. The bus arrived. Before I boarded the bus to find a window seat, he did something out of character. Something that made me embarrassed because it felt awkward. It was something I had not experienced since my father’s death.

He planted an affectionate kiss on my cheek before saying goodbye. Why? I will never know…. That kiss was one I  treasured.  Even today, it brings tears of love and the wonderful memories we shared together, but also the physical and emotional pain of loss.

We grew up without affection: no hugs, kisses, concerned voices, loving eyes or love. {Love was not a word ever uttered in our house when I was growing up.}

He was only seventeen years old. When I went off to college, I thought only of my escape from the house—I never thought of leaving him alone. I thought only of my survival, not of his. I left him behind to live in the house of a woman who knew nothing about love and everything about hate and spreading unhappiness. He never experienced the joy of unconditional love and had no opportunity to enjoy life because he died young and alone in the streets of Bronx.

The day after I returned home from college o summer break, he died. Yes, his lifeless body laid on the streets of the Bronx. I felt a piercing and unbearable pain at the thought of him dying alone. Like my father, my little brother died alone and in pain. A driver struck him and then left him in the street to die. Why did this happen?

No, he was not into gangs or drugs—he was going to Syracuse in the fall. In the Bronx, many families value education, contrary to popular stereotypes. My brother was rushing home to not anger my mother whose temper was dangerously unpredictable. He took the shortest route, an exit ramp off a busy highway. He was struck by someone, who fled the scene.

The Cornell-hoodie he wore was my gift to him and identified his body.   I miss him so much. He was my best friend, always there for me but I was not there for him, as he died in pain, alone. My dear sweet little brother.

That was not easy to tell, and I don’t know why I told it. How does it fit this post?

I just did something I have never done before, shared a very personal, and still deeply painful, memory.

Memories make the deceased immortal; I will never let him be forgotten.

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I walked away from disrespect, betrayal and abuse. In return, I discovered a new me that was always there, but whose voice drowned in the vast ocean of guilt and self-doubt.

In walking away from family, and the negative controlling energies of others, that voice became louder. It was a voice of reason, insight and wisdom; it told me to let go. I am still unravelling the wisdom that it revealed. A glimmer of light trickled through my dark world while I listened to melodious whispers, whispers that made me shout: IT IS OKAY TO BE ME!

Proudly smiling,

Oblivious to her battle scars

She LISTENED!

Balancing the scales

Of courage, insight and wisdom.

 She became a defender of the downtrodden.

The battle scars of life
The battle scars of life

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In the words of Albert Einstein,  “In the middle of every difficulty comes opportunity.”

Walking Away From Family….