March 17, 2016

Eva is Going to Die

Our father died during the summer months and the following winter I think maybe my mother decided it would be nice to be rid of the other evil thing in her life.

It was a very cold day and several inches of snow had fallen.  All the other kids were dressed appropriately in pants, boots, hats, mittens, scarves and warm coats.  Mother sent me to school wearing a thin dress, tights, black Mary Jane flat shoes and a thin fall jacket.  No hat, scarf, gloves or mittens.

I was freezing as I sat on the cement steps of the school waiting for the bell to ring and for the doors to open so I could get inside and warm up.

I don't know if I got sick from being under dressed for the weather or if I had caught something from one of the other kids, but I did get sick.

It started off as a cold that mother would treat with hot tea mixed with brandy.  As my cold turned into the flu she would treat me with aspirin and hot tea with honey.  When my flu turned into pneumonia she gave me aspirin and let me stay home from school to sleep.

When I no longer wanted to eat and I had difficulty staying awake for more than a few minutes, and my temperature had reached a dangerous level, Peter told mother it was time to take me to the hospital.  Mother's words are still clear in my mind, "She's in God's hands now."

Looking back I know it was her opportunity to be rid of me.  She had insurance for all us from her job as a seamstress for a famous men's clothing line.  She had taken me to the hospital when I had broken my finger when I fell off my bike.  She had taken me to the hospital when I got chicken pocks and the measles.  She didn't have a problem with hospitals like she did with the police.

Thankfully Peter had figured out that she was scared of the police.  When he threatened to call the police for an ambulance she got her coat and purse and I was taken to the emergency room.

I remember nurses covering me in ice blankets and trying to feed me vanilla ice cream before covering my nose and mouth with an oxygen mask.

I remember looking over at mother and seeing no tears, concern or love in her eyes or on her face.

I remember looking over at Peter who was crying before I closed my eyes and hoped that I would never wake up.

Peter had saved my life.  There would be many times throughout the years I would wish he hadn't.

I'm not sure how long I was in the hospital.  I only remember waking up in a plastic oxygen tent with a lot of tubes attached to me.  I remember being fed intravenously and having respiratory therapy.

I remember the doctor getting upset with mother for bringing and feeding me a lot of sweets shortly after being taken off the intravenous feeding tube.

I liked being in the hospital.  I got to watch television, play with other children and everyone was nice to me.  It was the first time in my life that I felt safe and protected.

The day I was discharged, mother, Peter and Grace came to pick me up.  It was the first time I had seen Grace since she never visited me in the hospital.  Peter came to see me every day.  Mother came only in the mornings on the weekends.  She never stayed long.

During the cab ride home from the hospital mother told me how much she missed me, which I found hard to believe.  She said she stayed up all night cleaning and cooking my favorite foods.  She said she had made my favorite chocolate cake for my homecoming.

I found myself getting excited especially when Grace confirmed everything mother had said.  Grace told me she helped mother bake the chocolate cake and it was delicious.

The only thing that hampered my excitement was Peter's behavior.  He wouldn't look at me.  He was so quiet and looked sad.  I knew he was happy I was alive and coming home.  He told me every day when he came to visit how much he loved me.  I couldn't figure out what was wrong with him.

When the cab pulled up in front of the building where we lived, mother told Peter and Grace to go ahead while I stayed with mother as she paid the cab driver.  As we walked through the courtyard of the building where we lived, mother kept talking about how happy she was that I was home.

When she opened the front door to our apartment, reality didn't immediately sink in.  I was very confused.  The apartment was a mess and looked very dirty.  The floors looked like they hadn't been washed or cleaned since I left.  There were dirty dishes everywhere.  Mother never allowed her home to get this dirty.  I didn't understand.

Mother grabbed my arm in a vise like grip and turned me toward her as she told me in her venomous voice that if I ever caused her so much trouble again she would kill me with her bare hands.  She went on to tell me that there was no cake or my favorite foods.  She told me that I had to clean the entire apartment before I went to sleep.

She pushed me so hard I fell to the floor.  Mother went to the kitchen and came back with a bucket full of soapy water and a scrub brush.  She told me to start scrubbing the floors.  If she found one dirty spot I would pay with my life.

I looked over at Grace and Peter who were sitting on the sofa.  Grace was looking at me and laughing.  Peter was staring at the television with tears rolling down his cheeks.

I spent the entire day cleaning.  For dinner I got a bologna sandwich with a glass of milk.

I discovered a new found terror of mother that day.  If I had ever doubted that she hated me, all those doubts were gone.  I felt angry toward Peter for saving me.  Mother was right when she said I was in God's hands.  Peter shouldn't have interfered with God's plan for me to die.  I wasn't supposed to be born and God was going to make everything right by letting me die. 

It wasn't too long afterwards that I would have my first thoughts of suicide.  I would also start a pattern of negotiating with God and Jesus.

There would be so many times where I thought about taking my own life.  Each time I would imagine how happy mother and Grace would be.  I imagined them laughing and celebrating.  The idea of doing anything to make them happy stopped me from taking my own life, even though I wanted nothing more than to die.

The only time I prayed was when I tried to negotiate with God or Jesus.  I was constantly telling God that if he would please make mommy love me and stop hurting me, I promise I'll be a good girl and never do anything wrong again.

I would dare God or Jesus to prove that they were real by telling them to stop my pain or make my mother love me.

Since nothing ever changed, I decided that either God or Jesus didn't feel I was worth helping, or mother was right about me being one of the devil's whores and I was going to burn in hell no matter what I did.

For a long time I felt conflicted about God because mother always told me that I had to obey her no matter what she did to me, otherwise I would burn in hell.  It was God's law. 

Many times I didn't know why I was praying or negotiating with a God that allowed my mother to hurt me.  It took me a long time to understand that God had nothing to do with mother's behavior.  I would have to wait until I was in my late twenties before I began to realize that God had always been with me.

I do remember my brother asking me if saw anything while I was “asleep” in the hospital.  I don’t know why, but I never told him that right before I woke up I saw a beautiful angel hovering above me.  The angel slowly came toward me becoming so large it blocked everything else out.  The angel wrapped its wings around me and pulled me near and whispered in my ear, “Don’t ever be afraid,” and I opened my eyes and was confused why everything was so distorted.  It took a few minutes to realize I was in some kind of tent.

I think I didn't tell Peter about the angel because I assumed it was just a dream, but as I grew older, I began to wonder if it wasn't just a dream.

To this day I thank my Guardian Angels every night when I go to sleep for watching over me.

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