Friday, February 24, 2012

Childhood Innocence, Reality & Death

Originally posted on October 22, 2008

Childhood Innocence, Reality & Death

Current mood: depressed

Even as a small child forty years ago I knew my brother Dick, was the responsible, more grounded one. I loved the times he went fast in his GTO and he is very much responsible for my years of loving auto racing and The Beatles. In time we grew to be very close, despite the sixteen year age difference.

But there were two people closer to my age that I always looked up to, because they were more rebellious, and seemed to be the ultimate in 'cool'. Of course what was 'cool' in the late 1960's and early 1970's, I now look back with total disdain. In the future, these two would prove a small child, me, wrong. They weren't cool at all.

One of them was my sister Lynne, ten years my senior. We got along great through the 1970's, though I knew she had her demons. But I saw a lot of the 'world' via her including taking me to my first Bruins game, my first concert (Santana), the movies, my first subway ride, biking Gloucester/Rockport, and even is 100% responsible for my meeting the original line up of Van Halen. We had many a great time and somehow music will always be attached to those times.

Some of our best times were back in 1976 in her apartment in Gloucester, eating tacos and playing Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" on heavy rotation. We did a lot of my firsts 'together' like my first Mexican food, visiting New York City, clubbing and even going inside the inner sanctum of Harvard University.

As the years progressed, I still always admired her, and when she moved to the heart of Boston, she always took me and my friends in for the evening, after spending the night at concerts at the Boston Garden or Orpheum. Granted we were just high school kids, she always bought us a six pack for when we returned to her apartment to retire for the evening. She is also always the one who pushed me to go to college, which sadly I never listened to.

As the 1980's became the 1990's, we didn't see each other as often but we always kept in touch. She later moved to Mexico and begged me to come visit, but god forbid I travel somewhere without at race track. How silly. But by the mid 1990's the addiction to alcohol took over. Partially to blame of my alcoholic father, partial blame to the drug culture of the post hippie era. She was out of control and not the person I knew growing up. Not at all. My being busy as an adult also pulled me away.

But in that time her health and mental state was on a steady decline. Since the early 1990's I expected a call any day, saying she had passed on.

The last time I saw her was Christmas 2002. My brother and I paid to have her come home for
Christmas Week. A mistake. A human puddle came off the airplane and the week never improved from there. She spent the week virtually terrorizing my mother and leaving my mother upset and in tears, including New Years Eve. Lynne was a drunken mess and verbally abusive. And I paid for this????

The person whom was attractive, worldly experienced and very successful was now a poor shadow of the person I knew. As time went on, I refused to accept the drunken calls. I never stopped loving her, but I could not deal with the person who quit every chance she as given to save herself. She does not know of my transformation from John to Cynthia. Due to her instability, my mother asked that I not tell her. I fully agreed. Upon my return from surgery in Montreal my mother was relieved I was home, safe, sound and in good health despite driving myself home. I wasn't home ten minutes when my sister's boyfriend called. Lynne had blacked out and was in the hospital with a severe seizure, where she remained for weeks. There went my mothers stress free time. All ten minutes of it.

This past Sunday night, just as game seven of the Red Sox/Rays game started, the phone rang. I knew it could only be one of two people, Mike Douglas Sr or my sister. It was my sister's boyfriend. Lynne was in the hospital. She had been ill for some time, but a fall had broken her shoulder. Monday I got a call at work. My sister had pneumonia, cirrhosis of the liver, extremely low blood pressure and was unconscious. They could not give her any meds due to the blood pressure.

After returning home late last night after a too long evening at Newbury Comics, I got the updates. I wanted out early, using the Patriots game as an excuse. Instead I got out later than normal. My sister was unconscious, on a ventilator, her liver and kidneys had expired 100% and there was brain damage. She would never be the same again. Even the few times she was alert, she was looking for people whom had passed away twenty years ago.

Tomorrow morning I bring my mother to the airport so she can catch a flight to Albuquerque. I could not fiscally afford to send us both. There my mother will to go to Sante Fe. The last rights will be given to Lynne, my sister, age wise my closest sibling. My father died when I was five months old. Once the ventilator is removed, Lynne will have 24 - 48 hours. The first death in my immediate family since 1964.

A person I looked up to and respected. In later years, a person I could not face. I knew the day was coming. But when it did come, the shock is much worse than I could have anticipated. These next few days will be difficult. Lynne would have turned 54, this coming Tuesday, October 28.

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