Sunday, April 1, 2012


2012 Apr 1

I started out trying to discover what exactly causes the melancholy I seem to experience with the start of each April. My first thoughts had more to do with Raymond and his diminished sense of family, which lead me to thoughts of my family.

Tomorrow is the birthday of my first baby brother. Thoughts of his life always bring with them regrets for all he suffered, none of which was his fault. Our family of origin, as the psycho-speak goes, in majorly dysfunctional. And not in the "we put the FUN in dysfunctional" way.

Suffice to say that when my brother was about four, I think, he went to live with our Mom's Aunt and Uncle, for a couple of years. I don't remember much about what all precipitated the move. I do remember, years later, being told by the Aunt who took him in, that he has been beaten so badly, that she had to do something. Neither do I remember when exactly he came back to live with us. I do remember that when the same Aunt and Uncle came for him again, he may have been in third grade. I do remember watching him as he packed his little belongings and the look of pain/relief in his eyes. I remember the song that was playing on the radio and that for years, when I heard it, I would cry, without remembering why.

Perhaps when he left it was April. 

April Fools Day

2012 April 1

What is it about the beginning of April that makes me feel so melancholy?  When we were in Pittsburgh, I thought this affliction was due to the unpredictability of spring in Pennsylvania. But, having been in what basically is either deep spring or early summer since late December, I fear blame cannot be affixed to seasonal changes. Must be something else.

April 1 is R's sister's birthday. That may be contributory. For reasons still unknown to us, she cut herself off from Raymond and, we assume, the rest of her family. When their parents moved, first into an apartment, and later into an assisted living facility, she had no involvement in the processes. Later, when their Mom died, unexpectedly, followed by their Dad a few months later, she didn't even travel to Pittsburgh. All of that comes back each April 1. R has made attempts to contact his sister. The last one resulted in her hanging up on him. Needless to say, he hasn't attempted it again. There was a time, when I was first getting to know R (many, many, many years ago) that I was with him when we happened upon her at Conneaut Lake Park. I didn't know she was his sister. I still remember the joy on his face when he saw her, and I can still remember thinking, "Wow! there is a really intense relationship here. Whoever this woman is, I better rethink my own relationship with Raymond  in the face of this!" We all laughed about it later when introductions were made. But remembering the look on both of their faces that day makes it harder to understand how it all changed so drastically, 20 some years later.

There was no argument between R and her. There were never any mean words exchanged. Just suddenly, without explanation, total withdrawal from what was, up till then, a warm, loving brother-sister relationship.

Part of me grieves for what R has lost. Not just the relationship with his sister, but also the loss of his parents. Sometimes I think it must be very difficult for him to have only one brother, with whom he shares very little, either emotionally or intellectually. Of course, he has me. But there are so many diminished or completely changed or gone relationships in his life, that I sometimes wonder at the amount of inner strength he must have to maintain his calm demeanor.