The Sister Project
A Story of Tough Love (part 2)

A Story of Tough Love (part 1)

Dear friend, as I promised yesterday I am going to tell you the full story about my sister and I and about why we haven’t talked to each  other for more than 10 years. I am going to need more than one post to tell you everything so here I go:

 When I was a little girl my hero number one was my older sister and I just wanted to be like her. From the beginning I was aware about how different my sister was, to me she was so amazing and wonderful: a real genius. She was funny, creative and she did everything in a way that it didn’t look “regular”. Everything that Ileana touched became special. She was always transforming everything around her, her clothes, her shoes. She cut her own hair and everybody’s hair at home, she had the best sense of humor and she was so smart. She introduced me to books and poetry and she didn’t even know that she was doing so because in her opinion she wasn’t anything special.

 My sister was like my second mother because technically, she  raised my younger brother Alexander and I.  My Mom had to work late at night in all her hard jobs so Ileana had to stay home and take care of her younger siblings and that was the beginning of this story. Ileana was a person that needed special attention, she craved love and affection, it was as if there was a huge hole in her heart that could never be filled with enough love but she had to take care of her siblings so she had to give so much of herself to us that I think at some point she felt empty. She was the best entertainer ever. I remember how she used to paint her face in funny ways in order to make us laugh. She also drew and sang beautifully, the kind of music that she liked was opera music so you could hear her amazing voice and think: how can she sound like that??? She was so fascinating!

 Life was so hard for all of us back then, I can’t tell you enough about it. Our house was so poor and my Mom was so tired of working so hard. She got home and then she had to keep working in order to keep all of us going. Back then my sister Ileana was considered an adult because her responsibilities were too many and too serious, she never had time to be a child or even a teenager, she was almost born an adult. I remember when she had her first boyfriend, one day he secretly came to our home when Mom was at work and I loved him, he was so nice with us. I had to help him come into the house from the back door so nobody could see him. It was all very innocent, he just came to talk and he was so respectful and polite. But then, our neighbor told my Mom that she had seen a young man in our home when my Mom was working and my Mom went crazy, she was so mad at my sister for doing that. And I went even more crazy because there was nothing wrong with it and all I did was protect my sister and try to calm my Mom down. I think that from that day on something switched between my sister and I. I became the adult and she became the child. From that day on I felt as if I had to protect her and take care of her.

 She started changing quickly and it was so devastating for me to watch. By the time she was 16 her hair was so beautiful, straight and long and perfect. I was so proud of her beautiful dark hair, but one day after she came back from school she got some scissors and started cutting her hair little by little. I was sitting next to her very quiet, just observing, I didn’t say anything because she was always so strong about whatever she did so I just let her do it. When she was done it was as if a new person was taking over her . She cut her hair in a crazy way. Some parts were very short and some parts were long. She looked like a crazy person. I was so serious but then she started laughing so much, as if she had just done the most fun thing ever. I was scared because I realized that something wrong was going on. When my mom saw her like that later it was another war: HOW COULD YOU DO THAT ILEANA! ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? THAT IS JUST CRAZY! And yes, nobody could imagine than in fact, she was just crossing that line between sanity and insanity.

 The day when her mental deterioration became clear was when she left a suicidal note on the kitchen table. She wrote something like this: Mom, but the time you read this note I am not going to be alive anymore, Good-Bye. Ileana. As you can imagine my Mom was in shock, she was so scared that she immediately started looking for her at the police station, the hospital etc. but then she run to her school to see if someone had seen her. When she got there she saw my sister looking totally OK. Ileana looked at my Mom with a smile as if everything was just fine. My Mom could’t underdtand if that was just a very bad joke or if in fact my sister was becoming a victim of some mental illness that was making her do something like that. Very unfortunately it was not a joke.

(I will continue on Monday)

Now I need to go but I hope that you have a great Friday and a peaceful weekend.

Lots of love!

Elsita :)

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