When my niece was born I became a mini Mother myself. All I wanted was to make her happy. I made her dolls out of corn and primitive materials. She loved them. And I also remember how I introduced her to sweets :) She grew up fast and by the time she was three (just like Diego now) we became really close to each other. Everyday on my way home from school I stopped by some candy store to get her sweets. When I got home she came running as soon as she saw me. What a wonderful experience that was! I remember everything so well. But very painfully, our bond was broken because my niece’s father had to take her away from my sister; he moved back to Havana with my niece. This was an extremely hard thing for him to do but it had to be done because Ileana went back to her severe crisis and it wasn’t safe for the baby to be around her. This was devastating for my sister as you can imagine as well as for everyone else in our family. Some time after this, my niece’s Dad got married and together with his wife he raised Graciela, I didn’t see her for years.
After some period of crisis and depression my sister had to go back to electroshock therapy as the only resource that she had for stopping her suffering. This time it was her own decision to do so and soon she was better again. Then she got pregnant for the second time, the father was a wonderful man. We love him very much up to this day. Very soon a beautiful baby boy was born, Alejandro, my dear nephew who is the most loving person ever. A few years after Alejandro came out to the world I was already having a life on my own. I left home because I felt that I needed to start my own life away from everything and my Mom supported me one hundred percent. She was so strong by letting me go, it broke her heart but she knew that I was making the right decision.
During the first few years away from my family some things happened; Ileana separated from Alejandro’s Dad and she had her last baby named Adrian. Adrian’s father was (and is) also a wonderful man. By the time she had Adrian Ileana was a much better Mother, the boys gave her so much love and they were so mature and understanding about her Mom’s illness. It was hard for them as you can imagine but fortunately they made a great difference in Ileana’s life up to this day.
From the distance, I just wanted to take care of my sister and my nephews in every possible way. I was very poor but anytime when I made some little money selling my crafts I sent them part of that money. I wrote my sister long letters full of love and hope and support. Whenever I had a chance I visited her and I also invited her to visit me. But no matter what I did or how much effort I put into helping my sister, her response was most of the times negative. The more I did for her the more she rejected me and I don’t think that she was so aware of that.
I never got mad at her, ever, even when she did pretty crazy things to me. Like for example; one day she offered to cut my hair, I said OK so she started doing it. I realized that she was cutting too much hair so I asked her not to cut too much. But then she started laughing and before I could do anything about it I was almost bald. In fact, to fix the problem she had to cut all of my hair so short that I looked bald. When I took the bus next day I heard two old ladies talking about me: poor girl, she has cancer (I heard one of them say) and then they looked at me with a sympathetic smile. But I just smiled back and thought: if they only knew that all I have is a Schizophrenic sister! I found the whole thing so funny, I wasn’t worry about my bald head and I wasn’t mad at my sister at all. How could I be mad at someone that I loved so much? How could I be mad at someone that I saw suffer so much for so long? My hair was going to grow again so that wasn’t a big deal. Was her healthy mind going to be back one day?
(Tomorrow I will write my last post about this story)
Have a great day!