The Story Of Vera And Her Family, Chapter 22

31 07 2008

Words can not describe the relief our family felt because of Jim’s better job.  We had  prayed for Jim to find a better job for eleven years.  He had tried every avenue he knew.  Finally, our prayers were answered. It was a fun summer yet also a bitter sweet summer. I took Sandy shopping for new clothing for her job at the newspaper.  It wasn’t long before Sandy started dating Rob.  Rob worked at the newspaper and so did his step father.  Rob’s grandmother lived across the street from us.  Likewise, his real dad lived down the street from us.  Rob was six years older than Sandy.  We certainly had our concerns but because we knew the family–we didn’t make any waves about Sandy dating Rob. Now Rob had a red sport car.  And it wasn’t long until Sandy began driving that red sports car.  Rob would let her drive his car home for her lunch break. 

Our friend, Bill, from England came to stay a whole month.  Maria painted a room in the basement for herself so that Bill could have her room. Once again, Bill, gave me plenty of grocery money.  We had some really festive times in which my brother , Phillip, joined in. 

Phillip was way too quiet that summer.  I knew he was contemplating his grief over his estranged family.  Phillip had tried every way he knew how to reconcile with Teresa.  However, Teresa and the boys were caught in the mindset of the religious group they were involved with.  That group was basically run by one family.  And the wife of that family was a bully such as none I had ever encountered.  Our family had been involved with that group until l989.  I finally made the decision that I would have nothing more to do with that group.  It took Jim a few more months before he left.  However, Phillip cut me off.  He would not have anything more to do with our family.  Furthermore, my dad had written to me–cutting himself off from our family.  He told me that he didn’t like to hear about our sagas. 

In l991, Phillip left the group.  His wife and boys didn’t.  Phillip began talking to our family again.  We drew very close to him in his grieving.  So now in the summer of 1993, Teresa told Phillip that she had been accepted into graduate school in Boone, North Carolina.  This tore at Phillip.  Moreover, he wouldn’t talk about his grief.  

We needed Bill’s sense of humor to help us with our grief over Phillip.  Our last Friday evening with Bill–we all went to eat supper at Shoneys.  After that supper, we didn’t  hear from Phillip.  He didn’t answer his phone.  So after a couple of days, Jim and I went over to his apartment.  I had a key to his apartment and when he didn’t answer the door–we just unlocked the door and went in.  It appeared that he had stayed up reading religious material from this cultic group for there were books and magazines all over the floor.  Later we learned that he left in the middle of the night for North Carolina.  He never let his employer know that he was leaving.  He didn’t even let his brother-in-law who owned the apartment house know he was leaving.

Throughout the month of August, we had no clue to what was going in in Phillips life.  Thankfully, we had other distractions.  Jim’s siter and her family came for a visit from Iowa.  I remember having a long talk with them about Phillip.  They joined with us in prayer for Phillip.  Their visit came as our children were starting school.  Ben and Sandy were finally seniors in high school.  Maria was a sophmore and Vera was a freshman.  Sandy enjoyed the fact that she got to come home at noon for an hour before she left for her co-op job at the newspaper.

We had other griefs the month of August.  Julie, one of our cats was poisoned.  Sandy had seen her at midnight when she came home from her date with Rob.  We suspected one of our neighbors poisoned her as her body was laying next to a cat food can.  Then we found out that Julie’s mom, Tinker, had breast cancer.  I had never heard of breast cancer in a cat.  Tinker had surgery and recovered physically but we knew she missed her daughter, Julie.  They had an incredible bond.

Finally, around Labor day– we learned that Phillip had tried to renew his ties with the religious group.  They made it impossible for him.  He was subject to physical and mental abuse from this group.  I was able to find out Teresa’s phone number and called her.  She told me that Phillip had contemplated suicide by taking too many sleeping pills.  However, after he had taken them–he called 911.  His stomach was pumped and he was placed in a mental hospital for five weeks.  I was able to talk with him a few times while he was a patient.  He wouldn’t talk about his experience.  He only told us that he enjoyed playing cards with the other patients and that soon he would be placed in a half way home.

Shortly after we learned about what had happened to Phillip–I received a letter from my dad.  We had not communicated in any way for four years.  Now he was full of apologies for having cut me off.  I knew that Dad must have hit some bad times of his own.  I learned that his health was bad and that the IRS was dogging his every step.  No one wants to be alone in such times.  My child hood Bible lessons about forgiveness kicked in.  I accepted dad back into my life.  I realized that I would not have him around for may more years.

So life was sweet and bitter the summer of l993.  Financial troubles no longer overwhelmed us but the deeper more thorny issues of interpersonal relationships sure did.  Money could never solve the grief my brother was living with.  Although I wasn’t active in a church–I continued to sit on my basement stairs and pray for all of the needs of our family.  One day, Phillip would return to us……I just knew it.




3 responses

1 08 2008

Oh, Nicole3, the basement stairs, how well I remember the year that I lived in my basement trying to make sense of all that my life had become. The questions asked and the prayers prayed while my world was spinning out of orbit.
You and I have many similarities and I find comfort when I read your and Vera’s life story. I am so grateful for your life and your willingness to share its adventures and misadventures…
Thanks for being my friend

1 08 2008

Shadowlands, you’ve got it so right about adventures and misadventures. I still have a real attachment to my basement stairs–they are a place to get away from everyone and think and pray. My prayers are ever with you.

Your friend,

1 08 2008
Frugal Trenches

Perhaps the worst part of living in England is no basements, so no basement stairs for prayers and reflection.
Your blog is like a novel, I always look forward to reading the next instalment!

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