I am not ready yet to continue on the subject of my mother, I find another family member needs to surface, be viewed and dismissed first.
My first brother, the boy I disliked from the moment we collected him from the Nuns when he was two weeks old.
The first little prince who I shall refer to as James.
From the beginning James was a tortured wee soul, constantly crying and demanding attention. That never changed, he was always an attention seeking maggot, yes I said maggot and not missile.
James got away with everything but murder and I am sure he has even attempted that. He became the bane of my existence. On a positive note, whenever he was around I got my father all to myself.
James was the baby my mother had originally wanted and she doted on his every need.
James was permitted to gouge my arms, pull my hair and bite. My complaints went unheeded and I was simply told to ignore him. If I did not stop what I was doing to give him my attention, he would scream and call mother, who in turn would admonish me. James would actually smile whenever his manipulations got me in trouble.
I was lumbered with him full time after the birth of my mother's only natural child. I am sure James was crushed at his fall from grace and suffered for it. But he still managed to attention grab.
At the age of four years old he was still wetting himself and most pictures of him show him in wet pants. The teasing I endured because of his refusing to use a toilet was torturous and at times I feel he wet himself just to see me suffer. but I am sure his issue went far deeper than that.
When James was three he had already developed a taste for alcohol. A friend of the family would drop over every night and raid my fathers liquor cabinet allowing my brother "a taste" from her glass. as long as she was around he got his "taste" whenever he requested. One afternoon James repeatedly asked my mother for a "taste". She flatly refused and what followed was a three hour tantrum that only stopped when he passed out from hyper ventilating.
James learned early that the youngest of us three children had a glass nose and it would bleed at the drop of a hat. The older boy took great pride in getting that nose to bleed regularly. Ever opportunity James could get he would thump the youngest and place the blame on the youngest tripping. Even the loss of the youngest four front teeth were blamed for his clumsiness. Despite the bullying the two boys developed a relationship of sorts. The youngest would follow the older boy around like a lost puppy.
I do remember getting back at the tyrant in training, once on purpose the other I still call an accident. James insisted on playing "school" with me and my friends as we did homework outside. I designated him as the bad child that needed a caning, I took a thin willow branch and set it hard against the back of his thighs. Oh I raised welts. I caught hell and deservedly so but that did not diminish the joy I felt. And while I should regret that action I still don't.
The other occasion while I was doing my homework alone on the living room sofa, James was repeatedly leaping off the arm of the sofa and flinging himself onto me. My request to mother to get him to stop came with the usual reply "ignore him and he will go away".
On one of his leaps he landed on my pencil and the led broke in his flesh. James carried that grey spot from that day forward.
I took the blame many time for things James broke or stole. I was told I was responsible for him as I was the eldest.
James was a trouble making adolescent with long hair, greasy skin and green teeth. Most of my interactions were with people coming to look for him as he had stolen from them or with the police who wanted to know where he was. James dropped out of school and his criminal activity increased. Mother refused to believe that her son could do anything wrong.
The day I saw my unlicensed "Alfa Romeo Spider" coming down the road towards me my vehemence increased three fold. James had stolen my car. My mother's response, " oh it must have been an emergency that he would take your car". James wasn't old enough to drive, he was with a friends older brother. And somehow they had lied their way into getting a short term insurance permit.
Mother continued to feed James' alcohol addiction but buying him beer to drink at home so he wouldn't go out.
James was taking mothers cheque book and cashing fraudulent cheques that she would cover. ( usually with my money)
I finally took a bold step and called my Father. Although he had indicated he wanted nothing to do with his children, Dad was the only person I could think of to turn to. By this time my mother had seen a lawyer and had documents drawn up that placed me as legal guardian in her absence. I wasn't even 20 years old!
Father arranged for James to go to work with him and the problem child moved away. It only took a year or so for Father to cut him lose. Dad did not appreciate being told to " expletive off" or slugged in the face.
Creditors would plagued my mother's phone looking for James. The police cruised her house every night. Mother's attic filled with stolen goods that he couldn't sell. James stole from anyone, he even took mother's wedding bands and sold them to a pawn broker. James would sneak into my grandmother's room when she was in the washroom and take her pension money. He took all the charitable contributions mother had raised canvassing for the Salvation army. James tore my room apart looking for the monies I had collected for an official banquet. I watched for awhile before I held up the cash and asked if this was what he was looking for.
By the time I married for the first time, James had been in prison twice for drugs.
While I was pregnant James came to stay in my house only because my mother had pleaded that he needed somewhere to stay and I was family. Once again I was lumbered with him. James was unkind as I gained pregnancy weight, calling me "jabba the hut". When I discovered the blotter of Acid in my freezer, James was evicted promptly.
I heard from James only a few times after the eviction, once when my son died. He sat in my home and cried asking " how could this happen to you, you never hurt anyone".
I also heard from him each time he tried rehab, he never stayed long enough in the program to do any good.
James called the day he got married, he didn't want to marry but she was pregnant. The only family member James had invited to his wedding was Father.
I saw James again in his new house with his new baby daughter.
At Easter one year when James' daughter was around 4 years old, my father requested we get together. The boys got drunk and James' mouth erupted. I had half expected that to happen, what I had not been prepared for was the mouth on his daughter. My husband and I didn't stay long after the meal was finished and I felt so sorry for the waiters who took care of our table.
It would be three years before I saw James again. By this time he had a second daughter. No matter how prepared I thought I was for James family it wasn't enough. That hateful boy had raised a hateful family.
I had weekly reports in the in-between years from both my parents on how the little family was doing, how my father refused to stay with his grand children as they were terrors, and mother constantly told me that no matter how much I disliked James I had to be there if ever his daughters needed me.
When I left my first husband, James called not as support but to insult me and tell me what a loser I was for choosing to leave. I asked only one thing of him that day, to never call me unless he was sober.
Two years later my father requested I return to the country for a family thanksgiving, and the tickets were being couriered to me. It took me two weeks to decide that I wasn't going to attend and I stated my reasons loud and clear, that as much as I loved and respected my father I would not attend a function with the two drunks. I called both brothers separately and told them directly of my choice, and sent the tickets back to my father.
I had finally divorced my family and being a world away sure made it easy.
When James located his birth mother and then birth father, he went to Dad and told father that James and he were now just friends and that James no longer recognized the man who had given him his name and raised him, as his Father. That day James died in my Father's eyes. It freed me from ever having to be nice about James to Father.
When I returned to this country to ensure proper care for my mother, James called and instructed me to move in with mom as it was what a "good" daughter would do. He also informed me he had power of attorney over her accounts and had cancelled her life insurance policies because they were costing to much. And not accept any phone calls from her as that would only increase her phone bills.
James' ex-wife brought mother to see me. My own mother did not know me and upon seeing that I started the leg work to get mom into a care facility. I thought she was finally safe and free from James.
James ex-wife called me once after mother went into care and told me she thought James might be abusing his authority over her accounts. When I pushed for facts and not hearsay she declined to provide me the proof as it would upset her relationship with her ex-husband, my brother. I consulted my father and started the wheels in motion with the public trustees office. Sadly it took several weeks before they contacted my ex-sister-in -law and by that time mother had passed. I could have pushed but why bother.
James was the one who called me to confirm mothers death and started berating me. I reminded him of a statement I had made years prior to not call me unless he was sober. I offered him no comfort and was direct when I said " the only bound that tied us together is now gone. You have no reason to ever call me again. Good bye".
When mother died it took me three days to freeze her assets as it was Christmas and the banks were closed. The one thing my darling brother had overlooked was mother's will of which I was the executrix. Only the lawyer who had drawn it up and I had copies. In those three days he and his then girlfriend depleted her accounts except for $235.00. He had previously removed a total of $14,000 dollars that was to be taken out monthly by the care facility. James would get to my mothers pensions minutes after they had been deposited.
It was suggested I take legal action against James. It had crossed my mind, but I had enough on my plate trying to get a handle on the grief; controlling and shutting down my emotions so I could get through clearing her indebted estate; following her last wishes; swallowing the anger and hatred I felt towards the boy I never liked; trying to get a footing after the death of my husband and then having a man I fell helplessly in love with leave me.
I felt my depression sucking me ever deeper into the abyss. I put all emotion aside and did what I had always done, been the strong responsible one and carried the burden through to the end.
Now I can finally set James aside. I have unloaded the garbage that was my brother and exposed the things I have never told anyone. I can finally bury him with my parents. I can view the words I have typed as if they happened to someone else and be objective. It doesn't matter if anyone else agrees James was a tyrant, these words are typed for me.
There will always be those people whom one dislikes instinctively. I have a great deal of compassion for James, he appears to be so tortured and I wish I could reach out and take his pain, just as I do for anyone who suffers. But like me he built his prison and only he can free himself from it.