When I was 9 my mother escaped for her life from my abusive father. There were 4 children in the family and she took the two youngest to leave with her sister while she went to find a place to live (This is pre-JW). She left the oldest of the boys (18 months younger than I was) and I with the parents of one of my school friends. The plan was to find a place to live, get work and eventually pick up all 4 kids.
Well, my father found out where Larry and I were and picked us up. My mother decided that since she had the two youngest he could have the two oldest. This despite the fact that she knew he was physically and emotionally abusive to the kids and that he was a sexual deviant. I don?t think she knew how deviant though to be fair.
Since I was the oldest child it was always my responsibility to watch over the younger kids. After my mother left I wound up with the responsibility of caring for Larry on a full time basis. We lived in boarding houses so our meals were made but the rooms were my responsibility as well as doing the laundry at the laundrymat and making sure Larry was ready for school or band practice or bed. I became his surrogate parent for the next three years.
When the sexual abuse by my father was reported when I was almost 12, Larry and I were sent to live with our mother. I was thrilled to be reunited with my mother and other two brothers and to discover that I now had a one-year-old sister. Quickly I was given the responsibility of caring for a one-year-old child. I got her up in the morning, fed her, changed her and took her to the babysitter before I went to school. After school I picked her up and took her home and took care of her until hse went to bed. So I became her surrogate parent.
After a year the sexual abuse by my stepfather was discovered and the elders (my mother and he were studying) I was sent to live in foster care. I suffered terrible homesickness for the next three years. I missed my siblings. For years my value had been in caring for them. Now that was gone. During that time I don?t recall getting any letters or having any contact. (Seems shunning is nothing new in this family.)
After the first year in foster care I was at a store and just leaving when I ran into Larry. I was stunned. I had no idea he had been sent back to live with his/our father. So my mother had gotten rid of him when he was still a child. I really missed him but we had no more contact. I was too afraid of my father finding out where I was and Larry never told him.
At 16 my foster mother sent me back to live with my mother. By then the stepfather was gone and everyone thought it was safe for me to go back home. Well, my mother quickly put me in charge of the 3 remaining children while she went to work. By this time she was baptized so meetings were a regular part of our lives. But for me the family was not complete. We were still missing one child ? Larry. And I did miss him.
The week before I got married we went to Toronto for a convention and my mother arranged for both my father and Larry to come to the convention during the lunch period and see his sons. During this meeting we had a family picture taken of all five children. That was in 1970. It was the last time all 5 of us would be in the same place at the same time.
I saw Larry again just after the birth of my second daughter in 1976. He came to my home for a brief visit and then he left the country. He lived in the East for many years and we would occasionally hear news about him but never from him. At one point we hear that he had been caught in the crossfire in the war in Cambodia. The report did not know if he was dead or alive. So we spent the next 20 years wondering.
About 5 years ago we discovered that Larry was in the Philippines. He was under arrest and the Canadian government was trying to get his released to Canada. I was able to speak with him a couple of times while he was in jail there. He was finally released a couple of years ago and he moved to Toronto. Although we communicate occasionally the distance over the years and the childhood separations have done their damage. We are strangers.
He is talking about moving west. I am thinking of moving east. I don?t know if the connection will happen. Money is a factor. Health is a factor. And distance - always the distance.
But my heart and my arms ache for that little boy that I took care of. I miss him despite all the problems that a child has who is raising a child. I ache to look into his face and see the boy I loved. But I am so scared that won?t happen.
Thirty-five years is a very long time. We knew each other when we were still kids ? little kids. We each have lived a whole life since then. There is so much to tell and it would never be enough to say how much I missed him. How many times I have thought of him over the years ? wondering if I should mourn his death or hold out hope. A part of me says I should be satisfied that he is alive and safe. But another part wants to see and hold him, to know he is real and to see the boy in his face.
I woke this morning with a pain in my heart