My first memory is of my mother being sick.
I was born in Colorado and when I was nine months old, my dad, my mom, and I moved to Oregon. Six months later, we moved to California. Six months after that, my sister was born. I was two.
At that point, my mom contracted staph. She was sick for a year and almost died. She was in bed for basically that whole year. For the first six months of her illness, ladies, including my grandmother, came to our house to take care of my mom and my sister and me. (And my dad, too.) After that, my sister and I were each sent to a different family to live.
We did not personally know the family that I was sent to live with. They were a deacon and deaconess in our church. They had three teenage sons. I remember that they had a triple bunk-bed.
Other memories of the time include me standing in a darkened room beside my mom’s bed with her lying in it. I have a memory of asking the lady I lived with for a pear and her telling me no. I remember a nightmare I had while living at their house about a demon that looked kind of like a Chihuahua living in one of the stereo speakers in their living room.
I got to come home on week-ends. My mom said I was bouncy and cheerful when I came home, but by the end of the weekend, I had taken on the responsibility of taking care of her and I seemed burdened.
My mom was finally well enough for me to come home when I was three.
So, why am I thinking about this?
I’ve been reading the book my brother recommended, “How We Love.” The underlying premise of the book is that you are imprinted early in life about the way you respond to others. This is especially true in marriage. So, basically, what kind of relationship you had with your parents – and possibly others at a young age – greatly influences how you relate to your spouse. The book helps you identify your “love style” and that of your spouse, and shows how husband and wife can work together to comfort one another, to better connect to one another, therefore building a stronger marriage.
I had to stop reading the book because it became too painful for me to think about the hurt in me and the hurt in others, but it is a very thought-provoking, eye-opening book. I will finish reading it and it has already given me a lot to work with within myself.
I asked my husband to read it, so we’ll see if that goes anywhere.
I can see traits in myself, thought-processes that seem to stem from my childhood experiences. The book gives suggestions on how to retrain the thinking process, so maybe I can become a healthier person. Even if my marriage doesn’t become healthier.