I don't think I ask too much from the powers that be. I made it out alive from an abusive marriage. I have rolled with the punches when my Dad died a month before I was to move out there. He was going to teach me what he had learned on the family genealogy so I could continue. I was caregiver for my Mom for six years before she died in her sleep. My oldest brother Mike, died suddenly when the demons from Vietnam finally became too much and he started drinking heavily. I am now caregiver to one of my younger brothers with multiple sclerosis. All I'm asking for is just one miracle.

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My Dad and I were very close. I was an only daughter among four boys and he wasn't sure what to do with a girl so he treated me like one of the boys. I was a tomboy and loved playing football and baseball with him. Dad’s passion was genealogy and he traced our family tree. He told me once that I was the only child who was interested in the family tree and he was going to teach me what he had found out so that I could continue.

My therapist had warned me that I was in an abusive marriage and to get out but be very careful because they feared he would try to kill me if I left him. With the help of friends and money from my parents I got away. I had planned to move to the Midwest to be near my parents and far away from my ex. A month before the move, Dad was planting a bush and keeled over and was dead before he hit the ground of a massive heart attack.

Dad never was able to go through all the genealogy things with me. When cleaning up the house while preparing it for sale I had a filing cabinet full of genealogy papers and no idea what they were. I finally ended up dumping most of them because their was no one to explain what I was looking for in them. So far the only thing I have been able to add to Dad’s work was a birth date that I found online.

Mom asked me to come stay with her to help care for her. For someone who had always been so self-sufficient this was a major move on her part. Mom remained mobile throughout her life and died in her sleep. It was still a difficult six years. Mom never was able to understand me. It wasn't until the end of her life that she came to appreciate me for myself. I always knew that my oldest brother was her favorite.

Mom hated when her body was letting her down. She kept trying to do things that she could do before. One day she got really sick because a fogger she was setting off in the basement went off in her face. There was no way she was going to be able to get up the stairs before it went off but rather than wait until I got home from work to do it she insisted on doing it herself.

One of the hardest things to do was get her to eat properly. She was only 95 pounds when she died. I offered to cook but she insisted on doing it herself. I use a lot of spices in my cooking and Mom always wanted plain food. She would eat very little and I could never convince her to eat more.

Vietnam destroyed my brother Mike. He was never the same after he came back. He was married twice and both marriages failed. He had the only grandchild in the family. He lived with Mom but Mom asked me to come live with them since there were things a daughter could do that a son couldn’t. The truth was that Mike was hopeless and she looked after him. She wanted me to take care of him after she died.

I moved down to North Carolina to be near Mike’s daughter and three grandchildren. He was supposed to be getting the house ready to sell and was going to move down here to be near Berni and the kids. Instead he started drinking heavily and started having health issues. I kept asking if he wanted me up to help with the house but he insisted he was fine and had some things to do.

I got a call from the Emergency Room one evening, Mike has fallen and hit his head and was on the floor for three days before someone broke the door down and found him. He had broken his back. He was transferred to a hospital in Indianapolis and was doing better. They were doing therapy on his back when he suddenly threw up and the fluid got into his lungs. Oxygen was cut off to his brain and he lost consciousness and never regained it. He died a couple of hours later.

When I got back to the house it was trashed. The kitchen was wall-to-wall empty wine containers. He had been having intestinal problems. The upstairs bathroom was wall-to-wall feces and blood. His bedroom was also covered as well as the hallway and the downstairs family room. I sent his daughter and her husband and kids to a hotel and cleaned up the best I could so that she never saw the mess. I didn't want her memories of her Dad contaminated by the blood and feces. I'll have nightmares of it for the rest of my life.

When I went to try and clean up his finances I found that so called friends had taken advantage of him and he took the money Mom left him and invested it in their beauty supply store and massage parlor. He even put his car up as collateral for a loan. That money was his daughter’s inheritance.

Now I am caregiver for my brother Reid. He is younger than I am and looks 20 years older. The little boy next door thought he was my Dad. Reid has severe diabetes and multiple sclerosis. He looks like a walking skeleton at 5’6” and 108 pounds.

We are battling a crooked moving company and damage to his possessions. I haven't been able to get his apartment set up because he has been falling too much and even at 80 steps away from me he is in no shape to be on his own yet.

When I first saw Reid I was glad he couldn't see my face. I was shocked. I knew he was in a bad way but I wasn't prepared for a little old man in leg braces and a walker. I am finding myself doing a lot more than we had realized. My introduction to what the problems were going to be were when he first used my bathroom and couldn't get his pants down in time and I had to mop up the floor. Since then we have been using a urinal but even then there are times when his body won't obey and I have to clean him, the couch, and the floor up.

So powers that be I think it is time that you grant me one little miracle. You took my Dad suddenly. You took my Mom after reducing her to bent over old lady. You barely got me out of an abusive marriage in time and I still deal with the psychological scars from that time. You destroyed my brother in Vietnam and then waited many years to finish him off. You owe me a miracle. I want Reid to get better. I want his M.S. to go into remission and stay there. I want him to gain weight and be healthier. Surely one little miracle isn't too much to ask.

5:05 PM PT: Somehow this managed to post when I posted my Veteran's Day Diary. It should have gone up at 8:00 pm.

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