May 18, 2013

Day 18: The Ant Hill story

Today's prompt:  Share a story from your childhood.  Dig deep....

(This is from the old archives of Simply Jenn-Sational written from October of 2007.  I have edited the story some and thought it fitting for today's "deep" post.)


I guess when I admit openly that I once tried to kill my brother, it sounds dreadfully awful. But it's true.  I had a murderous heart and did in fact wish my brother’s death.  Sadly, I had my reasons....

It was a crisp fall evening.  Even now, I can remember that night as if it were yesterday.  It was at the odd house on Greenthumb with the funny-looking fireplace that sat in the middle of the living room  - jet black, with a large pipe that hung from the ceiling.  Quite possibly the ugliest "fireplace" ever imagined. But, I also remember that this house didn’t have a connecting fence with the neighbors to the left of us. Which was fine by me since I made friends with the other Jennifer who lived next door.

There was a nice sized hill on the side of her house that rolled into ours and on this particular night, my cousin Chris and I were playing on this hill. We were having a great time rolling down the hill, laughing and carrying on as most 8 year-olds do, and there was my brother, tagging along in the games I was playing with my cousin. I suppose he just wanted someone to play with him too, but I was angry that I could never escape him. He was always around, always needing something.

My brother was born with severe birth defects that affected his digestive and reproductive systems. He was sown up from the back side to the belly button, had no genitalia, and had colostomies that emptied his waste on his side. His diagnosis was something called short-gut syndrome. Very rare, and very complicated. Because of his special needs, my brother required much attention - especially of my mother. I was jealous of him - he got all of the attention....all of her attention. And I wanted some of it.

And so, at the age of eight years old, I devised a way to eliminate him so I could get the attention I was so starved for.

While we were playing and rolling down this hill, I noticed a very large ant pile a little further down the way. I knew that if we were to roll down in that area, I would probably get stuck in this ant hill and be covered in them. I also knew if my brother were to get a number of ant bites, that he would probably get very sick and could possibly die from them. He was in the hospital even if he got a cold because his immune system was so poor. I was his big sister and he always listened to what I said or told him to do. So, I instructed him to roll further away from me so I wouldn’t tumble over him and then we could all roll down the hill at the same time.

But, I knew very well what I was asking him to do. I wanted him to land in the ant pile, get enough ant bites to make him sick....and then die.

I waited to see what would happen.

He went tumbling down the hill and landed in the ant pile. I still remember seeing the fire ants swarming his overalls. Immediately I was flooded with guilt after I saw hundreds of ants crawling all over him and wanted to come to his rescue.

I sent my cousin in to get my mom as I started ripping off all of his clothes.  In that moment, I was desperate to save his life and hoped that he would be okay. By the grace of God, my brother made it out of this incident without a single ant bite on his entire body - a huge miracle. I believe I had a few ant bites on my arms, but thankfully I was able to undress him and got them off of him before they did damage to his body.  He was fully undressed by the time my mom came outside and I was still brushing off his body to make sure he was ant-free.

The most wretched part of the story is that I was named the hero. I can still remember her getting on her knees, level with me.  Eye-to-eye she sobbed and held me in her arms and told me how much she loved me and was so thankful for me. That she was proud of me.  That I was the best big sister in the whole wide world....that I had saved his life.  Feeling her arms around me.  Seeing her look me in the eye with her tears - tears that were for me, tears that meant she loved me - that....that was everything I had wanted.  My mother's desperate, aching love for me.

When I look at the depravity of this situation, it makes me want to weep. I tried to kill my brother so my mother would show me that she loved me.

For a long time, I felt ashamed that I had wanted my brother dead and went to such devious means to see that it could happen. It was pre-mediated, thought out and planned. I wanted my brother dead so I could have attention from my mother - attention that I should have received regardless of how many health problems he had.  For years, I believed that I was simply a bad girl and bad sister, and if anyone knew what I really had done and intentioned, I would be disowned and then truly be alone.  It took years to see the truth in that wretched place.  A little girl desperate for love, affection and attention by her mother.  That very day led me down a long road - years worth of self-contempt, self-loathing.

I’m thankful that story didn't end with his death caused by my ant hill plot. I’m thankful the Lord intervened that day - especially in my little heart - and that the ants didn’t harm my brother. What saddens me now, is knowing that my hate and envy drove me to want to commit such a crime.  If I could go back and talk to my eight-year-old-self, I would tell her that I understand.  That I should have some of mommy's love too.

Mostly, I hold this great sorrow.  Knowing that the lack of love and affection in my home, especially by my mother, drove me to such a despicable thing.

What we all would do, just to experience love....

Me? Clearly, I would have killed for it.

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