My cousin tried to kill her husband in his sleep via a hammer to the head. While her three girls slept in the same house, she crushed his skull. She called the police and told them she was protecting herself. I don’t know the real story of why, and my guess is no one ever will, not even my cousin (people who know what’s going on don’t crush other people’s skulls while they sleep). Her husband died a month later in the hospital. Their 3 children now live with a grieving and bewildered grandmother, their father dead, their mother in jail.
I haven’t talked to my cousin in 7 years, haven’t seen her since I was 11. I never met her husband and children. I didn’t even know about this horrible event until 4 months after it happened, when on a sunny day last week, while standing at the top of the tornado slide at the playground with my own children, my little brother called to tell me the news. (He’s always been the one to gently remind me that I have family outside of my own four walls – without ever making me feel guilty about staying as far away as I can.)
Mental Illness is a close friend of the family, as is long gaps in communication, and strange occurances with relations, heaven bless them, don’t really surprise me much these days. I’m usually prepared … any time my brother calls, I am prepared to hear something shocking, prepared to hear that whatever it is happened months ago. Prepared to cushion my emotions carefully by the hard calcification of expectation, but this… this is crushing me. There is not one person who I can at least seem to reasonably articulate this to, all so surreal when spoken aloud… the irony of putting it online for anyone to read. Maybe you can relate.