I’m tired of being the strong one in our dysfunctional family. Growing up, younger siblings counted on me being strong. To have the grit and strength to help them through abusive and life-altering situations.
Over the years, the strength to persevere became unshakable due to domestic violence and other life-altering events. I’ve never questioned or lost the ability to be the strong one.
The strength to survive was built-in and always available whenever needed.
Being the Strong One
That is, until June 6th of 2014, when my brother, Clarence fell down at a Mental Health Facility in Albany, New York. While falling, he struck his head on the floor and sustained severe brain damage. Rushing him into emergency surgery, doctors removed some of his frontal brain and skull.
Once again, yours truly had to be the strong one, to step up and do my Mothers job. My sister and I were to make the final decision to remove his life support. My sister’s husband was in surgery, so I told her not to worry, I’ll handle it.
Driving down I-88 to Albany Medical Center brought repressed memories to the surface and reopened old wounds. Turning the corner onto New Scotland Ave became extremely difficult.
Memories of the past, being abused, running in fear and my son’s open heart surgery came rushing back. Seeing the ER reminded me of that day. The day my husband hit me over the head causing blood to pour down my face. And the trip to the ER to receive twenty-six stitches to close the wound.
Losing all Strength
On the way home from the hospital; I broke down emotionally and cried tears of pain and heartache. I began thinking; I’m tired of being the strong one, and always doing her job.
I lost all strength that day (June 6, 2014).
I decided to remove his life support out of love for him. I’ve worked in the healthcare field for over twenty years; I knew the hope for recovery was slim. I didn’t want him to be bed bound and suffer.
Our siblings were furious with us for making that decision too. I left them a card on the bedside table at the Hospital. Prayed for them and told them that I loved them.
That day, I leaned on the rock, the Lord Jesus Christ and prayed for strength. The Lord answered my prayers and gave me His strength.
Later in the evening, the phone rang, another sister called saying, “mom want’s to know if you are going to let her bury her son.” Furious I said; “of course she can bury her son. I shouldn’t have to keep doing her job. Please don’t call me anymore.”
Later, I realized not everyone has the Lord’s strength. Not everyone has the ability to be the strong one by the grace of God. Some victims, like my mom, are powerless and give others power and control over them. And never find the Lord’s strength.
I praise God for His strength, goodness, and mercy. I pray he can forgive me for being angry and acting in anger too.
Prayer for My Brother
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:4-6 KJV
In Loving Memory of My Brother, Clarence F Carleton who Passed on June 7th, 2014.
Obituary of Clarence F Carleton
You’re in God’s hands. Love Linda