Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Cactus and Rose Bushes
Five miles away from where my parents lived their last days on this earth, a woman and her four children were found hanging in their trailer's only bedroom. The woman's sister found them, the youngest baby still alive, having managed to work her way out of the arm of a yellow sweater that had been placed around her neck. The sister called the police and told them to come quick, that her sister was "sick really bad" and needed help. I can see the scene, the rows of trailers surrounded by cactus and rose bushes, by children's toys. It's a bleak, poverty-ridden stretch of road, the stuff of not so quiet desperation and crystal meth addiction, a place you don't choose but you end up there all the same. The neighbors say the standard lines about the woman who committed this act -- She was a good mother, happy, played with her girls. I guess you could say that she was a crying on the inside type. At 23, she already had four girls under the ages of five for which to care. It's not difficult to see her world, as circumscribed as her makeshift nooses.
Texas has had a fair share of mothers who murder their children and the most famous, Andrea Yates who drowned her four boys in the bathtub, was a nurse at MD Anderson during my mother's stay in their famed gynecological cancer ward. I saw her from time to time, and she looked a little strung-out and appeared to never wash her hair. She had that thin, haunted look of someone whose eggroll is wrapped a little too tightly, but that hardly prepares one for the horrible morning in which she chased her sons down to drown them in a bathtub and cover their little bodies with sheets. The latest filicide cases haven't resulted in the death penalty which Texas loves (provided that the mother doesn't kill herself along with the children) -- but lie under the umbrella of the insanity defense. Andrea Y. said that she believed the children were possessed by Satan, that the demons got to her and their voices drowned out the sounds of everything else. The sister who found her nieces hanging in the trailer said that things were eerily quiet until the tiniest baby started to cry, struggling to hang to a life already haunted by its extraordinary beginning.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"You have folded up my life, like a wever who severs the last thread." Isaiah 38:12
Drinking music suggestion: Rain Dogs Tom Waits
Benedictions and Maledictions