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And I Think I Have Problems?
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Tuesday, July 16, 2002
I am sitting in my bedroom, gazing out the bedroom window. I am presently sitting at my computer, working on the latest poem for AuthorsDen.com, which is a site for budding authors and poets; and I am also waiting for my friend, Kyla, to come over. She called an hour or so ago, and she really sounded upset.
You have got to understand Kyla and know what she is going through. Kyla Garcia-Melendez is a person who is having a lot of family problems, and it has really affected her emotionally. For starters, she is the daughter of an alcoholic parent (her father), and her mother is mostly unsympathetic; she refuses to admit that he has a problem. Add to this already stressful situation, the demands of caring for a sick younger sister who requires a lot of round-the-clock care because of severe cerebral palsy and brain damage (kind of like my little sister, Jodie, who is ten) and a little brother who is thinking of joining a gang. And consider her grandmother: her abuela is very old, and she has Alzheimer's. She doesn't know who she is or where she is at half of the time, and she should be in a nursing home; but her mom won't hear of it. So she has two sick people to take care of, and a husband who would rather spend his time at the bar with his chums and drinking the family's money away.
As a result of the problems described above, Kyla is often very depressed, and she has even considered suicide. She thinks that her situation is hopeless, and that nobody cares for her; but I keep telling her that EVERYONE has problems, and that nobody is immune to them; and that there are people who are having it a lot worse than even HER problems. She looks at me like I have horns growing out of my head and tells me I am crazy; but I try to encourage her and tell her the truth. I also tell her that suicide is NOT the answer because, for one thing, suicide is so--well, FINAL, and once it's done, the dead person can't be brought back to life again (unless Jesus does it). I also tell her that suicide would only make things worse for those people who care about and love her, that suicide is the easy way out of a problem.
Kyla may think she has problems (and it is clear that she does), but then, so do I. I mean, look at MY family and what they have to go through each and every day. No, my parents don't drink or do drugs (THANK GOD), but they DO have health concerns, and they are both physically disabled to the point to where they need things like canes or crutches to get around; and they often have to worry about bills or money because there are so many kids to take care of, and raising a family like mine is NOT cheap. It is downright EXPENSIVE. I have often heard mom and dad fighting about the bills, and then I always get scared because I then think that they are going to wind up getting a divorce and leave us kids. They also have to worry about several of the sicklier kids because they have serious health concerns that have required the services of an ambulance because one of them has suffered a severe seizure, or another kid has suddenly stopped breathing and we have found the kid lying on the floor, her face all blue and sweat-soaked. Or because a kid has fallen and hit their head and knocked themselves stupid or because another kid has had chest pains.
She doesn't know how bad I have it at times, especially when it involves the kids' health; such times are scary, and she doesn't know the fear and uncertainty that is involved because we never know if a kid is going to croak on us or not; and that is always upsetting. Especially if the paramedics are pushing on a kid's chest and breathing into them in order to revive them back into breathing again; such sights are rather commonplace at our house, and it is always a guaranteed stress inducer.
We also have to worry about people staring at us or making stupid or rude comments each and every time we go someplace. I realize that it isn't every day when one sees a family that consists of a couple in their mid to late 30's being followed by a seemingly endless stream of children, children of all ages, shapes, and sizes, and children of all colors, and children who are severely handicapped and have to rely on braces, crutches, or wheelchairs to get around, as well as children who are healthy.
So stares and comments, no matter how dumb or hurtful they may be, are apt to occur whenever we go out into the public eye. Most of the family members have learned to take it in stride (they don't really let the stares or comments bother them), but as for me, I happen to find it VERY ANNOYING. WHY can't people mind their own beeswax and learn to stay out of other people's business????
But I also have to realize that my problems pale in comparison to Kyla's. She has to deal with things like alcoholism and physical/mental/emotional abuse (her dad has hit her mom at times), sickness, and the possibilities of her brother joining a gang and possibly endangering the entire family's lives. Me, I only have to deal with sickness and nothing like drugs, drinking, alcoholism, serious debilitating illnesses that change a person's mental and emotional and physical state, and gang kids coming around to see the brother, "to see if he is still interested in joining up with the gang."
All I CAN do is try to be a good friend to Kyla and show her that I care, and I can try to offer her support and encouragement in her time of need. I can't walk away, especially now, when she is feeling so vulnerable and scared. That would be downright stupid if I did that; and it would absolutely DESTROY her.
I can also do something even more important than that: PRAY for her and her family's situation and hope that Jesus will intervene in that situation and bring them untold miracles and blessings. Jesus CAN change lives; after all, He has changed MINE.
Uh-oh. Ronee' is knocking at the bedroom door; she is saying that a girl is at the front door and she thinks it is my friend. I have to go and see if she is alright.
Oh, Jesus, thank you for bringing her to me and not letting her harm herself....
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