I’m the Lucky One: A Post From My Sister Diana

I am posting this at Diana’s request. I’m going to let it stand without comment, and will post a response soon.

TRIGGER WARNING: this piece involves child abuse and rape.

…..

For Cecily

By Diana Rutz

First and foremost I am happy to have found that I have a new sister Sharmell, as I was the day that I first found out about Cecily when I was twelve. As I read Cecily’s blog as all this unfolds it really breaks my heart that she and Sharmell see themselves as the ones not chosen. Honestly I don’t know enough about Sharmell to know how her life was growing up. I have read enough about Cecily’s to know it was rough and her mom struggled to do her best.

We – my full blooded siblings – are always described as the ones he raised. The thing that strikes me in this is, when has anyone has ever asked us how we were raised, what it was like, and how we struggled? Did anyone ever wonder why we stayed with our father?

We stayed with my dad because when I was five or six, my mother abandoned us and remarried the man she had an affair with. The last thing I remember is my mom telling me she was going to live with him and start a new family. After that, my paternal grandmother – who had already lost one grandchild through divorce – paid an extensive amount of money to ensure my dad retained full custody of the three of us.

My dad – who suffered from PTSD and Agent Orange poisoning from serving in Vietnam – was given custody, even though this required him to work and therefore struggle just as much financially as Cecily’s mother did. Due to his issues and medical problems, he bounced from job to job. We too were extremely poor and I was thrown at a ripe old age of 7 into the role of Mom. I cooked, cleaned and took care of my siblings. Living in Tacoma is mostly a blur as I was young.

These are the facts that I remember clearly.

When my paternal grandfather died in the 80’s we left Tacoma to come to New Mexico for the funeral. After we were here for a few days, my dad announced we were staying and not going home to WA. We had driven from Tacoma with enough clothes for a few days;  we started over. My father and Grandmother got into a fight shortly after we arrived, and she kicked the entire family out of her house on Christmas Eve. We lived in our car for a few months until we finally got an apartment.

My dad took a job as a semi driver and was gone for days at a time so he hired a live in babysitter. This is when life turned to hell. I don’t remember the baby sitter’s name but I will never forget her partner’s name. Tony lived with us as well, and almost instantaneously started his abuse.

I was raped every day for over a year and never said a word.

Tony threatened me and said that he would kill my siblings if I told. As I was the main care giver to them, I stayed quiet. My dad worked so much we rarely saw him; my grandmother was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s, so she wasn’t much help. Because I had no one to turn to, I made sure my brother and sister were left alone and I endured the abuse to keep them safe.

Until the day my brother stumbled into my room late one night cause he couldn’t sleep, and caught Tony in the act. My brother was older than me, so he tried to fight Tony, but how strong is a ten year old boy against a grown man? That night my brother was locked into his room by Tony as he tried to cover his sick tracks. Luckily, my brother was smart: he climbed out the window and went to his friends and called the police.

Shortly after that call, we were taken into custody by the State of New Mexico. Dad was notified, and we went through hearings and therapy but had to leave Carlsbad to protect me from people knowing what had happened to me. After this, my dad decided we needed a mother and placed an ad in a column to find a girlfriend. (Which he had never had after my mother left.) He met Katrina through this ad. Another hell began for me and my siblings.

Katrina had kids of her own, and they all moved in with us. The physical abuse started immediately. She would beat us regularly; and once again, my father was not there due to work. She had her sights set specifically on me and my brother; we were locked into closets, beaten, berated.

When my father was around she was an angel to us, but we knew the truth. We told our dad we didn’t like her, but he knew he couldn’t be around to protect us and thought she was protecting. This went on for a year or more .

Then Katrina started her campaign to have my brother placed into a mental hospital. His emotional outbursts and behavior were her reasons, and she stated she “feared for her kids.” My dad – only knowing that, yes, my brother was having violent outbursts – agreed, and sent him to live in a mental institution in Albuquerque. We all moved again to be closer to him, after we moved to Moriarty area.

But then Katrina had a violent outburst and chased my little sister until she caught her and knocked her unconscious in front of my father, and then he realized what the truth really was. He  got my brother out of the institution.  However, my brother did not come home. My brother went to live with my grandfather’s brother and wife, which was a god send for him. They were good Christian people took great care of him and encouraged him in school and sports; he lived with them for most of his teenage life, and my sister also soon after this moved there as well. I, however, was not that lucky; I was angry, emotionally fucked up, and began to take care of myself and just wanted to be left alone. Mind you, at this point of the story I am only about 11.

Around this time my mother decided to reappear in our lives. My sister and brother had minimal contact with her, but I did through letters and calls. At this point I was running free to come and go as I saw fit, but when I was arrested for breaking and entering  at age 11, my dad decided it may be best if I go live with my mother. He put me on a bus and sent me on my way.

My mother was a biker and drug addict who should not have even been given back a child.

I lived with my mom for a year before my sister missed me enough to move to El Paso as well. By this time I was 12, smoking pot daily, and doing meth and cocaine with my mom occasionally (my sister was not given drugs like I was until much later). My mom was married, but had a boyfriend on the side also named Tony, (I hate men named Tony) and we were immersed in the Banditos bike gang.

After one of the brothers kidnapped me to take to Cali to trade for meth, my mom and Tony decided we were leaving El Paso and moving to Louisiana. My mom packed us up and we moved there, I only lasted there for three months when I ran away 3 days before my 13th birthday and have been on my own since.

I was a stripper and a drug addicted runaway.

My sister was kicked out by my mother at about age 13, as well, and she too has been on her own. My brother lived with our aunt and uncle until he graduated high school and went to the military.

There is a lot that I’m not telling,  but am I luckier than the Cecily or Sharmell?

I don’t think so.

I think they were spared a life of horrible abuse. Yes: we all had a hard life,  yes, Cecily and Sharmell had no father but…

Did any one of us actually have a father in the true sense of the word?

I am not a writer like Cecily, but hopefully she has the courage to share this.

Comments Closed

Comments

  1. Carolyn says

    As a fellow survivor of rape and child abuse, my heart can see your pain. I am glad that you are sharing your story, regardless of how much or how little you choose to bring forth. Most people won’t understand the courage that it takes to write these stories, but your voice is very important. Thank you for coming forward, for paving the way for others to share their pain, and for refusing to keep such damaging secrets. I hope you have a safe, loved, and stable life now.

  2. Julie says

    wow. WOW. You all have had such amazingly difficult times growing up. It’s absolutely amazing that you all have each other now.

    Your story moved me, Diana. I’d definitely consider you a writer.

  3. Sarah says

    Holy hell. I’m so sorry Diana.
    No, none of you had the support you needed as children. All of you have healing to do. I’m glad you all know one another now and hope you can continue to build connections with each other based on what you share, rather than what you didn’t.

  4. dRC_M says

    Diana,
    You are one courageous chick to write your story. Thank you for sharing it with us. I don’t really know what else to say, other than I’m keeping you and your siblings in my heart.

  5. PurpleCar says

    Wow, Diana, if you can ever get the guts to do it, a memoir would be amazing. I don’t know how you managed to learn how to write in and amongst all of that pain, but you do it well. I hope writing is a lifeline for you and brings you peace when you need it. And hell, maybe even some money. Rock on, Sister.

  6. Amiyrah says

    Diana, I am so sorry for all that you went through, and so happy that you all have now found each other and can hopefully start enjoying life together. I think all of you have earned it.

  7. robin says

    I am blown away by your bravery. I have never- to anyone- articulated what happened to me. My instinct is to say something like “my story is not as bad as yours”- and it’s not, you endured more and for longer- but at the end of the day, a lost childhood is a lost childhood.

    I don’t do hugs, I don’t like to be touched. I imagine you’re the same way. But whatever emotional token I can give you from afar- I give it to you, wholeheartedly. For your bravery now, and then. I hope you can find healing.

  8. brigitte says

    not a writer like my sister but i love yall and our past is past gals we are strong because of or hard life and i would’nt have made it throw 2005 if it was’nt for my three beautiful kids . my whole life has been hard but we make our life as we see fit and i stand tall nowing we have survived it all .. we are strong women . i am proud to be the baby of all my sisters ……….

    • D. says

      Bless all of you, from the bottom of my heart. May you all find peace and healing and strength and support in each other and in your friends and family. I wish you all beautiful lives, and I hope that in some way this brings you all closer.

  9. Amy says

    I’m sorry you had no one to protect you and love you growing up. It must have been surprising to you when you first heard that Cecily feel she was the unfortunate one. I hope that as an adult you feel safe and loved. I hope sharing your story is a step towards being able to look forward towards a happier life.

    You truly did a beautiful job of expressing yourself in both word and sentiment. I don’t think a “writer” could have done a better job.

  10. S says

    Wow. Diana, no child should have to endure what you did. I am so sorry that you went through all that, and I agree: you didn’t have a father in the true sense of that word.

    I hope that, like Cecily, you have been able to overcome a difficult childhood and find happiness and stability as an adult.

  11. TheAvasmommy says

    That was stomach churning to read.

    I’m so sorry that your childhood was stolen from you in such horrible ways.

    Thank you for being brave enough to share that with all of us.

  12. Tine says

    I’m weeping. For all of you. But I’m amazed, too, at your strength. I’m so glad you’ve all found each other and am praying that you can help each other heal.

  13. Tamara Tipton says

    I am so sorry for all you suffered and amazed at your bravery in sharing. Thank you for telling us your story and reminding everyone that there are always at least 2 sides to every story. Often times more than that. What seems like a curse at the time is often a blessing and what is thought to be a blessing can really be a well disguised curse. I pray your life is better now and that you and all your siblings will be drawn together by the sharing your past, so that you can build a new future.

  14. SHARMELL says

    WE SISTERS ARE ALOT AKIKE, NO MATTER WHAT HOME WE LIVED IN IT SOUNDS LIKE WE ALL HAD OUR FAIR SHARE OF HELL… SO MUCH OF YOUR STORY IS MINE, WE WILL TALK SOON.

  15. Nikki says

    Wow. My heart breaks for you, Diana. There are no words to convey I’m sorry that you experienced so much instead of just being a kid.

    Here’s to hoping that there’s healing for you and Cecily…

  16. debi9kids says

    I am heartbroken.
    Reading about children going through what you endured… heartbreaking doesn’t even begin to describe it.
    I’m so sorry for what you have gone through and am amazed at your strength and grace.

  17. Thistle says

    Diana, thank you for sharing your story. You are a very brave woman and I wish all the best for you. I’m glad you girls found each other; I hope this is the beginning of a wonderful and fulfilling sisterly relationship for all of you.

  18. erica says

    I have never commented on your blog before, but I’m one of your twitter followers and found the post through your link. This story touches me so much. I work with you in Philadelphia who have the exact same kind of lives. When they reach me, they are juvenile delinquents. But what they really are = abused, neglected children. The youth I work with have suffered the same indignities- sexual abuse, neglect, sex work at an early age. I have so much compassion and respect for your sister for writing this. It’s also good to hear a story of an adult who has come through and survived. It gives me hope for the youth I see in this city every day.

  19. Pauline Gaines says

    I also work with teens who have had similar backgrounds and it’s unthinkable that children are treated this way. I also applaud you for having the courage to publish this. You are quite a survivor, and as far as I’m concerned, far more remarkable than many of the “1%” in this country.

  20. Diana says

    Thank you everyone it’s not strength that I have to write this, it’s just that lost little girl who desperately wanted a real family and most off all big sister to love me and protect me as I protected mine. I always have wanted a relationship with my sister Cecily and now with Sharmell as well. But due to the sins of my father I feel that it’s been taken too cause I was a chosen one. There are no winners or losers in this it is just the fucked up hands of cards we were delt. And my favorite saying of all time is what doesn’t kill me made me stronger.and yes I do have a better life now. I have a beautiful daughter a wonderful boyfriend the only thing that would make it perfect if I owned my own hot air balloon but one day I will. I love Cecily more than she even realizes and my fondest memory in that time frame was meeting her one day I will meet Sharmell and that day will join in the memory as another great day.

    • Kate Cooper says

      Wow. One of the comments above that sticks with me is that “a lost childhood is just that…a lost childhood.” I know that the foundation of this blog isn’t religion or spirituality…but damn…wow. Phew. and yeah…JesusMaryAndJoseph….prayers for all as you tenderly move forward as women and sisters. I’m thankful to have stumbled onto this blog and story last week.

      ~ Kate

  21. Ninotchka says

    Sarah couldn’t have said it better. So sorry for the hell that you went through. It’s amazing what the human spirit can survive and rise above. I wish you all nothing but love, understanding and healing. May you find the bonds and joy together that you were robbed of as children apart.

  22. Bella1 says

    Thank you for sharing your story. You write beautifully. No one has a bigger heart than Cecily and may you two keep each other (and hopefully your other sisters) in your hearts and look forward to a future of love and joy. I hope you always have each others’ backs.

  23. Alexicographer says

    Hi, Diana. Let me second what Nikki (and others) said. I’ll admit, I had wondered about your and Cecily’s dad, that is, I understood Cecily’s sorrow at his departure/abandonment (sort of, and I say that because not having experienced it I don’t imagine that I truly get it), but at the same time, it didn’t seem like he was someone who was able/willing to be a “good” dad, because of what he did in abandoning Cecily. Sounds like that instinct/idea wasn’t wrong.

    I hope you and all of your siblings will find ways to forge strong and loving ties between you.

  24. jeanieinparadise says

    Oh, I am so sorry that you – and all of your siblings – have been given rough hands to play.

    I am hoping that, by giving you all each other, you are able to create and encourage the bonds of loving people for each other.

  25. Theresa says

    Your story also moved me to respond. I have read this blog for something like 9 years and watched this story unfold. I just have to share some hope. I was raised by mother as an only child. Impoverished and many things mirror Cecily’s experience (except my mother was a raging alcoholic). I had 2 half brothers but didn’t know it until I was around 8 yrs old when I met the oldest. He left Utah angry and I didn’t talk to either of them until I in 9th grade. I met both and spent an afternoon on a santa cruz beach. When I was 16 and pregnant with my first daughter I lost all contact with both brothers. I briefly remember my middle brother coming to visit but I was so strung out that I was just grateful someone wanted to take her off my hands for an evening. When I was 23 I got clean, and at 24 made contact with that middle brother. From that time until now we have worked to build a sibling relationship. In 2008 Me and both my brothers celebrated the 4th of July in the nations capital. This was the 2nd time we all 3 were in one place together. It was also the first time I had spent a week with either of them. Last Thanksgiving I hosted the holiday and my brothers traveled from their respective states. This was the 2nd time my mother had her 3 children in one place and it was the first holiday we shared with her and all of us. This has been a long road of dispelling beliefs about one anothers lives, finding the commonalities and developing a friendship. We have loved, I believe from the time we met but not the way siblings who grow up together do. God created this path for us for a reason. I know for me I don’t take them or any moment together for granted. I treasure them and value them because I know it was possible we would never have had contact again. Keep working on it you sisters and brothers. The Journey is Worth It!!!!!.

  26. 4katnap says

    I think Just maybe, Finding Sharmell is a good thing for all of you. Especially if you finally get to know each other and can come together as the family you never had. HUGS and prayers for you all.

  27. Jo-Ann says

    You are amazing to have survived and then chose to thrive. You need to tell your story as all the people above have said over and over. I hope all of your siblings as adults have the relationships you need to have to help you heal.

  28. Michele Albert says

    Diana,

    I am so sorry for what you had to endure, thank you for sharing your story. Let me know if you have a fund started for that balloon, I would be happy to help you soar…..

  29. Naomi says

    There are so many different ways of seeing things. My husband always envied his best friend in high school since his parents seemed “normal” and he always had cool clothes and stuff. Recently he learned that he was also beaten and emotionally abused; his friend had always felt the same way about his family.

    Everyone has their struggles. I’m just glad that you are all connecting now. I wish you had been there for each other when you were younger.

  30. Cassandre says

    My heart aches for all of you. I pray for healing and closure for you all. May the years ahead be a time for all of you to connect and love and get to know each other.

  31. Korinthia Klein says

    This is heartbreaking. I’m so sorry. No child should ever have to endure such cruelty and neglect. You deserved so much better, and I wish I had the power to fix it.

  32. kandi ann says

    Oh wow. Your a survivor. I am too. I get this. I always find it hard to believe such a hard life I had and wonder if people will think less of me fo what I endured. But this brought me to tears and all I feel is a deep admiration at your survival. Your sister is so strong too. I guess the genes you got for being awesome tough woman run deep.

  33. Sarah says

    Diana, no. None of you had what you needed or deserved. I hope you have found people to live and care for you.