In a few weeks I will be going to Mexico. My 40 Year Old Sister, Maria is autistic.
I am to transport her from the home she has known all her life in Mexico City to an Asylum in Costa Rica.
I was 10 years old when Maria came into the world. She has these amazing blue eyes. Clear and Soft. I was so happy. My mom and I took her to a baptism in a small church in San Pedro, Costa Rica. She was named Maria del Milagro (Mary of the Miracle) because my mother had German measles during the pregnancy and Maria came through anyway.
I loved holding her and rocking her in my arms
About a year into her life we realized that she was partially deaf. I still see her sitting on the floor looking into space in a world of her own as if in Awe of something.
Tests soon followed and she was diagnosed with Autism.
At that time my Mom was living at an Inn with my brother and I. My dad had left the country and she fell apart. We were poor but somehow happy. My mom was very tender during that time. Other moods and dark scary scenarios were to follow but at that time she was very sweet.
When Maria would cry my mom would often soak her pacifier with honey.
The family elders intervened. My mother could not handle the situation. 3 kids. Very little education and she was depressed and drinking.
Maria went to live with my very wealthy relatives in Mexico. My Uncle managed Pepsi when Joan Crawford was the Ceo. So off we went. Maria, my brother and I. Maria was to remain in Mexico to get the best care availabe at the time and my brother and I were to go to the States with aunt and Uncle.
I saw Maria through out the years. My beautiful little sister. Innocent.
She would sometimes rock and rock herself for hours on end mumbling and making strange sounds. every now and then she would be present with me. I remember making her laugh when we were on a swing. I remember loving her and being grateful for that bit of communication between us.
She would ask who I was when she finally was able to be somewhat present. Medications, speech therapy, etc. She was told I was her cousin. We did not want to confuse her. She thought my cousins whom she lived with were her brothers.
There is so much I can say about her. She could be funny, very interested in pop culture, hard to understand when she would speak and of course subject to waves of inexplicable aggression and Isolation. Sometimes when she would rock back and forth on the floor I would get down with her and rock along and mumble for hours with her.
Well, my aunt and uncle in Mexico are in their 80's now and Maria of the Miracle has become more aggressive. She is off her meds. she took off her hearing aids. My aunt and uncle fear for their lives.
I am humbled and honored to do this for her. My family has chosen me to take care of this. What a gift!
I get to love her and nurture her during this Change for her and the entire family.
I can not wait to look into her blue eyes again. I wonder if I can make her smile?
October 14, 2008 update......I am told that Maria does not cut her hair, she is overweight, she quit wearing undergarments and often walks around the house beating furniture with a stick. She will stay up alone in the dark at night. My aunt and uncle have moved to San Diego and are having second thoughts about sending her to an asylum in Costa Rica. However, she has gotten worse. I will provide them with what services are available in San Diego for women like my little sis. From the information I have care in the States will be challenging. Thank you, friends, for asking about her. I "see" her in Costa Rica with family members loving her there. I will hold that vision for her. The thought of her in a residential setting for perhaps years without the comfort of those who know her breaks my heart. I got really emotional this afternoon when talking to folks from Autism organizations. Her plight triggers something for me that I can not quite articulate. When I cry about her it feels very pure. I wonder if it is that 10 year old boy that felt and experienced a deep loss of innocence just before leaving Costa Rica the one that is crying? Or is this man that I am now just simply loving his little sister and wants to ease her woe? There is an important medicine here it seems. It is as if some last bit of soul retrieval is gently taking place when I view it through shamanically. Perhaps. So onward......