Irma and I were talking and somehow we got around to the subject of her parents and her hard childhood. Oh my God I feel so sorry for her. It's so tragic that almost every latin woman I know has these terrible stories in their past. Oh I know, her grandmother used to keep rabbits, she had as many as three hundred and she built little houses and coops for them in her field. Irma has a really sick pedophile of an uncle who would steal the grandmother's rabbits and sell them. Irma told me that her uncle, the bastard, came in to her room at night when Irma was fourteen and tried to rape her. It was dark and Irma couldn't see but she could tell who it was by the sound and smell of him. He was drunk as well. Irma had a pipe in her room and she managed to grab it and swing hard against his arm and break it. After he left squealing she barricaded her door and spent the rest of the night alone afraid and crying. In the morning when the rest of the family awoke she went out and told them what happened. They all told her to keep quiet and not to make trouble, that her other uncle would kill Uncle Child Rapist if he found out. The uncle with the broken arm lied to everyone and said he fell down. The grandfather decided to keep the whole thing quiet because he didn't want to cause a scandal. Since then this sick man has attempted to rape two more children, maybe more, these are only the ones Irma has learned of, her nine year old sister, and her twelve year old cousin.
The worst story, well for me at least, the one that made me cry, was when Irma told me about her Father. All of the kids in her family were very close to their father. He was a good and loving man who worked very hard and never drank or spent his money on anything other than for his family. He worked so hard to get ahead that his family had just a little bit more than many of the other people in their little town and men were jealous. Irma wanted to be a nurse or a vet and he encouraged her. He told her he would send her to nursing school and all of her brothers and sisters had dreams for their lives that he supported as well. One night when Irma was nine years old two drunk men came by and began arguing with her father, taunting him and insulting him, picking on him because they were jealous. When he tried to push them away, one of the men pulled out a gun and shot her father in the head right in front of the family. The shot blew most of his head off. It hung on by just a small piece. He died instantly but his mouth moved up and down a few times, involuntarily, and Irma watched this. She got down on the ground next to his head, and with her hands tried to push "la sangre" back in to his head hoping to save him. She cried, "Papi Papi don't go, don't go, you promised you would never leave me!" Isn't that enough to break your heart?
After his death she was inconsolable. She climbed up a tree and wailed and wailed and refused to come down for a long time. It wasn't until her Mother took her to see a counselor of some kind and he told her that her grieving so hard would make her father suffer more on the other side, that she was able to let go a little bit. Through the years she has felt his presence around her, protecting her. A few years ago she was involved in a terrible four car accident on a busy street here in LA. There were three cars in the intersection stopped at a red light. Her car was in the middle. An out of control speeding car approached them from the rear. Unable to stop this car totaled the two cars on either side of her and left her car without a scratch. At the moment of the accident her father's face appeared to her in the glass of the window. He was smiling and reassuring her that she would be safe. Inside her car she watched as one of the cars lifted up in the air and moved past her. The woman in that car died instantly. The car to her left was so badly damaged that the firemen and the paramedics had to use the jaws of life to cut the man inside out. He had to be taken to the emergency room. The accident was so bad it made the news that night and no one could believe that Irma's car wasn't touched, not a scratch. How could this devastating accident have occurred on either side of her without in any way making contact with her vehicle? Miracles. Angels. I believe they are all around us.
Oh, and PS: The Verizon phone guys totally messed up our phones yesterday and now none of them are working right, grrrr.