Friday, February 16, 2018

Remembering My Sister

I had only one sister growing up named LaQueta Ann. She was actually my half-sister. My mother married a man named Dalton right before he went off to World War II. When he came back they realized they didn’t love each other and got divorced. Only drawback was a beautiful little girl, 2 years old, with jet black hair. Her father was half Indian and she looked just like him.

Nobody wanted LaQueta. She got shipped to this aunt and that uncle. She was abused. No one wanted or cared about her. By her teens, she was as wild as the wind. She loved to dance and would sneak me out of the house to go with her to bars when I was only 15. Over the years, she and I remained best friends in spite of hell and high water.

Then she met this man named Raymond. He was a long-haul truck driver…very good looking – life of the party type of guy. They got married after only dating a few months. Then my sister got pregnant and he took a job hauling gasoline in Houston. So they moved there and got a nice place and their lives were just amazing.

In all those years, I had never seen MyQueta so happy. She finally had her own home, a loving husband and a baby girl on the way. Finally, all the angst, abuse, neglect, and anger was gone and she was just a regular happily married woman. No one deserved happiness more than her. She was the type of person you could call anytime day or night and she would come help you out of whatever jam you were in. She always had some great plan to fix everything.

Then in 1969, Raymond was driving his tanker full of gasoline on a freeway in Houston. It was rush hour and Houston highways are famous for traffic jams and accidents. It’s one of the worst cities in America for drivers. Maybe he was driving a little too fast. After all, he had a beautiful wife and baby to get home to.

He came barreling down Katy Freeway right into a big traffic accident with cars already sideways in the road and off in ditches. He slammed on the brakes of the big truck as hard as he could and the trailer jackknifed and exploded. The whole area went up in flames. It was suddenly a horrific traffic jam that would kill Raymond instantly. The fire burned for six hours. It was later that night before the fire department was able to put out all the flames. The highway was shut down for several days. People in Houston hate that sort of thing.

My sister was in Dallas at the time visiting me and our mom. When she heard the news, she collapsed. They called me at work and said, “Come home quickly. Something terrible has happened!”

In my lifetime, I’ve lost beloved grandparents, parents, siblings, favorite aunts, both my brothers. But this loss was different. My sister and I were so close that I could FEEL the horrifying anguish in her soul. I could sense her devastation. It was all-encompassing. It was the most awful feeling you can ever experience. There was no cure for it. There was nothing anyone could do to make things better or take away even a sliver of the pain my sister was feeling.

All I could do was kneel beside her as she knelt beside her bed praying and crying. I put my arm around her and held her and prayed with her. We knelt there crying and praying for a while as family members watched with tears streaming down their faces. Everyone wanted to say or do something to make her suffering go away but no one could…not even God.

We somehow put together a funeral, though there was nothing left of Raymond to bury…nothing but ashes. Then after the funeral, there was the terrible act of having to return to life. How do you return to normal after an event like this?

My family stayed close and in touch during the next few years. LaQueta spent a few years putting together photo albums for every family member. Then she started having jewelry made for mother and me and others. She tried to stay busy so her mind wouldn’t have time to think about what had happened.

She was still so depressed, so she went to the doctor. The doctor gave her valium and sleeping pills. At first, this seemed to help but then before anyone realized it, she was taking way too many pills each day. She had found a way to stop thinking about Raymond…just take several valium, several sleeping pills or whatever pills the doctor dished out. These pills made her oblivious to everything.
Within a couple of years, she was addicted to most of them. She’d go to a psychiatrist and get pills from him, then go to her regular doctor and get pills from him and then go to some specialist and get pills from him.

During the next few years, she would overdose on valium, pain pills or sleeping pills about once a month. I hated getting those phone calls—“Come quickly! LaQueta has overdosed again. She’s at so-and-so hospital.”

We’d sit with her for a few days and finally she would be released and go home. We’d try to spend more time with her. We encouraged her to take up a hobby. For a while she wrote greeting cards. She seemed to like doing that. She was good at making up those sappy sayings for all types of greeting cards. But she quickly grew tired of that. It wasn’t enough to keep her from thinking about what had happened to her beloved Raymond.

Nothing was enough. Then on a cold February morning in 1978, she finally ended her sad, miserable life. I could never explain to anyone how overwhelming this was to me. She had always been my idol. I loved her more than anyone on the face of the earth. She was the ONLY person who really knew me but still loved me.

I wept and wept…We had to plan another funeral. She was laid to rest next her husband and a beautiful headstone was placed there that said how Raymond and LaQueta would now be together for eternity. I didn’t know whether that was true or not. I just knew that I’d lost the one person I could always rely on, the one person who would love me no matter what. It was the most devastating loss of my lifetime and took years to recover from.

Finally, I had to go on with my life. I had already seen the terrible things that can happen if you let yourself get stuck at some horrific life-event and refuse to move forward. I moved reluctantly though. I missed her every day for years.

Her little girl went to live with my sister’s father in Houston. He was pretty devastated too. After all, he had lots of guilt over NOT being a decent father to his daughter when she was growing up. So now he wanted to raise LaQueta’s child to make up for all those bad years.
But he and his new wife were terrible parents. They were way too lenient and the grandmother was a religious freak, so she was always telling people they were going to hell if they didn’t do what she wanted them to do.

I felt sick about my niece growing up in such a place with people like that. But this is what my sister had written in her will and my husband and I did not have the money to get a lawyer, go to court and try to get custody of the little girl. Still, I tried to be there to help out as much as possible. I’d suggest vacations and invite them to Dallas to stay with us. I was trying to create as many good positive memories for this child as possible. I wanted her to grow up normal and have a great life…not some horrible existence where you have to take drugs each day just to deal with your pain.

In spite of all my prayers and efforts though, the little girl grew up rebellious and angry. Her parents had been stolen from her at a young age. She was raised by clueless older folks who were completely out of touch with reality and her needs.

It has been a long, harsh journey for us all but the little girl is grown now and she is following in her mother’s footsteps. She makes all the wrong choices, then blames everyone else for her mistakes. She is an alcoholic and drug addict. She hangs out with dangerous people and always carries 2 guns and a knife. I shudder to think of the places she’s been and the crimes she’s committed.

In spite of all this, I’ve always stayed in her life. I’ve always loved her, forgiven her and prayed for her. But she’s become so toxic that I’m not sure how much longer I can do this. She loses control sometimes and says and does terrible things. She got angry at her husband and slashed all 4 tires on his truck, then carved a filthy phrase in the tailgate of his truck with her knife.

I feel like she is one of those people who could lose it completely, walk into a busy place and shoot several dozen people before anyone realized what was happening. But what do you do about that? Who do you tell? How do you stop a thing like that from happening?

I feel so sad for her. I’ve tried so many times to get her to stop her crazy behavior and get back in church. I tell her that God will heal her and help her if she will just let him. She laughs at me and thinks I’m a fool.

I don’t see a happy ending for this story. And I have to say that many of my own personal stories did not have happy endings. Most days, I go outside and take a deep breath of the air. I let the wind blow across my face. I whisper to God, “I’m still here. I’m still alive. I made it one more day.”

He and I both seem surprised that I’m still here, but perhaps God has a few more challenges, a few more experiences for me. Perhaps my prayers will eventually help my niece to give up her insanity and dysfunction and try to build a good, wholesome life she can be proud of. I don’t know anymore though. I don’t have any answers and life stopped making sense for me in the year 2000. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


In this dream,
We ride up on stallions
Arriving at an old house.
The years have beaten it,
Though a glimmer of its
Once-splendid glory
Still twinkles thru the sunlight.

This dream finds us dismounting
Breathless and alive
Laughing unabashedly
Involved in a moment
That will last a lifetime.

We run toward a front porch,
Half fallen—rotten,
Landing abruptly together.
Your brown eyes belie me
Opening my soul
To their charm.
How can I exist without you?

Love that spoils the others forever
You sweep me to you
Hot breath against my skin
And drink me—
In one full sweeping gulp.

I am lost.

Time explodes
And scatters us
Into the distance
Like cosmic speck
Or meteor dust.

Copyright 2004- Carolyn Sorrell - All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What To Do After Your Death

One thing most people don’t know about me is that I had a major emotional breakdown in the year 2000. It came after some tragic events occurred in my family.

I’ve written about it some but it’s hard to find words to express what happened. The best way I can describe it is to say that the old person who lived in this body died and a new person was not born for several years.

Up to the year 2000, I knew nothing about mental breakdowns. What essentially happened in my life was that the old person died, but my body did not die. So basically, you’ve got this living, breathing human body with no mind or personality in it. How do you function?

That first year, I did not function. I just walked through every day like a Zombie. I did things automatically without thinking. The second year, all my emotions came alive and I would laugh and cry at everything. It was truly an emotional rollercoaster. One moment you’re laughing hysterically about something that’s not really funny, and the next you’re wailing like somebody just ran over your dog.

Year 3 was better. Things settled down some. I made the easy decision to kill myself. No muss, no fuss. It’s over. Sayonara. It was fun but I gotta go.

During that time frame, I started watching a BBC program called, “The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin”. Reggie hates his life and decides to end it all. So he goes down on the seashore, takes off all his clothes and walks out into the ocean.

Only, instead of drowning, he returns to shore. He walks naked to a house and steals some clothes. He changes his appearance and makes up a new name and whole different past for himself. He goes to work at a blacksmith’s shop. He’s got a new life and all the old people think he’s dead so they bury him and go on with their lives.

I got this wild idea that I could do that too. So I divorced my husband and took a job traveling a lot for the government doing disaster relief. I went all over the US and Puerto Rico working hard but having a blast. I made friends, drank too much, did lots of drugs and left a guy in every town I visited.

Sadly, I eventually had to go home. There was still this house where we had lived together … there were all these furnishings and things from this old person’s life. It was soooo hard to go home. I cried many tears over it but eventually had no choice. The hurricanes, floods and tornadoes finally stopped coming and I had to go home.

I had to deal with the ghosts, the demons, the hideous memories. It made my Top 5 List of hardest things I ever had to do.

Unfortunately, you just can’t run away from yourself. As they say, “Wherever you go, there you are.”

So I did go home. I did what had to be done. Eventually, I left the suburbs and moved to Dallas to live in the Big City with people everywhere and so much noise and traffic. God began healing me even though I fought to stay broken. Somehow after 5 years or so, things did get easier. I guess Time really does heal all wounds. My mother used to say that.

Gradually, a new person was born who managed my life better. The old person was dead and gone, the Interim person was self-destructive, but the new human that God helped me build, was strong enough. She had learned the hard way, NOT to trust the humans. Only trust the Lord … he’s the one who won’t leave you when times get tough.

She took over and ran things well. She was much stronger than the original owner of the body. She was more level-headed and not so emotional. She worked hard earning a living for us and she got her butt to church every week and to counseling sessions … she really worked hard to help us get healed.

God did eventually heal me but I resisted at first. I had built a huge Altar to my Pain and that is where I worshipped every day. I was not at all interested in burning that Altar to the ground and getting well. That Altar was the last remnant of my old life and family. Though it was completely dysfunctional, I knew it well and wasn’t willing to burn it down and get on a more healthy path.

It’s funny how things work out though. The ending to my story could have been very tragic if God hadn’t been so persistent. I have a feeling that if He ever gives up on me, I’m in real trouble. But when I was a young woman and first got saved, He gave me this scripture from Isaiah 43:1-
"Fear not for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name and you are mine. WHEN (not if) you pass thru the waters, I’ll be with you. WHEN you pass thru the Fire, you will not get burned.”

So I walked all the way through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I didn’t drown and I did not get burned. The person I am today is stronger and smarter than the old one. She knows better than to trust humans. They’re weak, they sin, they leave you. I also learned that God will never let you down. Even if you don’t deserve help or want it, He will still help you.  

You can read more about my journey, here.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Humans, An Interesting But Limited Edition Lifelike Organism

I was watching Law and Order yesterday and they aired one of those programs about human smuggling. This guy had a tractor trailer and he would haul about 60 Mexicans across the border twice each month. He was earning $240,000 per month doing this.

But the air conditioner failed in the trailer and 12 of the people died so the inspectors from Law and Order had to solve the case. Stories like this are especially sad because they occasionally do happen. Every couple of years, we’ll see a story like this on TV where people were left to die in a hot truck or trailer. It doesn’t matter if they were illegal aliens or not! We’re all human beings…that’s what matters.

These are humans that deserve a certain level of dignity and respect whether they have a different culture and even if they’re uneducated and illiterate. I think Americans have a diseased mindset when it comes to the value of human life and it may stem from our TV and advertising.

We’ve come to place more value on the life of a wealthy socialite than a Mexican child. But they’re both human beings. Why aren’t they equal? They’re equal in the sight of God!

The other thing about the show was that the guy was earning so much money and yet not providing anything at all … not even bottles of cold water, to these poor people who were paying $2,000 each to cross the border. Good Grief!!!!

If I were going to take up Human Smugging as a career, I would completely carpet the whole trailer in soft carpeting. I would put comfy chairs around. There would be a big frig with cold drinks. I would install a music system and have plenty of snacks. Plus each person would get a clean change of clothes, a bag of food and $100.

The reason so many aliens steal or do other illegal activities is probably because they couldn’t get jobs and they had to eat…that’s what I like to think, at least.

I just don’t understand why any group would be cruel to another group. I think we humans have more in common than we realize. But we seem to gravitate more toward evil than good. This has been our struggle from the beginning of time: Good and Evil.

Image result for garden of eden

We’re given this beautiful Garden to live in rent free and can go anywhere and do anything we want and there’s no charge for any of it. Along comes a Snake in the Grass tempting us with forbidden fruit and suddenly we live in a desert where we must scratch and scrape at the ground for a morsel of bread. We were clearly better off in the Garden!

Yet, there’s no going back. If there were such a thing as a Time Machine, someone would have come back by now and given us decent presidential candidates to vote for in the 2016 election. If mankind would ever in the future invent a real Time Machine, I’m pretty sure they would have gone back in time and made sure monsters like Hitler were never born.

We would have gone back and prevented the invention of nuclear power. Every single one of those 450 nuclear reactors on this planet are nothing more than ticking time bombs. All it will take is one big hurricane or earthquake in exactly the right location and our planet will cease to be habitable for the next hundred years.

ü  Humans can be ingenious; but they can also be idiots.
ü  Humans can be artistic & creative; but they can also create chaos.
ü  Humans could build the most incredible cities and society imaginable; but instead they build whorehouses and bars.
ü  Humans could transform earth into a Paradise that parallels Heaven itself; but instead we build thousands of factories that emit so much industrial pollution that 200,000 people die each year from it.

It doesn’t make any sense at all to destroy the planet we live on and yet, Italy and Switzerland recently redrew their borders because global warming has melted the Alpine Glaciers. Doesn’t anyone care about the Alpine Glaciers? Glaciers are a huge part of our eco-system. Without them, life as we know it will cease to exist.

Again, extinction for the humans coming as a result of nothing more than simple Greed.

So, let’s think this over before we continue on in the direction we’ve been headed for so long. Let’s figure out whether we really want to survive for the long haul. Or whether we just want to live it up and have as much fun, food, booze and partying as possible and when it’s over … oh well … at least we enjoyed our brief time here.

Image result for alpine glacier

Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year New Mind

One of the huge chasms that separate the successful person from someone who is not living their dreams, is our mindset. We’ve all seen people who came into the world with major health issues like cerebral palsy, and yet they overcame that obstacle and went on to live a normal life. We’ve also seen people that came out of stark poverty where the family all lived in one big room and there was never enough food to eat, and yet they go on to become a successful athlete who earns millions of dollars each year.

A great deal of time and money has been spent on research to understand why one person can be born into a world where they have everything they need to be happy and yet they commit suicide at age 24 and another is born in a shack in Jamaica and becomes a wealthy business owner.

It’s very sad to hear those stories of wealthy young people who were so miserable that they just couldn’t go on in spite of having every single material possession one could want. Or people like Robin Williams, who was a brilliant performer, had a family, money and worldwide fame, and yet ends his own life in such a cruel way.

In my opinion, there are two forces at work here: the mindset of the individual and their perspective on life events.

I came out of a very dysfunctional home. As I write in my autobiography, when I was only 12 years old, I went to a local store and put luggage on layaway. When mother asked me why, I told her that I was planning to run away from home and needed the luggage so I could pack my things. She just shrugged and went on with her day.

I left home at 17 and never looked back. No matter how bad things got … and they did get pretty bad at times … I still never thought of moving back home. I got sick, lost my job, got into a bad marriage, got pregnant and had no place to go. But I still never considered going back home.

Yet, I’ve met some truly sweet people who came out of great homes with loving parents. They are still living with those loving parents at age 29. They don’t have to cook their own meals, do their own laundry or pay any bills. I don’t envy them at all. In fact, I feel sorry for them. They’re missing a really crucial component of life: Making your own way in the world. In my opinion, you do not do your kids any favors by allowing them to hang around and live with you after the age of 20 or so.

Humans are meant to grow up and leave the nest. When you meet people who never really did that for whatever reason, you generally meet people who haven’t developed any tangible life skills. If life gets tough, they just go home to mama.

It was years before I actually came to count my dysfunctional upbringing as a blessing. And throughout my life, this has pretty much been the norm. I would fall down and there would be no one there to help me get up. I’d cry, then curse, then pray and somehow God would come along and show me a way out of my dire situation.

For this coming year of 2017, I challenge you to look at even the most negative things in your life as blessings in disguise. Try to envision how those bad breaks have actually made you a stronger human. So what if your manuscript gets rejected? Just keep writing. If your spouse leaves, good riddance. If your family turns their back on you, it’s their loss.

You can cry about all these life events that happen to us humans or you can learn some important lesson and then move on … a better, stronger person. The only way you can really lose in the Game of Life is if you quit playing. Let’s see what 2017 looks like. Let’s go forward, not backward. Let’s repent of every mistake and then let it go and move on. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

How To Survive An Election When Your Significant Other Supports the Opponent

Well, the election is over. It was a bloody match and it looks like it will take months for our nation to heal. But one thing that’s still intact is my relationship with my boyfriend.

I told him from the beginning that I would NOT discuss politics no matter what. He tried to get me to talk about it too. He would craftily mention little things he’d seen on the news or little talking points that the candidates had been discussing.

One time he came right out and asked, “Who are you voting for?”

But I stood my ground. I refused to discuss the election. “Look,” I said, “we can talk about you farting in bed or me using your razor to shave my legs. But we are NOT discussing the election.”

So, I’m happy to report that my relationship with my BF is still great. In fact, he texted me last night, when everyone knew that all was lost for Hillary and said, “It’s looking better. She could still win.” He said this even though he doesn’t really like her. But he said it to make me feel better.

Regardless of what side you were on, say or do something that makes someone feel better. Don’t rub it in their face! Don’t twist the knife in their back. Be kind. Just this once, say or do something unselfish!!! That’s how our nation will heal … if we start to forgive, let things go, care, pray for each other. Things will start to get better if we can just learn to be kinder and more forgiving. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Cousin Jody Tries Out for Jeopardy!

After cousin Jody’s Wheel of Fortune fiasco, he was quite eager to go on other shows. Turns out that once you’ve been on one game show, it’s easier to get on others. And the show producers never do check to see how you did and whether you were successful. They just assume that you were the average contestant who won a little money and had some fun.

They should not have assumed that with Jody. So he heard about auditions to be a contestant on Jeopardy! I says, “Jody, dude, you know I love you. You’re like family to me."So he nods and says, “Yeah, well I am your cousin…soooo."

I smile and nod, “Okay, sure, but the point of this conversation is that you’re not smart enough to go on Jeopardy! Even if you lie and get someone else to take the test and all that, I mean, you know?”

I watched him. He knew what I was talking about but he was prolonging my agony. “So, I’m not the brightest bulb in the drawer? Is that what you’re saying?”

I sighed. “Finally, you get the message. Don’t make a fool out of yourself, man! You won’t get one answer right and then you’ll be that poor slob that couldn’t make it into Final Jeopardy!”

So Jody laughs. “You just don’t get me, do you cuz? After all these years, you still don’t get me.”

I changed my stance. “Jody, baby! You know I do, but sometimes you get these wild-eyed crazy ideas and I have to talk you off the ledge. You know I’m only looking out for you.”

He took two steps forward, reached out and hugged me. “You go with me. The reason I screwed up on Wheel of Fortune is because you weren’t there.” He stepped back. “This time, you go with me and we’ll have a blast.”

I sighed. “Los Angeles….Gawd! My worst favorite place on earth.”

He laughed. “Don’t you mean your least favorite?”

“Nah! I meant worst favorite. If I’m going to LA with you to be on Jeopardy! then I gotta start practicing my crazy right now.”

He laughed and laughed and I did too. Then we went online to check out the test you have to take to be a Jeopardy! contestant. How hard could it be?