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Blood Pinky Promise

Trauma victims experience anniversary reactions during the month or nearing the anniversary of the event.  In October 2010, I had an anniversary reaction to my Cousin Beverly’s death (October 30, 2008) and started writing a documentary, “Generational Trauma, An American Family’s Post Traumatic Love Story.” Beverly was Aunt Christ’s granddaughter and Cousin Ava and Jaime’s sister.   In childhood, I suspected Beverly had the family illness from the glare in her eyes. Whenever we played together, she squeezed my hand real tight and left visible indentations from her fingernails on the backside of my hand.  Beverly and I always prayed together, and she insisted on us making a blood pinky promise to love and take care of one another, no matter what!  I was obligated by our family’s mantra, “Blood is Thicker than Water” to look after Cousin Beverly and it was an honor and privilege to do so.  Aunt Christ died when I was a teenager and Cousin Beverly moved to another city.  I enlisted in the Air Force in 1985 and Beverly eventually joined the Army.  Unfortunately, the family illness curtailed Beverly’s military career and she returned to Ohio while I was on active duty.


In 1993, I married a man with the same last name as my mother’s maiden name.  I was home on leave in 2007 when my mother received the dreaded phone call that Beverly was in Mercy Hospital and wasn’t expected to live much longer.  On my way to see her, fond childhood memories of Aunt Christ and Beverly flooded my mind. I briefly embraced Cousin Ava in the parking lot.  Once again, the excruciating pain consumed us, and we unintentionally avoided one another.  Beverly was bedridden and it was DeJa’Vu - I had a flashback of my childhood when Aunt Christ was bedridden, and I was praying at her bedside.  I asked Beverly if she wanted me to pray, and with a big grin on her face she replied, “Of course Cousin.”  Uncontrollable tears streamed down my face as I held her hand and prayed aloud.  After leaving, I glanced down and noticed the visible indentations from her long fingernails on the backside of my hand and it reminded me of our blood pinky promise.  It was the last time I saw Cousin Beverly alive.   

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