Lisa Vanderburg

5 years ago · 4 min. reading time · 0 ·

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12 Good Men

12 Good Men

Meet Uther! My uncut calvarium.

He's a beautiful brute, clocking in at just shy of 12lb (without a brain, so that's HUGE...if I had a brain!). He was dug up in the chalky, limestone earth of the Jurassic coast in the 1950's. All I really know about him is that he's old (pre-dental), was crowning a wisdom tooth and had a nasty infection of a molar:

He may well have been a Roman Soldier for all I know. No, he didn't have syphilis. It was Phillip Hubbell great buzz A Misappropriation of Normal that got me onto this (I know, sorry Phillip...bit of a stretch).

The point being is that after my father died, we had a bit of a problem: skeletons in the closets. My father himself had a separate closet (he was an undisclosed but brilliant tyrant) which I may get into another time. But, he had '12 Good Men' and counting. Lots of skulls; some purposely disarticulated, some in bits. Full skeletons, half peeps; (cervical) neck to coccyx including ribs & pelvis, long bones, feet, hands - bits and Bobs (or Babs). And lots of jars containing various blobs (humanoid?) in formaldehyde. Hell, you couldn't rummage through his shaving drawer even without coming across a phalanges or two....

Here's where the increasingly weak link to Phillip comes in; this sort of thing was 'normal' for us, but not for others, clearly. Getting shot of those treasured family-members was a pain in the gluteus maximus! My step-mother, tiring of the problem, suggest we bury them in the back yard. Plenty of space! Tempting though it was, I did mention that should she ever sell the family home (actually - all our father's off-spring were ditched in a magnificent legal final move by him), that she would be hauled-up on possible murder charges. Of course, they wouldn't stick, but it crossed my mind. Anyway, I quite loved the woman, even though it's not particularly reciprocated. Just so's you don't see me as 'fiscally motivated', my very damaged, adorable BFF,  soul-mate and sister - and a shut-in, found out she was to die at aged 57. Because she was trying to get her ducks lined up for her kids, we were saddened (but really not surprised) to find out our father who art 'playing harp with stupid people' (his words), had gone to some length to make his will inaccessible to his blood-grandchildren. Back to de bones!

I finally managed to sell them to a company in Canada - fabulous fun at Mail-Box! Monies returned to my step-mom's coffers. They couldn't take non-medical 'kosher' specimens, hence why I got Uther. My [then] dying sister had Igraine - her teeth kept falling out.

Once dead, it was so easy to get rid of dad - he sunk like a stone in his biodegradable sea pillow; a huff of 'fu** you' that was part of the package. We also took out our eldest sister, who had committed suicide 25 years ago. She didn't go quietly: we had to squeeze the life outta her!

Why am I telling you this? Now that's a VERY good question. I think the answer is that I can!  I've never said it before - quite refreshing! I'm no longer emotionally involved, but I am damaged. Truth be told, I rather like my gimp - it's all I've ever known. We never had help or counselling; even as children any friends we may have had did not see him as he was - as adults, they chose nowt to 'believe us' so we lost those friends. It wasn't until a couple of weeks before his death (I was helping my step-mother care for him...out of AGAPE love: choice), that a Physiologist interviewed me separately. She asked about his 'manipulative side', so I told her he was always like that - could walk into a room as one person, but if anyone outside of his kids were there, he was charming. She told me he was most likely a psychopath. surprise. 

It was 'my night'; the night he died. First time in his hospital bed at home, first teeny-weeny bit of morphine. My husband and our kids came to visit early eve. He slept after my step-mother gave him his opiate, which was probably a relief for her as he'd been berating her for being 'stupid and fat' the last few months (she's neither). I told her to go sleep. He woke during the night and was trying to get out of his bed but his leg got stuck in the railing. I tried to calm him; reason with him. He was always terrifyingly intelligent and, even in his situation, a force of nature! I explained quickly and calmly that if he allowed me to remove his leg that we could get him out and sitting up. He wouldn't have any of it. His last words before his eyes rolled back were 'oh, SHUT UP woman!!' Funny guy....

I guess we were 'middle-class'? Dunno. The upper-4 kids (I was the youngest of those) were privately schooled in the UK. (I think he did this as a way to cajolle his bank-manager into a big-house loan, as out house in Iowa...? The realtor ran off with the lot). Alas, the wimmin-side of these numbered three (and the other sisters are now dead), and I guess we had some sort of Stockholm syndrome. The  lower 4 - again; one boy, were less damaged. I think that's because he re-married a girl 15 years his junior and has lots of 'naps' between his Practice. Our birth-mother was voted off the island at an age-inappropriate time (I was 7): cast your vote but God help you if you tick the wrong box: only our father was in attendance (as always), and there was only one box. What our sire was good at was 'divide and conquer', so we couldn't be anywhere near each other or it may give us something (under duress) to bargain for when it came to the daily line-up. Even as kids, we lived alone.

I could go on for hours, but've probably clocked out by now :)

At my age now: 58, I have learned that: I am what I became: a performer. I hate it. We don't go out - it's exhausting. I was the deflector to stop a whoopin' on one of my 4. Didn't work much. Just made me his 'favorite', so I could hear about his sex life and death-demands and, at age 8 he held me accountable for our two Great Danes; they didn't fair with the top-4 being at school and the lower-4 being at home. He made me come with him (age 13) and hold their heads as he had them 'put-down'.

I acknowledge that this life holds no sway but sorrow. 
Author in Source Title

I yearn for what I lost still (my potential), but moreover for my sisters.

I will never be sane/normal. Who the hell cares anyhoo...such is 'diversity'!

My plate is full. Can't wait to get to the finish :)

What I thought was love was slavery (so far as my father was concerned - but...he deserves love, as all others). At aged 40, I discovered it's possible to not love, hate, be indifferent, but CHOOSE....

I can't get y head 'round this blasted quoty thingie Gerald Hecht

There's worse - always. I don't have a monopoly....far from it.

Lisa 🐝 Gallagher Ay-oop, love! For you; for lovely lady! For Lisa 🐝 Gallagher Deb🐝 Lange, Deb 🐝 Helfrich, Gerald Hecht and Deb🐝 Lange, Max🐝 J. Carter....that's why I ain't you...Nuns be damned :)

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Cyndi wilkins

5 years ago #24

LOL Deb\ud83d\udc1d Lange! I figured you were either on your iPhone or had a severe case of the hiccups while you were typing;-)

Lisa Vanderburg

5 years ago #23

haha...I actually googled that thinking it was local colloquialism; just came up with 'good returns.' Just look at all the oopsies I've made! Even when I reread I'm looking at context not grammar - I don't even have the excuse of using a phone!! It got me going :)

Lisa Vanderburg

5 years ago #22

to #34 monkey see, monkey do...I'm learning, YAY! (Except I tried to highlight the other ladies in my comments with the @..?) Pertinent point about learning what to do with our own damaged selves rather than being told by the conventional rote behavioral approach. Much more proactive - like it!! I'll visit your site and find the conversations. Very grateful for all you help Deb\ud83d\udc1d Lange - a treasure trove!

Lisa Vanderburg

5 years ago #21

PART 2: (good thing you showed me this Deb\ud83d\udc1d Lange!). While I'm here - sorry to use your space Deb but Lisa 🐝 Gallagher..I need to address what you last said - my apologies for tardiness! I don't get professional help for two reasons: 1. My recently-passed sister did do this for years. It ended with the various Psychiatrists & Psychologists acknowledging her 're-wiring' was permanent and she knew herself better than anyone else could ever. She wanted ECT for the longest time..didn't have it, thank God. 2. My long-dead sister killed herself after becoming her new self following the Psychs mentioned above. Such a long reply! So sorry, but I feel very grateful for ALL of you ladies' (including Deb 🐝 Helfrich and Cyndi wilkins) loving ear and thoughtful suggestions and for the sheer guts NOT to back away! Thank you so much!!

Lisa Vanderburg

5 years ago #20

Too true, and a timely reminder Deb\ud83d\udc1d Lange of how very little we know of each others' situatriences on these platforms. Is that also why they are so appealing? That said, I want to open up but I'm just awaiting the 'other shoe to drop' :) But, I am going to get your book because I'm intrigued...sounds a lot more substantial and cerebral than Mindfulness (me repeating how much I love myself is not gonna end well!). And I thank you for your kind words that I certainly haven't earned;...just suffer? But it's very important to me that both you and Lisa 🐝 GallagherT a cry for help. I am no closer to suicidal idealization than usual :) I have to see my ey to the finish S a fierce loyalty that would make Bullmastiff wimp out. PART 1:..bleedin' count!

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #19

Hiding behind a happy face or trying to ignore what lies deep within will lead to mental and physical exhaustion. It can become debilitating if we dont put ourselves first and reach out to even a professional thst can help to heal the wounds. Reaching out is the hardest part but there are many professionals who care and can guide one properly. Just think of the relief you may feel when you dont have to pretend anymore. Hugs, Lisa

Lisa Vanderburg

5 years ago #18

You're so right Lisa \ud83d\udc1d Gallagher! I think that's why I'm beginning to write about it - I've realized the only peace I will get will come with death (drama-queen, I know), so I'm looking for another way. Why has it come up now? Probably because either performing or 'hiding etc' has just plum tuckered me out! There's ALWAYS worse.... Thank you lovely Lady for sharing my buzz, but also for your wisdom and perceptiveness!

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #17

Sometimes we can hold things in for so long while putting on a face of 'the performer' as you noted and it may be eating us up on the inside. Or it may come to haunt us when we least expect it. I hope you are at peace with 'hiding in plain sight,' and I mean that sincerely. You went through a LOT!

Lisa Vanderburg

5 years ago #16

Most grateful for your kind words Lisa \ud83d\udc1d Gallagher. I have become adept at 'hiding in plain sight', hence the performer :) All my meanness if focused inwards, so no one else gets hurt (hopefully!).

Lisa Vanderburg

5 years ago #15

It's actually good to know Ali Anani the effect an image such as the above can have! Just because I'm used to it, doesn't mean it's accepted, so I appreciate your view, dear Ali!

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #14

At a loss for words Lisa Vanderburg, all I can say is your one heck of a survivor! Better to come out on the other side as weird than horribly mean.

Ali Anani

5 years ago #13

I fully understand your PoV dear Lisa Vanderburg. My brorther has two phDs in medicine and I am familiar with what you say. I just couldn't handle these images. Luckily, there are people who can; else we wouldn't have MDs

Lisa Vanderburg

5 years ago #12

How do you DO that Gerald Hecht? I like weird...I'm very good at it :)

Lisa Vanderburg

5 years ago #11

Good thing I didn't put up the rest of them then Ali Anani. I'm so used to them I do forget that others might be shocked - apologies, dear man! As children, death held secrets...t'was the living that couldn't be trusted! Uther is magnificent and my personal favorite , but he was never out of the closet as donated cut-calvariums where clearly more 'palatable' for my father's patients. The full rewired skeletons that hung saucily - dangling just above the floor, had proper names; Aunt Emily stayed with us until we departed from the US to move to the UK. We missed her terribly - she was our go-to in times of trouble, even if she was a bit thin for a proper cuddle..........

Ali Anani

5 years ago #10

One reason I avoided studying medicine is the images you show in your buzz. Truly, unable to comment dear Lisa Vanderburg

Lisa Vanderburg

5 years ago #9

Dude! That was a perfect summation, and I haven't heard that track in YEARS Gerald Hecht! Even watched the second one; 'ragin' eyes'....apt! That what I need - more music!! Thanks Brains!

Lisa Vanderburg

5 years ago #8

Nope - not the infection. His body wasn't attached - there may be a clue in that... :) He had a lotta nicks on his noggin, but no fractures that I could see Gerald Hecht

Lisa Vanderburg

5 years ago #7

I hope to God you're right, lovely Deb \ud83d\udc1d Helfrich - that this catharsis is working; that by revelation alone others will be spared. For me, I'm just 'testing the waters' to see what will happen as I've never openly revealed any of this before (tip of the iceberg and all). I'm hoping it'll make ME feel something...better?...hope? Because I have things to do, dagnabit!

Lisa Vanderburg

5 years ago #6

Ah...God love ya Cyndi wilkins! Can you tell hubby was hounding me for his dindins - errors everywhere :) That aside, I am tired. But nothing lifts me up better than staring into Uther's empty is in the air :)

Lisa Vanderburg

5 years ago #5

So true Kevin Baker. Like truth, it depends on the vantage point. Thanks for your comment!

Lisa Vanderburg

5 years ago #4

I know! I did ask a specialist dentistry fella who said it wouldn't be enough to have killed him Gerald Hecht, but I bet it stung like a mofo!

Lisa Vanderburg

5 years ago #3

Uther's just happy to see the light of day - chipper fella Pascal Derrien :)

Cyndi wilkins

5 years ago #2

My heart ached for you throughout this entire post Lisa Vanderburg...And yet, at the same time I felt this amazing surge of strength borne of such distress...Physical and emotional...Visceral...Damned straight there's a reason you ain't me girl...because there is no way I could handle the complexities of your situation so eloquently as you do in your writing...Life is what we make of it...and you have created a work of art;-)

Pascal Derrien

5 years ago #1

I like that :-) I think I saw the skull smiling at me is it normal ?

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