- Education and Science»
- History & Archaeology
Family Troubles? The life of a chronically ill child and the effect of his disease on his family's fortunes
Pictures of a family.
Introduction. Understanding troubled children
As the everyday family lives of children and young people come to be increasingly defined as issues of international policy and concern, it is of great importance to raise the question of how we can learn to understand the contested terrain between ‘normal’ family troubles and troubled and troubling families. To understand the trials and tribulations of families in the modern age, it is first necessary to go back into history, and read of the difficulties suffered by one particular family, with a special emphasis on how they affected one disabled child within our target family.
A short description of a troubled child
The mother was very worried. Her son, who had a serious blood disease, was at thirteen years, at that awkward age when parental admonishments to be careful, and not to run or jump too much, fell on deaf ears. How can you tell a boisterous somewhat spoiled young boy that he cannot play like other children? You can't tie him up just to keep him quiet. Thirteen years previously when he was born, the mother and father had been overjoyed. They already had four lovely daughters who they adored, but they longed for a son. She remembered his baptism. The poor child cried throughout the ceremony. Perhaps this was a sign of things yet to come. Although it was customary for the parents not to attend the christening, the mother had been worrying throughout that someone might let the baby fall, or that the archbishop, who really was very old, might drop him in the font. There were no mishaps on that day; but there were plenty to come in the future.
The little boy was absolutely adored by all his family. His four sisters were enchanted with the idea of having a little brother. The dolls often got abandoned, so they could enjoy the more actively fun games of soldiers and building toy forts. He was an affectionate child as well. Always wanting to hug his parents and siblings, although everyone was mindful not to squeeze back too strongly, for too much pressure on his delicate body might bring on an internal bleed and his agony when that happened was almost too much for his loving family to bear.
He could be a stroppy child as well occasionally. The frustrations of coping with the restrictions placed on him by his illness sometimes manifested themselves in temper tantrums. A couple of times he had struck out at people who were greeting him. Then the embarrassed parents had to explain that he was "a mischievous child”. He really could be a bit naughty sometimes. Once, at an important dinner, he had crawled under the table and taken the shoe of a very distinguished female guest. When his father had ordered him sternly to return the trophy, he did so, but not before putting some squashed strawberries in it. Sometimes he gave the impression that he did not expect to live long. Once one of his sisters found him just lying on the grass looking up at the clouds as they floated across the sky. When she asked him what he was doing, he replied that he was taking in things while he still could.
How the illness of the child impacted on the fortunes of his family
Of course the torture of having such a sick child drove the parents to desperate lengths, in hopes of getting a cure. They even resorted to faith healers. There was one man in particular who always seemed to have a positive effect. He would pray with the parents, and give them advice not to let the doctors bother their son too much. He always brought a kind of peace, and often the pain would completely subside, and the child would be able to smile and run around again. Once a telephone call from him effected a cure. The mother especially came to depend on this healer. She started to treat him like a much loved family friend. He did take advantage sometimes, and he tended to give a lot of advice on how the father should conduct his business. This was often very bad advice. The friend might be a great healer, but he knew nothing about running a big organisation, so his advice tended more to run affairs into the ground than to prosper them. The husband kind of realised that things were not going too well, but he was incapable of refusing his wife's requests, and she took all her advice from the faith healer.
It didn’t help that the family and their entire country was embroiled in a great war. The father had to spend a lot of his time away from home. The mother took charge of managing domestic affairs. She did not do very well. She relied too much on the advice from the healer, and that advice was seldom very good. Her husband was out of touch because of his work in the war, so things deteriorated rapidly. The family and friends of the couple got increasingly concerned. Eventually they got together, and they murdered the faith healer. They hoped in this way that they could reverse the decline in the family fortunes.
But they were too late. The husband lost his job.
For a time the father and mother, and their five children, were allowed to stay in the family home. The man who had replaced the husband was a reasonable person, and he hoped to secure retirement for the family abroad. But there was difficulty in finding them a place to go. Later in the year they were sent to stay in a house in the country. They were still quite comfortable, but things were due to change for the family again.
Towards the end of the year the reasonable man lost his job as well. He was replaced by some people who had a hatred of the couple and all their relations. Restrictions were put on their movements. They had previously been watched by considerate and respectful guards. These were now replaced by representatives of the new management. The level of respect, and consideration sharply declined. They were now confined to the house, and the daughters were often subjected to lewd remarks. (They were remarkably attractive young girls).
In May of the following year they were all moved again. This time they were confined in a house with a large wooden palisade round it, so they couldn’t see out, and nobody could see them. This was really more a prison than a home. They were treated with even less regard than before. The soldiers even stayed in the room when the prisoners were going to the toilet. They still had a few attendants with them, including a doctor to help look after the young boy. It was just as well that they had a medical man on hand, for the young lad had a compulsion to tempt fate. In the previous house he had ridden on a sledge down the stairs and injured himself badly. He was now confined to a wheelchair.
The final tragedy for the child and his entire family
In a city, far away from where our family were confined, some evil men debated their fate. There had been a war raging in the country, and there were some who wanted to restore the husband to his position, and get rid of the wicked people who were now managing affairs. The friends of the family were getting very close to where they were being kept. It was only a matter of time until their freedom would come. But allowing people freedom was not what the new managers were about. An order was transmitted to the authorities in the prison house.
In the prison the prisoners were getting increasingly apprehensive. They knew that rescue might not be far away, but there had been talk of the husband being separated from them. Some people said he might be put on trial. There was one thing they were looking forward to though. Their beloved son and brother was but two weeks away from his fourteenth birthday. They might not have much, but they would try to celebrate. There was a new commandant in the prison/house. He was more respectful, but a bit creepy.
On the 17th of July they were all woken up in the middle of the night. They were told that they were about to be moved again. Somebody directed them to a room in the basement, where they were to wait for the transport. All the family and their attendants went to the room. The father carried his sick son, as the boy was too ill to walk. The mother asked for some chairs to be brought in so some of them could sit.
They waited in the dingy basement.
Some men with handguns entered.
The commandant came into the room.
He announced that the father, the mother, the four beautiful daughters, the servants, the doctor, and the very sick son, had been sentenced to death.
The father was the first to be shot, a bullet straight to the head.
They then started shooting the rest of the group.
The young girls ran around the room. The bullets didn’t kill them straightaway.
The son did not die instantly either.
One of the assassins came up to the struggling child.
He was shot twice in the head.
He did die then.
The daughters and the mother were finished off with bayonets.
When the corpses of the family, the servants, and the doctor were stripped, it was found that jewels were sewn into the corsets of the girls and their mother, and also into the shirt of the dead boy. That was what made them so difficult to kill.
It was further noticed that the body of the boy bled rather a lot, but this was only to be expected, for as history tells us The Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich, beloved son of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Tsarina Alexandra, and also the much loved brother of Grand Duchesses' Marie, Tatiana, Olga, and Anastasia was a haemophiliac.
Scenes from the life, and death, of a family.
Quality items from Amazon
Join the great community of HubPages. Express your opinions and earn money.
The best writing site on the web.