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A letter to my Husband's family....
The quiet hush is over, the dust has settled, and all who think they know the crux have told their stories and speculated; heard only what it is they wanted to hear and tried to fill in the blanks of the rest, all the while only looking at one side of a double sided coin.
At last I have given myself permission, not only permission, but blessing to speak out and now it is the moment when I have chosen to pull the aces from my sleeve. I lived, for twenty two months, in the belly of the beast, of what shall now be called the Saga, and I am now going to speak my mind and have my say.
You may become enraged, you may shout denials, you may be embarrassed and you may be ashamed. Know that these are not my crosses, I will not bear them; I will instead ask you to look at each emotion that you may or may not feel and ask yourself why. What is it that enrages you as you read on? Why is it that you feel flustered and furious? I will be frank in telling you that I certainly care not what you think, I care not what your opinion of me is, these are my truths and like it or not, they are true.
You who were not there, not present, not a part of the picture, can not shout your denials, you have no clue, you bore no witness, there is nothing for you to do but read and then absorb. If in reading this you can accept my truths, and whatever responsibility you have in them and you still want to ask that bygone’s be just that, then perhaps we can move past, but forgive and forget is not something that I will ever do. I may forgive, but I shall never forget. To forget is to make clear the path to repetition. I am not the woman you remember; time and life have learned me well. I have grown, I have changed and I have very little time, and ever lessening patience for the meandering of fools.
While you, the brothers, lived your happy little lives, only peeking in on the nightmare from time to time, we; my husband, I and our children; lived in the center of the fury;
Was it you who put their lives on hold to reach into the belly of the beast and do what you could to ensure that the beast would be fed? I think not. It was I who went over paperwork, it was I who wrote letters, it was I who fought with the government and it was I who eventually won. It was I, a child not birthed to them, but instead married into the insanity that ensued; who took on the role meant for the born sons of fathers, and it was I who ensured a disability pension for a very ill man.
Was it you oh great ones who stood for eight agonizing hours with your hands firmly pressed into the chest of your father in a hospital emergency room so that he did not try to escape psychiatric assessment and ultimately admittance to the psychiatric ward? I think not. It was I who stood and waited, who did her best to keep him calm, who warned the triage nurses that he needed to be segregated, that spoke to the psychiatrist, who let him go to the hospital with his clothes on backwards so that they would see the magnitude of the illness. It was I who the lovely ER nurse named James told that I should take up a career in psychiatric medicine because he had no clue how I managed to do the things that I did do that day.
Was it you who told him not to cry? Was it you who told him that the illness wasn’t his fault? Was it you who ensured that he took his medication and was it you who, when the time came and the need for lengthy hospitalization came, did all that you could to make the transition less emotionally damaging?
Was it you who’s son ran out barefoot in the snow because his grandfather’s “episodes” scared him so much that his only reaction was to flee the insanity? I didn’t think so, but my son knows the truth. All of my sons know.
Was it you who was there when your mother decided that she needed more from life? Was it you who was there to watch your father while she left to be with another man? Was it you who covered her tracks and made up lies in order to keep your father on an even keel? Was it you who was there the day that she went to the psychiatric hospital to tell him that she wanted a divorce? Was it you who had to go to her and her new man and tell them that it was time to make things right? I think not.
Was it you who told her that she had freedom of choice, but that she was not free to use? Was it you who told her that she had to step up and end her marriage because she could not have it both ways? Was it you who took the abuses that ensued? Was it you who told her and her new man that they needed to stop with their outward displays of affection in front of impressionable young men who knew that she was still married to their grandfather? I think not.
Was it you to whom promises were made and then reneged upon because you dared to speak your mind? Was it your son who missed his eighth grade graduation because his grandmother and her new man collectively decided that they were done with us, that we were of no more use and effectively left us homeless? No… you do not know. You were not there, but my children know, they are all old enough to remember. Ask them; separate from me; ask them for their truths and see if they are different from mine.
Are you aware that I let your mother and her new man off the hook easily because they never did appear at the tribunal hearing and the adjudicator was set to grant me a judgment that included moving expenses? No you do not know because you weren’t there and neither were they because they fancied themselves above reproach.
Was it you that sat with the psychiatrist and the social worker at the hospital and told them what it was your father was now facing, was it you who became so emotionally exhausted that there was no choice but to look for long term care? Don’t you dare say that we didn’t ask, we asked. We asked family, no one was prepared to step up. YOU the sons of your father never offered a moment of relief, never asked about his needs, never called to check up, never wanted to be involved….until…
Until the plan was in place.
Dad would be living in a group home, not ten minutes from where I now live. His meals would be provided, there would be medication monitoring, he would have access to laundry facilities and help to get it done if need be, and after all was said and done he would have still had over a hundred dollars a month for spending money so that he could walk to the store and get the popsicles, pop and other junk foods that he so adored. He would be able to be in contact with us, come to our home, my sons; Jason who loves him most especially; could walk to his group home to be with him and take him places. He would be monitored there and well cared for here and what happened then?
No call, no request, no notice; son number three and his self appointed martyr wife decide to pull him from the psychiatric facility and take him to live with them and their two young sons. Were we enraged? OF COURSE WE WERE ENRAGED! You’ve no idea of the amount of time and investment went into securing him a comfortable place to live, close to us and the grandchildren that love him so. You have no idea how much thought went into neither that decision nor the tears of defeat I cried when I finally had to admit that I could not take care of him anymore. You’ve no idea of the love I have in my whole soul for the man you call your father; No idea how it pains me still to not be there to monitor his progress or chart his decline.
I miss him. I miss every silly moment, every moment of frustration, I miss his silly questions about suicide, I miss him trying to call 411, I miss his smile; when we could get him to do it; I miss the way he used to yell and I miss him asking me a thousand times a day where his wife was and when she was coming home.
Do not throw his name around like he’s a puppet or a toy. This is a human being who in his own way loves you and supported you for all of your lives and you were and are damned lucky to have him.
"Dad" bears no responsibility for the things that have happened in his life over the last 10 years. He is blameless and innocent and the bystander of an insanity that he will not own. I will not allow it another moment. He had ALWAYS been a good soul, generous spirit and a kind man with a big heart. His way was not always easy to take and even harder to accept sometimes but all he has ever done he’s done because it is what he thought was right. He may be losing his mental faculties, but he is not the cause of the insanity.
Judge me if you must, my shoulders are strong enough to bear the blame for things which only a select few truly know the honest details of. I am secure enough to not make up half truths, to not jabber gossip, to not try and inflate matters and I need not be the hero in anyone’s tales, but know this, if you have never known a single thing about me, I will not waiver in my truths, nor will anyone that lived it with me. I have not called you out, I have not put you down, and in truth your names seldom pass my lips except when asked about you.
But Ron; your father? He is in my thoughts daily. I wonder about him, worry that his needs are met, worry that he is lonely and worry about his health.
And once the hardest was over, once the money for his well being secured, once he had proper psychiatric care, once the walls that were crashing down were protected from the flood waters; then you rush in and pretend that you know?
You know nothing and do you know why you know nothing? You don’t know it because you never took the time to ask, let alone care.
And now you wonder; now you wonder why it is that you are kept at arms length? Why it is that you are not trusted? Why it is that we protect ourselves, our hearts, our children and our lives?
If you have not found the answer in these pages, then you will never know it.