Thursday, December 16, 2010

R for Raaaaaaaagggggggeeeeeeee

I’m going to warn you right now, lovely reader, this post is anything but fun, humorous, or light-hearted. I am so filled with rage at the moment that I literally cannot focus on anything else. I decided the best thing to do, because I’m stuck at work right now and thus cannot bury my face in a pillow and let out a few hundred primal screams, was to blog it out. Viewer discrtion is advised. This post contains adult language not suitable for children or those with delicate sensibilities.

I have completely and totally run out of patience for my mother. Not just patience, but compassion, respect, and even love are out the window at the moment. I’ve had it!!! I’m so ready to just be done with her, and yet I can’t completely cut ties because I want access to my nephew. My mother is a vindictive bitch, and I truly believe she would withhold my nephew from me should I not keep up the illusion that we are a truly loving mother-daughter pair.

I’ll try to start from the beginning-ish (I don’t have the time to get into the history of me and my mother’s relationship right now, but I will at some point.)...

This is a terrible time of year for my family. If you’re a regular reader, you know why. If you’re new here and don’t know why, I’ll summarize it: my nineteen year old sister was murdered on December 19, 2007. You can read more about that here, if you’re so inclined. I wrote earlier this month about how I refused to let this time of year drag me down anymore. How, instead, I choose to celebrate my sister’s life and celebrate the holidays as she would, were she here with us.

My mother is making it nearly impossible for me to do that. It’s like, because she’s completely miserable this time of year because she chooses to wallow in grief and sadness, the rest of us should be as well. She called me yesterday and said, “I think we should all be together on Sunday (the anniversary of my sister’s death), so everyone is going to come over here.” Well, that’s great, but she doesn’t get to make those decisions for everyone anymore.

I’m a 32 year old married woman with my own family and agenda. I will decide where I need to be and what I need to do. I lost a sister—no, a daughter, because that’s what she basically was to me my whole life, especially after my mom and my stepdad divorced—too, and as such, I (and I alone) get to decide how I’ll spend the anniversary of her death. Besides, we will all be together on Saturday at the memorial bonfire meant to honor her.

Kristine has been gone for three years now. Time has healed the wounds for some of us; it's left behind jagged, ugly scars—sure—but the pain isn’t as raw anymore. While others, like my mother, choose to wallow instead of trying to heal. And that’s just fine, as long as they don’t try to force the rest of us into it. But it’s not her wallowing or insistence on focusing on the loss and death that gets to me so much. That I can get past. People grieve differently, and she has a right to her methods. What I cannot get over is her never-ending need for attention and the fact that she consistently tries to profit from my sister’s death.

That is where I draw the line. Right now, I’m nearly ready to vomit over how disgusted I am with her.

As I’ve mentioned before, my mom and her husband are not in a good place financially. They probably never will be either. Why? Because they make stupid, bad decisions and don’t have their priorities in order. At all.

For example, mom’s husband up and quit his job last spring. Why? Good question, lovely reader! Because he has a bad back and the hard work of sitting on his ass driving a school bus every day was just too much for him. He was off of work for three months, and it was only when the threats of eviction started that he realized he probably needed to get out and get a job. My mom’s meager school bus driver salary couldn’t support a family of four all on its own. Of course that put them even more behind than they already were, so now they’re playing a constant game of catch-up.

The new job that mom’s husband got doesn’t pay nearly as well as his old job. And, due to my mom’s illness, is the only income they have at this point. There is no doubt that they’re struggling. They depend on the food shelf, barely get by paycheck to paycheck, and are behind on all of their bills.

Musicman and I have offered to take custody of my nephew since the day after my sister’s death. And I consistently remind mom and her husband of our willingness to do so. Not just to remove some of their financial burden, but also to allow my mom to just be a grandma again. And, of course, to make sure that my nephew’s needs are consistently met and that he grows up in a home that’s loving, nurturing, and supportive.

A memorial fund was setup, a few days after my sister died, to help the family with funeral costs. I don’t know where that money ended up, but it’s gone now and my sister’s funeral was never paid off. Nor will it ever be now that mom and her husband declared bankruptcy. A few months later, there was a benefit for the family, because new financial concerns came about after my grandmother passed away and mom’s husband’s son had medical issues. Of course, at that time, people were reminded that this family had tragically lost a daughter to a senseless act of violence. (Gotta tug at the heartstrings; it gets people to open their pockets and wallets a little wider.) Thus began mom and her husband's addiction to public support and attention.

Musicman and I have helped them out faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar more than we should have. This year alone, we’ve given them well over $1,000 in financial assistance; to save them from eviction, to put food on the table, and to help out with my nephew. Or so I’m lead to believe. Until I read Facebook and find out that they had their internet turned back on (not a necessity), they’re eating takeout, and my mom’s husband is out standing in line (with his bad back) for the midnight release of a $60 video games. But, whatever. Shame on me for giving them the money and expecting them to honestly use it for what they said they needed.

We’ve given them money to help my nephew more than anything, because our offer to take custody of him also came with the offer to help when needed, and they’ve caught onto that and have started to use him as a pawn to try to get more out of us. When we found out that, due to my mom’s recent illness and lack of paycheck, they weren’t going to be able to buy even a single gift for my nephew for Christmas, Musicman and I offered to buy gifts on their behalf. Despite the fact that we’re already out over $1,000, we refuse to let my almost five-year-old nephew go without Christmas.

We decided we’d purchase one “big ticket” item (around $50) from them and a few smaller gifts and some clothes from Santa. I figured my mother would see this as our Christmas gift to her and her husband (even thought adults in my family don’t exchange gifts) and that we’d give them the gifts at the bonfire this weekend so that they can have them all wrapped up and under the tree—ready for Li’l D on Christmas morning. Of course, we will also purchase additional gifts for him from Auntie Elle and Uncle Musicman too.

Yet what do I see on Facebook yesterday? A second fundraiser has been setup for them. One fundraiser was setup weeks ago, but apparently that one hasn’t garnered enough interest or attention, so a second one was started. Of course my mother insists that she and her husband had nothing to do with this and that their friends and neighbors want so badly to help them out. Yet she’s the one spamming everyone’s walls with the link to the fundraiser.

This recent fundraiser says that the family tragically lost their daughter three years ago to a senseless act of violence, and since that time have cared for her son. That’s pretty much the only part that’s true. The description goes on to say that the family faces financial hardship because mom’s husband was forced to temporarily quit working due to a back injury and that they’ve been struggling financially since their resources were used up in their quest to make sure that the murderer was convicted. Oh, and that because of this financial hardship, they will not be able to provide a Christmas for my nephew.

*Queue eyeballs popping out and head exploding here* What. The. FUCK?!?!? First of all, mom’s husband was never forced to quit working. As I stated above, he chose to quit his job. Because that’s what you do when life gets hard, right?! You just quit and later on depend on other people to finance your life. And it wasn’t because of an injury he had recently sustained—it’s an old injury that, to my knowledge, he’s never really sought treatment for, choosing instead to complain and whine about it. If there's one thing he and  my mom excel at, it's playing the martyr.

Secondly, NONE of their money was used to convict my sister’s murderer. The state prosecuted him. The only out-of-pocket expense any of us had was getting time off of work (some of us unpaid) and paying for transportation and/or parking to attend his trial, and numerous pre-trial hearings, which of course wasn’t required of us. But, we all attended every day; each for our own individual reasons, but also for one we all had in common: to see justice served.

The part that really gets me though is where the fundraiser's description says my nephew isn’t going to have a Christmas. REALLY?!?! Why are my husband and I busting our asses, while watching our bank accounts dwindle, to purchase gifts for my nephew on behalf of my mother, her husband, and Santa?!! It’s like a slap in the face! No…A kick in the gut.

The slap in the face came after our generous offer when my mother texted me to see if we could bring nephew out shopping to buy gifts for her and her husband, because Lil’D has really been talking a lot about buying Christmas gifts for nana and pop-pop. Apparently our gift to them wasn't enough. No; I’m not joking. Within 24 hours of us offering to basically finance Christmas for them (not including all the food I’ll be preparing and bringing…just talking gifts here), she texts to see if we’ll also buy gifts for her and her husband on nephew’s behalf. SERIOUSLY?!?! Who does that?!? Selfish much?!?

I haven’t received a Christmas present in I don’t know how many years. Musicman and I agreed long ago not to do gifts (we go all out for each other’s birthdays instead), and no one in my family can afford to do an adult gift exchange, so no Christmas gifts for me. It goes without saying that, since most of the adults can’t afford a gift exchange, we also do not get auntie and uncle gifts from our nephews and niece. And that’s okay. Christmas shouldn't be all about presents. I think the focus of the holiday should be on the kids, and I pay out quite a bit of money each year buying my nephews and niece what I hope are the perfect gifts.

Needless to say, I told my mom I wouldn’t have the time or the money to take my nephew shopping and sent an email to my sister asking her to step up (for a change). I wrote to my sis that, if she was having her kids make gifts for grandma for Christmas, it would be nice if she could include our nephew in that. She responded that she was going to take all of the kids (her two and Li'l D) to see Santa and to shop for gifts for mom and her husband from the kids. Great. Finally a break for me. My mom’s response to me saying no to her request? “No worries. You’ve done enough already.”

Really?!?! You fucking think so?!?! I’d say mooooooooooooore than enough. Waaaaaaaay more than enough! And, apparently, it’s still not good enough, because now there is a fundraiser that outright lies to people in order to get them to finance your life. The pathetic thing is people fall for their sob story. Their chronic bad luck is just unimaginable and so undeserved. How could such a caring, kind, hard-working family deserve to endure so much hardship?

The sad thing is, no matter what, it’s never going to be enough. Nothing is. Because my mom and her husband apparently think that the world should pity them for the rest of their lives, and as such, should pay to support them. It won’t be good enough until they are millionaires, because neither of them should actually have to work for a living.

And, as though I don’t have enough to be upset and angry about already, I get an email this morning from my mother indicating that she had forwarded details of the bonfire to the news media. One local station responded that they will pitch this as a story idea for their Saturday evening news program. WHY?!? Why would she do that?! Because my mother needs attention. She is addicted to drama and attention. I seriously think she went off the deep end long, long ago.

God forbid the memorial bonfire be a private event for friends and family to remember and honor my sister. Nope. That’s not good enough for mom. She needs attention on her.

I’m telling you right now, if the news media shows up on Saturday, I’m leaving. Enough of  my private, personal thoughts, feelings, and emotions were on display for the public three years ago; when I was in too much shock, and my emtions too raw, to know that I could've (and should've) said no to the interviews and the prying. I will not stand there and watch my mother’s disgusting attempts to garner sympathy and pity by telling the world about how not only does she continue to struggle with recovering from the tragic loss of her daughter and the burden she carries raising her grandson, but also her bad luck never seems to change. Now she’s terribly ill and once again faced with struggles that no one should have to deal with. Poor her. Poor, poor her.

I’ve had it. I’m pissed off. I’m beyond pissed off. I’m so livid right now that I’m almost turning myself inside out with rage. I don’t want my nephew being raised to think that this is how life works; that because his mom was murdered, he’s entitled to do what he pleases and not worry about the consequences because the world owes him everything. That’s bullshit! I also don’t want it constantly thrown in his face that his mom was murdered and that he should be perpetually sad about that. Of course, he is probably the biggest victim in this awful, terrible, horrible tragedy, but that should not define him. He doesn't need to live his life as a victim; not when he can live as an inspiration, a survivor!

I honestly don’t know how my mom lives with herself. How do you sleep at night knowing that you’re lying to conning people to try to profit from your daughter’s death?!? I wonder how much time she spends each day anticipating what the award she deserves for stepping up and taking care of her grandson will look like, and the monetary value that will be attached to it, of course. Because, apparently, she deserves big things.

When, really, she let her daughter die. She sent my sister to the murderer’s house that day. Alone. Because she insisted that her grandson should see his father. Despite the fact that she, unlike many of the rest of us, knew that the murderer had been violent towards my sister in the past, she sent her daughter to the lion’s den. Of course, she will admit that to no one.

Instead, she gets to look like the poor, grieving mother whose heart was ripped out the day her daughter—her baby—was murdered. And, while there’s no doubt that’s tragic—trust me, I get that; I live through the loss of my sister every single day—the true tragedy lies in the fact that she chooses to capitalize on her daughter’s death instead of celebrating her daughter’s life and focusing on the wonderful little piece of her that's been left behind and helping him to grow into a better man than his daddy ever was (instead of using him as a pawn).

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  1. Whoa, that is intense. I'm glad you have this blog as an outlet b/c I was would be insane if any of that was happening to me. I hope things get better for you.

  2. I'm so sorry Elle. You'll just drive yourself crazy trying to figure out how your mother can be that way. I've learned from experience that trying to understand why people do anything they do or think what they think only leads to me being miserable. I wouldn't trust her with the gifts to your nephew, she might return them to the store to get money! I hate to say that, but I feel so bad for you. If I were you, I'd wrap your nephew's gift yourselves and give them directly to him whenever the family gets together for Christmas. I doubt he'll ask why you're giving them to him, all he'll care about is getting some gifts :-)

  3. and I really hope things do get better!

  4. Wow I like you can't understand how your mom can act like that. I would fight your mom for your nephew because she doesn't deserve him at all!!!!

  5. What the hell is your mother thinking? That's really an evidence that as people can grow old.. but it's different from growing up..

    she disrespect your sister death at all angle... good thing you can vent it all out here at your blog...

    hope everything get's well.. and I'm hoping that your nephew can get his life out of there... I'm concern of the child... hope everything get's better....

  6. Thanks so much, girl. I'm so thankful for the blog. I truly think without it I WOULD be insane by now---or I would've gone postal or something. I appreciate your support.

  7. Thanks for your support and input, Kathie. I am wrapping the gifts, and I've made it clear to her that I expect to see them all when I arrive on Christmas day. I'm hoping even my mom has limits for how horrible she'll be and that she won't even think about returning gifts meant for my nephew!

    Of course, uncle and I are getting him the really big ticket item on his list--from US...just to be spiteful. ;-)

  8. Totally agree with you, Margaret. Thanks for the support. Sadly, I think the only way we're ever going to get custody of my nephew is forcibly--as in taking my mom to court over it. And we are considering that.

  9. Very good point, Kamila! She's definitely grown older, but she most certainly hasn't grown up.

    I agree that she's totally disrespecting my sister with her antics, and that's what really, really gets to me. That is truly why I'm so upset.

    Thanks for your support. As I told Margaret above, Musicman and I are considering what we need to do to get custody of my nephew.

  10. anything fits a naked manDecember 17, 2010 at 6:43 PM

    OMG, this is just terrible! First off, let me tell you how sorry I am about your sister. What an awful, horrible thing to happen, and the fact that it was at Christmastime makes it 100 times worse. I'm so very, very sorry. I can absolutely understand your supreme frustration with your Mom. Man, what a drag! My guess is she's carrying around a boatload of guilt and hasn't the first clue how to deal with it. Hugs, my friend!

  11. Thanks, Joan! I think you're absolutely right about the guilt. I can't imagine the guilt she carries, and I think playing the perpetually distraught mother allows her to conceal and ignore that guilt. She needs mental health help to deal with her guilt and grief, but that will likely never happen.

    Hugs right back to you! Thanks for the support.

  12. Hi! I know I don't know you personally but I think I can certainly relate to alot of what you feel here. There are some similarities between you and I. Firstly I am truly sorry to hear about your sister. I can't even begin to imagine your pain. Secondly, because of my own personal experiences I'm going to say that I think you should not let your mother or her partner upset you any more. It will drag you down. Sometimes if you take the lead and say 'That's it. I'm done with you' the other person in time will realise their errors. Far be it for me to tell you what to do but you need to focus on youand your family first. Whatever you decide to do I hope that Christmas is a good time for you.

  13. I'm so sorry, I know you've had frustrations (too mild a word?!) with them before. I never understand why people want to be in the spotlight :(

  14. So sorry- some people never change, no matter how much we want them to. Hang in there.. Hi~ I am your newest follower from the LBSTP & would love it if you stopped by and returned the love :)

  15. Oh, wow. I'm so very sorry. It's nearly impossible to recover from your sister's death when your mom continues to pick at the scab.

  16. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to comment on this, but I wanted to read it when I could give it my full attention.

    I'm not even sure what to say. All I seem to be able to do is shake my head.

    Some people are assholes. Some people also seem to have been born with an innate sense of entitlement and the belief that the world owes them something. You, my dear, seem to have that all rolled into one in your mother.

    It's a shame that she's acting this way. What happened to your sister was a horrific tradgedy. You should all be helping each other to deal with it and remember to celebrate her life, instead of perpetually mourn her death. Instead, you have to deal with your grief all on your own while dealing with your crazy mother and her need for attention. I'm so sorry.

    You are right about your nephew. Probably the only bright spot in this whole situation is that your nephew was so young when your sister was killed. He probably didn't even fully understand what was happening. The opportunity is there to shape this experience for him. Like you said...he should grow up as an inspiration, not a victim. I really hope that you are able to do that even with your mom trying to turn it around on you.

    I hope the bonfire event went ok and that you were able to stay and enjoy it. I also hope your Christmas was a good one.

  17. Thanks, Carol! Unfortunately, being done with my mother and her partner is easier said than done. However, Christmas did turn out really good.

  18. LOL! Frustration works just fine, Rachel, even though it does feel a little too mild at times! :-) I don't get the spotlight grabbing either...that's so not me.

  19. Very true, Grace, and thank you.

  20. Shana, thanks so much for your kind, encouraging, and eloquent words! You are so incredible--much of what you said is absolutely correct. It can get hard trying to balance my grief and my feeling surrounding my sister's death with my mother's constant need for attention. Unfortunately, I've grown used to it, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't seriously irritate me every once in a while.

    I'm really hoping my nephew grows up an inspiration rather than a victim. MusicMan and I will do everything we can to make sure that's the way his story turns out.

    The bonfire went very, very well, and Christmas was excellent. It's funny how things have a way of working out. Hopefully more on that soon.


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