Thursday, December 4, 2008

P.S. on previous post - "Huh -DId I mention?"

Well, well, well. First, what is interesting is just how uncomfortable I was to have a chat with Jen. She is, shall we say, quite defensive, which I get, I really do. Rather than talk to her about her, I talked to her about me and my part in the on-going insanity. It is hard to argue or defend against someone who is talking about themselves, their perceptions and so forth. I wavered from time to time and mentioned some of her choices which quickly brought her defenses up or allowed her to argue a detail that she recalled differently, albeit insignificant in the whole scheme of things; like a day of the week, or a shorter or longer time span, and the like. I would re-group and keep my words so that they were only about me.

I talked to her about the purpose of knowing one's history, and not to live in 'error' but to learn from our past so a better present and future can be created. I spoke of my history with her in regards to the men in her life and my saving her many, many times. And based on where she is today, my rescues did not change anything, in fact, it has only gotten worse. Here is a rundown:
It is lengthy, but it is what it is..........

1- She went to Florida with her son's father while she was pregnant, - against all warnings to not do so. His father was a 'drug-dealer'. The house they were staying at got raided. The father was 36, his girlfriend 17, their child, 2. I think that is considered statutory rape, although I could be wrong), She was told that when they came back that anyone in the house would be arrested. My nephew and his wife who lived in Florida devised a "rescue plan". They picked her up at a hotel, and got her to the airport and I bought the plane ticket and flew her home to me.

2 - Once here she decided to move in with a girlfriend - also against all warnings to not do so. I knew enough about this woman and those who "crashed" at her apartment to know this was a very dangerous environment. I wanted her to just stay here until she had her baby. I couldn't stop her from going. Most of what I feared would happen, happened. There were drunken brawls, people "hiding from the authorities in the attic and/or basement, DCF involvement in regards to her 'friend' and her two children. She was now about six months pregnant and decided to go and live with her sister in upstate NY. Her sister was very excited to have her. I paid all expenses and off she went.

3 - Once there, Kristie found her a cute apartment just a few minutes from her. Our family 'chipped in' and got everything she needed for her baby, and actually furnished the entire apartment. Eventually the baby's father joined her there just a week before her son was born. Jo'el was born and for a few months they were like a family. He was much younger than she, by six years. His work ethic was quite weak and it wasn't long before they were falling behind. I kept them 'afloat' by paying part of her rent and utilities and endless diapers for her son. Her sister did what she could to help, as well. Then, it happened. She was arrested for 'welfare fraud'. There was no wiggle room, either she showed up in court with the $1,593.00 they calculated was fraudulent or she would go directly to jail, right from court. I did what I had to do and sent her a money order made out to the court for the amount required to keep her out of jail.

4 - She told me she missed being near me and wanted to come back to Connecticut. She told me she was going to live with her son's father's Mom. I had concerns but felt I could be more involved if she was closer to me. I paid for the U-haul, again, and they came back to Connecticut. She put all of her belongings in his family's basement - actually his grandmother's house. Which, strangely, somehow all got destroyed due to water in the basement. every piece of furniture, toy, hand made quilt, destroyed. Come to find out they were not living at his Mother's house but had moved back in with the 'friend' who was under DCF investigation and still a cast of characters in and out that made the HBO series "OZ" look like 'Romper Room', comparatively. I found out quite by accident when, on my way home from a trip to the Mall decided to stop by his Mother's place with some gifts for "Jo'el" and was told by her other son that they did not live there. I was dumbfounded, as I stood there with clothes and diapers for Jo'el and scented candles for Jen. I found my way to the 'friends' house and stood outside crying and frightened. Anyway, she was surprised to see me, to say the least - the conversation was very awkward - I gave her what I bought and left. I never went back there. Some two months later her son's father left her and Jo'el and went back to Florida to his drug-dealing father. I took Jo'el whenever I could and invited Jen over often for dinners and visits, until.........

5 - It was a Tuesday, and my friend from work was over for coffee. He has M S also and wheel-chair bound. I can't remember why I had the day off but it was lucky that I did. The phone rang and all I could hear was my daughter crying very hard and trying to squeak out words that I really struggled to hear. (The arrangement they had was that Jen would watch her friend's new baby, 'Jose", who was now a month old or so and she would also get the other two kids off to school while her friend worked 7 to 3. Jen worked as a waitress at night and in turn her friend would be there for Jo'el.) This one particular Tuesday, while she was in the shower, the younger of the other two kids was knocking frantically on the bathroom door saying "Jose" wont wake up. Jen ran to the crib and the little baby had died. It was later determined it was S.I.D.S. Jen was hysterical. My friend drove me there right away. By the time we arrived there were police and news teams, DCF and hysteria. My friend left me there and I did what I could to lend support. It was SO awful. Her friend never forgave her for this happening and Jen was forced to leave. She and Jo'el came home with me. My friend in the wheel chair had a truck, - I took my husband's SVU and that weekend we all went to that house, loaded all her and Jo'el's stuff up and they moved in here. FOR TWO YEARS!!!

6- We made it as easy, comfortable, fun and supportive as was humanly possible. We baby-sat while she worked, albeit part time. I finally said that it was too much to baby sit at night after I worked all day. I gave her two weeks to find a day job and day care for Jo'el. The two weeks came and went. One late afternoon she came down stairs in her waitress uniform. I said, "Where are you going?" She replied, 'To work", I asked, "Who is watching Jo'el?", she said, "you, aren't you?" I said, "No, no I am not. I gave you two weeks to find other work and you didn't even try. I also said, which is often a point of humor between us now, I got up and said, while moving one hand up and down in front of her and then myself, I said, "your reality? you have a two year old, - my reality? I don't have a two year old!!" She was quite upset and quickly got on the phone to find someone to watch Jo'el. Within a week she had a day job and Jo'el went to day care. It was me making a different choice that motivated the change. There were many obstacles, things to undo, fix, rearrange, creditors to deal with - all left over residue from her chaotic past. Somehow we got through it. I guided her through the child support enforcement system, filling out court papers for sole custody and she got them both, securing day care financial support, acquiring state insurance, re-instating her license, paying off old tickets, I also put money aside for her that I said was "rent" when in fact I just saved it for her. She often didn't pay so it never really amounted to much. During this time there were endless lies about her where-abouts, always around some man she thought was worth betraying us for. It was mind boggling.

7 - Eventually she was tired of living with us. No home is really big enough for two families and 'Jo'el needed more space. They shared the extra room we have upstairs with a loft. Her sister wanted her back in NY. She decided to go. Once again, we secured a U-Haul, her sister came down - they loaded up the truck and off she and Jo'el went. The money I saved for her was enough for a deposit and one month's rent on another apartment her siter had waiting for her.

8 - She found a job rather quickly which included CNA training. I was thrilled for her as she began to improve her life and create a stable home for herself and her son. I willingly sent gifts, and food baskets, and celebrated her new life. For some reason she wasn't happy and it wasn't long before she admittedly (later) began to sabotage her world. She called crying saying she was behind in her rent by 2 months and had received an eviction notice via the town sheriff. I entered in to a payment arrangement with Barney, yes Barney, her landlord. I gave him a lump sum up front and paid the balance off over time. It was about $1200.00.

9 - Again she cried that she wanted to come home to be closer to me. What mother doesn't want to hear that? She found an apartment 'on-line' just down the road from us. I went and secured it for her - $500.00. She also emailed her resume to a nursing home, had a phone interview and was guaranteed a job. Yes, I paid for a U-Haul, again and she and Jo'el returned. We happily bought her a kitchen set and also a futon so she had a place to sleep. It was an adorable one-bedroom apartment. We filled her cabinets and refrigerator with food and they arrived. Jo'el went to day care and she worked and for a few months it went very well.

10 - The "he" came in to her life, her abusive "X". I will call him "angry-man". At first, he presented well, he worked, interacted well with us and seemed like a good guy. We really were genuinely excited and thrilled and very involved with them as a couple. He would even come here while Jen worked on a weekend on his way to take him fishing. It all looked so perfect. Hah!! He lost his job, went off his bi-polar meds and all hell broke loose. He was quite abusive to her and to Jo'el. verbally and physically. I watched her change as she tried to make his world perfect to ward off his rage and control. I talked to her endlessly and she defended hm saying things like, oh it's just because he had a bad day, and then he lost his job and was angry that he had to get up with Jo'el so she could be on time for work. She ws paying for his gas, insurance, food, and housing. He got angrier and angrier, she became ever more submissive and afraid.

Jo'el cut his foot on the school bus and it became badly infected, so badly that he was hospitalized for a week on I V anti-biotics. I went with Jen to the E R after it happened. while we were there I heard her on the phone with 'angry-man' saying, "I'm sorry your dinner wasn't in the micro-wave for you but I had to take Jo'el to the E R................." When she got off the phone, I said "What did you just say to him, do you hear yourself?" We stepped in to the outer area and she broke down and confirmed my worst fears. Angry-man' was so enraged that while she was at the hospital over night he packed his things and left her. He left behind a ton of unpaid bills, as well.
Once Joel was out of the hospital and we sat down and looked at what she now owed because she had supported him, well, it was a lot. I paid her electric bill, her gas bill, her day care costs and bought food. Well over $1000.00. Once again, she was more or less, back on her feet.

11- 'Angry-man' began calling and promising her he would take his medications and insisted that he loved her and had a job with his father making good money. In three months she let him back in. He moved in, again. We were stunned. It wasn't long before he was too sick to work and his rage enraged and she was living in fear, again. He also was abusing opiate pain medications and his rage was unpredictable. She had a visit planned to see her sister. She and Jo'el left one Friday in May. She received a phone call from a young boy she had befriended who was there over night while she worked so 'angry-man' wouldn't have his sleep disturbed in the mornings when Jo'el needed to get up for school. 'Angry-man' slept in until the afternoon. Anyway, this boy called (he is 19), saying that he and 'angry-man' were told that they could not be in Jen's apartment. 'Angry-man' moved out that night. Jen had no idea what had really happened so we all agreed Jo'el would be safer if she left him with her sister and she drove the 500 mile trip all night. Angry-man was waiting for her when she arrived.

12- Jen walked in to her apartment. Her entire CD, video, and electronic game collection was gone from the large shelf unit. All of Jo'els favorite games. Her and Jo'el's WII, MP2, DVD player and all the controls and accessories were also gone. Jo'els piggy bank was broken and empty as well as her 'quarters' for the washer and dryer. 'Angry-man' said that he accidentally left the door opened and her house was robbed. They argued all day and he finally left. Jen heard from various people that 'angry-man' along with the young boy had robbed her, took it all. She called 'pawn places' and the "game Stop" and 'the stupid angry-man- had sold the games and DVD's and CD's and accessories and even signed for them. All total? He stole $3800.00 worth of games, and movies and equipment. When Jen finally called me I told her she had to call the police, it was then that she said, "Mom, you were right about him..........the night before I left when he tried to get me not to go he held a knife to my throat and threatened me and Jo'el saw it all." She also finally told me just how abusive he was to Jo'el, as well. We both cried so hard, neither of us could breathe. I went to her house, as support when the police arrived.
Eventually he was arrested, he has to pay the $3800.00 in restitution, is on probation for threatening, robbery and risk of injury to a minor. DCF was also involved, and 'Jo'el stayed in upstate NY until just last week - over six months. She had said it was just for the summer.
Meanwhile, once again, Jen was financially behind. She had let many of her financial obligations slide in order to support him and keep him from raging. A day after he left she called me to tell me that her car had been repossessed. She was crying hysterically. I put $1050.00 on my credit card to get her car back. We agreed on a payment arrangement. I haven't seen a dime of that arrangement.

13- Over that summer she met "the intruder". He, more or less, took her focus off doing what she had to, to make it safe for Jo'el's return; things like, getting a day job, setting up before and after school day care and most important, getting herself in to therapy to explore her choices in men. None of that happened as she involved with the intruder. Her sister was confused as to her role, meanwhile she had Jo'el in counseling and other services to help him emotionally and academically. Jen was having fun and spending time with the intruder, and his daughter and that freaking dog. We have valid concerns about the intruder, as I have said; no job, still married, abusive (she has bruises all over her arms that did not come from that freaking dog), his neo-Nazis look and dark stare, his love of guns and other high-risk behaviors etc His "creepy" reaction to my husband....and his broken 11 year old truck. The intruder is NOT a good choice. When I spoke to Jen last night she did not disagree with his abusiveness, nor did she defend his lack of worth ethic. I told her that if 'Jo'el ever went in to school and told a teacher what he told me that DCF would be at her door in a hear-beat. Remember, he said, "he is mean to my Mommy, he slaps her and pulls her hair."

14 - So, I have decided that I need to make different choices that don't enable the insanity to continue. I have to own my part in it's continuance and do something about it. I told her I will not support her relationship with the intruder. I want to see her and have Jo'el over but not him. I told her she has to resolve her day-care crisis on her own. I told her that my paying her electric bill is the last financial involvement. I told her I believe that the intruder is very dangerous and will only bring harm to her and her son. If she chooses to keep the intruder in her life then the outcomes to that are hers to resolve. For the first time I am giving her full reign, freedom, a way to find her own strength, make her way, pick herself up, and hopefully feel good about her successes. I don't know how this will turn out. I DO know I will not direct it. I will love her and spend time with her and with Jo'el and give because I want to, not because I am undoing some crisis. I am very scared to step back. I am going to believe, that left to her own devices she will rise up stronger and whole and will design and build a safe world for her and Jo'el. A world free of abuse and oppression, a world of integrity, honor and decency. In all of my rescues I never gave her the opportunity to know this about herself and now I am. I am indeed.

I am fucking petrified.


p.s. did any of you count how many U-hauls I rented? :-)


Naj said...

:) your longest drive's been to Montreal :))

Greetings from Montreal!

Gail said...

Hi Naj


We had a grand time there. I think Florida is further, yes, absolutely it is. It took us six hours or so to get to Montreal.

We had dinner at a place called "Gibby's", do you know of it?



To Ms. Gail

I like the metaphors you have used in this piece of writing.
these are the examples I liked most : on-going insanity ; statutory rape; endless diapers

Naval Langa

Gail said...

Hi Naval-

Actually, there are no metaphors in this writing. Amazingly, it is all quite real. The insanity, the rape, the diapers, all of it true, very true indeed.

Nice to see you again.


Naj said...

Gibby's no, where's that?

I came back and read your 'story'.

Interesting that you are an addiction clinician; I guess you are detecting traces of impulsiveness and risk taking in Jen ... it's good she is not abusing substance (although i am not sure this hang on bad men is any different.)

Your choice is the absolute best one! From what I sense, Jen can count on your unwavering love, support. You make her feel safe to take risks.

She would perhaps hate you for changing your patterns of U-Hauling! But, birds need to learn to fly on their own!

This is a remarkable story!
Best wishes!


Gail said...

To Naj-

Gibby's or perhaps it is "Ibby's. Anyway, it is in Montreal. It as an old carriage house converted in to a restaurant. The court yard around it is quite lovely.

Thank you for your kind and understanding words about my difficult choices with Jen. She is my girl, my beautiful girl.


Naj said...

When reading your thoughts, I was really thinking how you could be my mother writing the same things!

I often hate her for not 'supporting' me; but I think if she did, I would be wreaking havoc in my life!

I think people should be allowed to wreak havoc in their lives! UNTIL they become chronically pained, and lose the ability to take care of themselves! That's my opinion and i am perhaps wrong! Dunno!

Gail said...

Hi Naj-

Your opinion is just that, your opinion - it is not right or wrong, it is yours. And actually, as I step back and let the HAVOC wreak as it may or may not for Jen, I am quite scared but even more scared to continuing rescuing.

I applaud your understanding of your Mom's lack of support as this gave you the opportunity to wreak HAVOC or calm. It is all so bittersweet as I wait and watch, lovingly from the side - I hope she knows I am her biggest fan, no matter what.
I hope you are okay with me adding you to the list of blogs I follow.