I called her to wish her a happy birthday. When she answered the phone I could tell she had been drinking; a bad habit my father passed on to her. Actually it’s a habit that seems to run in that entire side of the family. I have been lucky not to get hooked on the smoking or drinking that killed my father, his mother and father, and sometime in the near future his brothers. My younger and only sister is also an alcoholic.
“Hey Karen, Happy Birthday!”
“Thanks for remembering, you don’t know how much that means to me.”
“What are you doing tonight?”
“Nothing. I’m just laying here in bed.”
“Where are your kids?”
“Bethany is at dance class and Brock is with mom.”
“You are by yourself on your birthday?”
“Beth will be home soon.”
“Why is Brock with mom?”
“She didn’t tell you?”
“Brock lives with her now.”
Brock is her son. He is permanently disabled from the treatment of a brain tumor that he had when he was 8 years old. He is now 21. It is easiest to describe him as a boy in a man’s body. He will probably need some sort of supervision the rest of his life.
My mother lives in Arizona and my sister lives in Colorado. This is the first I have heard about Brock living with my mother. He went home with her after Christmas. This is the great relationship I have with my mother and sister. I am the only family they have. At some point in time over the last 3 months when I checked in with my mother to see what new and exciting things were going on in her life you would have thought she might mention something like that. I some times think she doesn’t talk to me about Karen because she is afraid she will hear a great big I TOLD YOU SO.
My mother has always covered for my sister. Ever since we were kids, it has always been about Karen. My parents always fought about her. She ran away from home so many times that at the age of 13 they let her move out with her boyfriend. She ended up getting married at 15. Although I don’t think my parents were meant to stay together, I do feel that Karen put such a strain on their marriage that it only helped to speed up the inevitable.
My sister is the reason my mother and I don’t talk much. A few years ago when my dad was diagnosed with cancer, Karen did some really crazy stuff. I took issue with her about her craziness. Karen put my mother in the middle and my mother had to take a side. Actually, she didn’t have to take a side. She should have been Switzerland. But she took my sister’s side and lied for her. Some day I might blog about it just because what she did was so crazy. It was truly Jerry Springer material. You know, the kind of thing most of my readers come here to enjoy!
Five months after my father died, she continued the craziness with my grandmother and grandfather. My grandmother was also diagnosed with cancer. I remember talking to my grandfather on the phone at the hospital,
“How are things going?”
“Are my mom and Karen there?”
“Are you sure things are OK?”
“Tommy, I’m going to kill these girls. I totally understand what happened between you and your mother now, so does your grandmother.”
The things she said and did were so bad that to this day my grandfather still does not talk to her.
The fact is, the only two family members that will talk to her are my mother and me. All other relatives do not.
Listening to her on her birthday made me sad. I could tell that she was in desperate need of help. She has lost her house, lost her job, and she is going through a nasty divorce. And after all of the bullshit she has put me through, I still wanted to do something for her. So I asked, “What can I do?” She said, “ Just don’t be mad at mom.” After all of these years she has finally realized how much she took away from me as far as that relationship goes.
There were two reasons why I sent my oldest daughter Sarah to a residential youth school. The first was to protect her from herself. We had no control over her. At that time she was trying to get pregnant and experimenting with drugs. The second reason was that she was taking away all of Austin’s and Alissa’s time with us. That is something I am very familiar with.
I can remember sharing with my wife that I always wanted kids, just as long as they were not like Karen. The minute that came out of my mouth I knew it was my destiny. I should have just said, “God, give me a kid just like my sister so I can be the perfect parent that I missed out on.” His response, “No problem, here’s three.”
The last time I wrote about Sarah things were looking good for her. Well, things have changed. At this time the plan is to get her ready for being on her own at 18. She came home for a week since my last entry about her. And the visit really gave us all a slap in the face. She is not ready to come home and she is running out of time at this school. Her therapist thinks she has improved a lot but isn’t going to get any better, and he does not recommend letting her go back home.
Does this mean we abandon Sarah? No. We will still be her parents, as much as she lets us. My guess is that she will hook up with birth mom shortly after her 18th birthday. We would consider hooking them up now if we thought it would help Sarah. We just don’t know. I just don’t want her to be celebrating her 43rd birthday by herself with a bottle of wine and no home no friends and no family.
I do see a lot of my sister in Sarah. Perhaps I’m easier on my sister now because of it. I have had to learn a lot about personality disorders and that some things just can’t be fixed. Just ask Brittany's mom. :)