Wednesday, February 06, 2008

NOTE: I was originally not going to post this after I first wrote it. But then I started thinking, "Why shouldn't I post it? It's how I feel." I have this horrible thing going's called GUILT. I often times feel guilty for the way I feel about my family. I'm not a horrible person by nature. I love my family but I often times don't like my family. Does that make sense?

My mom just called me, upset. She has a safety deposit box at the bank where she keeps hers and my dad's wedding rings, and her engagement ring. Well she has been late on payments and the bank was threatening to "drill" into the box, which I'm not sure exactly how this works, if they take the items out or what? Anyway, she went and had them open up her box and her diamond ENGAGEMENT ring is missing (even thought the wedding bands are there, thank goodness). So she put in some kind of complaint at the bank.

And I know it's irrational, it's "just jewelry", but I feel like crying. It's my mom's engagement ring, it's a piece of father proposed to her with this ring in hand. It's important. And now it's gone. I told her to please bring the wedding rings over to my house, and I'll put them in my fire proof safe box, but she is afraid to part with them now, I think. She wants to keep them with her, in her safe-box, but unfortunately she lives in a house with some of our family members (her mother which is my grandmother, her 2 brothers who are my uncles, and her son who is my brother) and unfortunately my two uncles can not be trusted. They are both addicts and both will steal (and HAVE stolen before) from her.

Believe it or not--and I'm sickened just reliving this through memory--immediately after my father died, my uncle was over "visiting" my mom. A few days later, my mom realized that a little ceramic bunny-shaped bank that she had, that was probably full of anywhere between $100-200 worth of quarters, was missing. Then on instinct, she went into her and my father's bedroom, and found another jar missing that contained coins my father had collected over the years. And worst of all, THEIR WEDDINGS RINGS were missing from her jewelry box. My mom was absolutely livid, she called the police, and when they asked if she had any idea who had stolen the items (there was no sign of forced entry other than a cooler pushed underneath her bedroom window) she confidentaly said, "yes, I think it was my brother." Anyway, to make a long story short (too late, right?), my mom confronted my uncle and he denied it. She told him she had filed a police report. He finally admitted to stealing the bunny full of quarters but swore he never would have stolen from his dead brother-in-law and his sister (meaning the rings). My mom didn't believe him. Two days later, the rings were back in her jewelry box (hence the reason she started keeping them in a safety deposit box). At that point in time, I could hardly understand how someone--never mind a relative--could steal something so precious from his recently widowed sister. Since then, more things have happened and I finally came to the realization that a drug-addict ONLY cares about his/her addiction, nothing else. It took me driving my uncle to a drug deal one day (not admitting to myself at the time that that's what it was) and arguing with him in the car about why pot is bad, to realize it---

(Uncle A: "April, there is nothing wrong with smoking pot."
The funny part of this conversation being that pot was the LEAST of his worries...I knew that but he was in denial about it.
Me: "Uncle A-it's illegal!" I remember him looking me in the eye and holding up a baggie full of marijuiana.
Uncle A, scoffing: "April, I smoke pot, your other uncles smoke pot, lots of people do it. We always have it on us."
At that moment in time, and I don't think I've ever admitted this to anyone before, but at that moment in time I hated him. My favorite uncle. The young, cool, hip uncle who I'd always looked up to--the one who my childhood friends had always had crushes on--I wanted to throw him out of my moving vehicle. How dare he put me in this position? He was carrying an illegal substance in MY car, asking me to drive somewhere so he could buy cocaine (after he randomly showed up on my doorstep at 11pm while his son, my cousin who was was sleeping over, lay sleeping so innocently in my bed) looking me in the eye at my home and swearing that was not what he was doing? I told him to promise me, promise me, this had nothing to do with drugs. So leaving my cousin, HIS SON, at home with my boyfriend at the time, I stupidly took him out to meet his "friend". Yes, I was in my lower-twenties at the time, and mildly naive, and up until that point in my life I still viewed him as the adult and me as the child. Him. Well that had changed the moment he said what he did from beside me in the car. Tried to make excuses for what he did. The man I thought would never do anything to hurt me, had put me in danger by association with his lifestyle. And I vowed never to enable any addicts again (I think this is why it's so hard with me with D's dad who is an alcoholic. I don't want us to enable him, but at the same time, it's his father, ya know? *SIGH*)

SO, yes something as simple as jewelry has brought up all these hard feelings. I want my mom to leave her jewelry with me. I want my mom to move out of that crazy house and in with D and I. I want her life to have some sort of normalcy again. And on the flip side, I don't want my mother to move in with us, knowing that if she does that life for us would lose some it's normalcy. We'd have no privacy anymore in our tiny house and even just a simple argument between D and I would feel weird knowing we had an audience cuz no matter where my mom would be in our house, you can still hear. But regardless, my mom has no money, no job (she is on disability for her illnessess and unable to work) and not healthy and I have to step up to the plate now and do something. And stop feeling sorry for myself. And I feel like a horrible, shitty, selfish daughter for worrying about how my life won't be so "easy" if Mom moves in with us. I have so many pent-up feelings of regret and worry: regret for not doing enough for my father when he was here and worry that I won't be able to do enough for my mother before I some day lose her.

Amazing how something as simple as a missing ring can bring me right back to this place. :-(

UPDATE: Seriously, TEN MINUTES after I first typed this post, my Big D stopped in unexpectedly to see me here at work. He was looking kind of down, and he asked me, "Guess who called me today?" I had no guess so he told me. His Dad. Remember back in November when I told you what his Dad had done? Read the paragraph titled Freak Out #3. Go ahead. I'll wait. Are you done? So today his dad calls and asks Daryl to take TOMORROW off from work to drive him to UPPER state NY to go to court.

Um, okay, first of all, D's Dad only seems to call him when he wants/needs something. As irritating as that is, what makes it worse is that his Dad's alcoholism has really messed up his life. He quit his job, he doesn't work or have money, it ruined his marriage with his wife (D's Mom), he has been arrested twice for DUI and this last time he crashed up his car and had his license taken away. He doesn't pay his bills and when his boiler breaks OR he runs out of oil, who does he call? Daryl. And D, being the thoughtful boy he his, stopped by to see what I thought becuz if he DID take his dad tomorow, that is cutting into his paid time off which he is trying to accumulate for our honeymoon.

I am irritated also becuz this court appearance is something his father has KNOWN ABOUT FOR A MONTH. Why did he wait till the DAY before to ask D to bring him? Like D's life is not important enough to give him notice? Now let me clear something up...I love my FIL and I would love for him to get his life in order. But not at the expense of Daryl's. The son should not have to clean up the father's mess! I know this sounds cold and heartless and i don't mean for it to. I'm just tired of sugar-coating this time of behavoir. And now back to the whole ENABLING thing I mentioned earlier...when does it stop being helping your family member, and just enabling them? AGAIN to make a long story short, D and I both came to the conclusion together, that he will not be taking his dad tomorrow. This makes me feel...ahem...guilty. And if this makes me feel guilty, I can only imagine how it makes D's feel. But I know we made the right decision. When is his father ever going to be held accountable for his own life? When is he going to realize that D can NOT always save/bail him out?


Chele76 said...

if we only could choose our family.... :/


You're thoughts and feeling are legitimate. You're strength really shows by you being able to discuss all this.

You'll do the right thing.

Smitty76 said...

Thanks 'chele...I think sometimes it helps me to see it all laid out in print like this and knwo that my feelings about it all are legitimate. Daryl and I are trying to create a life for ourselves where we don't have to worry about other people's (family members) drama anymore but obviously it's easier said than done. *SIGH*

Amy said...

How sucky. But Chele's right, your thoughts are legitimate, and I don't think it's selfish to want to start out your married life with no family drama, and with no mama living in your home. If you let her in, more than likely your uncles are going to follow - not literally, but you don't need them around stealing your stuff and putting you at risk with their druggy lifestyle.

Melissa said...

Sometimes the best lesoon we learn from our family is how not to be like them.

Hang in there, I know just how difficult family can be!! ((hugs))

Big D said...

Well Amy we dont have to worry about her uncles at our house they are afraid of me or was intimidated hahahaha but thanks everyone for the support

Robyn said...

The only time he is going to realize that D can't be there is when he stops being there. It will probably only take once or twice for him to say no I can't and his dad will get it. Hopefully

ALF said...

I am slowly learning that everyone's family is at least a little crazy. It might not be right but it makes me feel a little bit better knowing that at least people can relate to the madness of my family...

Poltzie said...

Oh honey,
You are NOT selfish, heartless or anything else that you posted. You are simply someone trying to deal with a tough situation. I don't have the answers or even suggestions but you are Daryl are so good together that you will figure out the right answer for you two.
I agree that everyone has a crazy family and while we all put on good faces many of us are dealing with the same issues.
Thank you for being vulnerable and posting such personal information. Hopefully you have motivated others to talk about the hard issues in life!
I will be thinking about you and your family!
Your friend,
ps. With a wedding coming up everything is going to be that much more emotional so stop apologizing for being out of sorts - totally normal!

April said...

you are NOT being selfish!! This is a question I find myself faced with often - when is it enabling bad behavior (not a drug/alcohol problem, but more along the financial end) a family member? So hard. We want everyone to be happy and LIKE us, so we don't want to say no, when no is probably the best answer. As for your mom - you'll do the right thing...oops, just realized I quoted chele76

Keri said...

I had to step back and think of how i wanted to word my comment...
You've read my bloggie enough to know that my dad was my whole world. I still consider myself a daddies girl to this day.
My dad was my best friend... than he moved in with us.
M really tried. we both did. M liked my dad very much... just not right in out newly married space. and we have a 4000+ sq.foot house... and it never seemed big enough.
I loved having my dad around, but when M & I would be having discussions, or say an argument... it was quited difficult. NEVER mind any romantic notions... that's a little awkward with you daddy a few rooms away...
Needless to say it was the hardest and worst decision i ever had to make.
On January 2 2004 -i left a note to my daddy and asked him to find an apartment to save my marriage. I wrote it down cause i suddenly found myself that 6yr little girl hurting her daddie's feelings. It was just too much for me. I am in tears still as i write this.
January 2 2004 was the last time i saw my daddy. The last time i heard his voice.
yes , we've emailed a few times this year... but it has fallen through (another wound for another day)
Do you , D, & your mom and work to find her an affordable option. I don't know her age, but maybe over 55 housing, aid programs, subsidized housing in a better neighborhood (they have em, just gotta dig.)
Trust it from a girl who is still deeply wounded by trying to 'help'... it was the most painful experience i've ever had. I wish i had helped in a different way and then i would still have my parents.
As for D's dad... His dad needs to pick himself up by his bootstraps and realize that D is there for support, not to enable and reward his bad behavior.
oh... and get those rings from your mom.... maybe make a 'special box' to store them inside your safe in... a memory box for you and your mom.

Heather said...

that was an amazing post... a friend of mine really needs to read it to wake up and see what is happening to her. thank you for this post! my thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

~**Dawn**~ said...

Oh April. I'm so sorry. I know we all have "issues" with our families, but that's so much on one plate. I wish I could put you in touch with my friend Michelle. She works in the office of a substance abuse rehab facility, and she always has really good advice about handling situations like this. Maybe I will have her come over here & read...

Something's Missing said...

Dawn directed me to your blog...I am so sorry your family is going thru this! Keep in mind YOU are not responsible for their actions, only your reactions. You can choose to offer them tools and resources to help begin their recovery from addiction, but ultimately it is up to them to follow thru. Addiction is not a character flaw it is a chronic, but treatable, disease, and relapse is part a disease as well. You have control over the level of interaction you chose to have with them, and although it may be difficult, it may be time to let go. Being family does not obligate you to do everything for them, you know? (And yes, I know it is easier said than done, but sometimes letting go can be the best freedom you can find). I'd suggest you AND your mom -- together -- look into some type of support group, whether it be a self help group like Alanon or Narcanon or a church group or something where people in similar situations can offer real life suggestions. You can overcome the guilt and the anger!