Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Sad Truth

There are real-life stories that top anything on the soaps. The dysfunctional family I recently wrote about has hit a new low.

The matriarch of this family died just 3 weeks ago today, leaving behind a beautiful older home in a wealthy part of the city and 4 adult children all 50+ years old, with the only girl being the youngest child. The oldest and youngest are the named executors of the estate.

The girl had given up her life in another big city to come live with her mother in the final months of her life, a great sacrifice in anyone’s book. She performed her role as caretaker with dedication up to the very end.

The boys in the family all show the signs of troubled childhoods, which included both verbal and physical abuse. They seem to be fixated on getting their inheritance, as if that will significantly change their lives. Each of them struggles with either unemployment or a business at risk. They have made it clear that they wanted their sister out of the mother’s home the minute the mother took her last breath.

Knowing full well what she is dealing with, the girl has taken their verbal abuse and tried to put this broken family back together over and over to no avail. Her body is significantly stressed by these attempts.

Yesterday marked a breaking point that defies belief. She and the oldest son were in the basement of the mother’s home when an argument ensued. He punched her in the face, breaking her glasses and cutting her nose. He then sat on her body to pin her down to the floor. She finally escaped his hold and ran upstairs to call 911. She was then taken to the hospital so her nose could be stitched up.

She told me that she had been mugged before and was always able to fight back. But being attacked by her older brother made her totally unable to defend herself.

The brother was taken into custody and released on bail with a 72-hour restraining order from entering his mother’s home.

My first reaction upon hearing this was “change the locks on the house and don’t let him in without supervision.” The girl is in a tricky position. The house is not hers or his, but instead it belongs to the estate. So she can’t legally change the locks.

This man is obviously a troubled soul who needs to be under psychiatric care. But meanwhile he poses a threat to his sister’s safety.

She is trying to get the restraining order extended to 2 weeks, which would allow her time to pack up and leave. But what if this isn’t possible and she is left to fear his return at any time during the day or night?

I had a long talk with this girl, who is really a woman, this week. She is grieving for her mother, but more than that she is grieving for her family that continues to disintegrate. The things will somehow be distributed, as will the money upon the sale of the house, but the family will probably never survive the passing of its matriarch. This is where I hope the dead don’t have a vision of what they left behind because this is a picture that no mother would want to see.

4 Comments:

Blogger Mother of Invention said...

I am absolutely speechless. This is completely foreign to me. Very sad.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous David said...

This is just an incredible story. I know the family of course and the irony is that the mother was one of the sweetest, gentlest souls I've ever met. I too pray that her soul is at peace and unaware of the fighting (sadly now the meaning is literal) between her children

5:01 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

How horrible. My family drives me nuts, at times, but we love each other immensely.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

I am with MOI that this is foreign to me. On the other hand, a lot of things are foreign to me that seem to be perfectly "normal" states of affair. Violence, aggression, abuse, injustice and unfairness are almost universally despised (at least officially), yet, they are never far beneath a thin skin of civility. I know so many stories of dysfunction that I often wonder that societies just don't crumble under the sheer weight. Yet, people seem compelled to maintain the façade of normalcy. Sadly, this is not a modern artifact of society.

8:42 AM  

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