My apologies for the delay in posts. Life has been like a whirling torrent of energy ping ponging off of the lives of those closest to me. The holidays had no meaning for one of them, but all of the meaning in the world for another. It also provided a wall in production that I found I cannot climb alone. I need my producer.
I recently revealed that Rachel’s dad had died and she went to be with him at the end. Her mother came with her back to the west coast filled with fear after losing her husband and in many ways caretaker of the last 52 years. Before she could even get settled in, she came down with pneumonia and severe anemia and was hospitalized. She received a transfusion and treatment for the viral infection but in both(Rach and I)of our opinions; her mom didn’t want to live anymore. She died during the night soon after Rach had visited to check on her. Her viewing was Christmas Eve.
Then there is my husband Seth. He was adopted at 3 months of age in NYC in 1965. His biological mother left behind information about herself but Seth has never pursued it. As far as he was concerned, the middle class Jewish couple from north Jersey are his parents. Even when I was pregnant with our son and I wanted to connect; find out if there was anything medical I should be aware of but he couldn’t bring himself to do it.
His mother, Lenore, passed away on Mothers Day(nice one there)a few years ago. She and Seth’s dad Mike had been together since they were fifteen. When she died, my father in law was understandably vulnerable. A woman who lived in the senior condo complex swooped in barely three months after Lenore passed. Her name is Sandy and she has completely screwed up life as we knew it for my husband and more painfully my son.
As anybody who has read this blog knows, my parents both died by suicidal means and I was left behind as a 26 year old woman-child who had no idea how to handle real life. Seth’s parents had my back. It was rocky at times, but generally I was treated as family in the proper way. I gave birth to the first grandchild in the family. An only son carrying his father’s family name; an only son of an only son of an only son in a Jewish family is a big deal. My son and his grandfather had a special relationship. A bond Ty knew he could count on for better or worse.
Sandy is an incredibly controlling woman and that’s coming from someone who has that natural instinct in spades as well but has learned how to suppress or channel it. This is an old woman who has to be viewed as the boss, going so far as to wear a cap that has the word emblazoned in gold lettering. And somehow she has gotten Mike under her spell. Not to mention how she has treated me and my family.
Allow me to clarify; it wasn’t that she wasn’t warm or friendly. I mean she wasn’t but it went way past that. The woman never has a truly nice thing to say and goes as far in the opposite direction as possible. Upon our first encountering her, she made her stance clear. It was my son’s birthday; a big deal for him and his pop-pop. After a tense dinner I invited them to my place so Ty and Mike could continue his birthday tradition of making breakfast together.
I honestly felt like killing her for this debacle. When they arrived, the first thing she did was say how since I had a black cat, that it was bad luck and she’s very superstitious. Bruce Lee once said that superstition is a name the ignorant give to their ignorance. After some back and forth, she cursed me out in my home and said my parents deaths explain why I’m so, in her words, fucked up. Tyler was right there. She is astoundingly critical of my son as well and he is emotionally afraid of her after these negative interactions.
We have maneuvered the best we can for holidays past so we weren’t alone with her or in an environment where we couldn’t just leave. Tyler felt so strongly about this, he didn’t want to be around her at all. He chose to forgo camp and go up to visit his pop-pop while Sandy was supposed to be out of state. And we were very clear about her not being around Ty at all. That she is mean to him. He blew off everything we told him and she was even at his place when my son arrived from his flight. It got so bad, he turned around and demanded to be flown home after only a few days. I was traveling to interview the One Simple Wish foster assistance group and couldn’t do anything but grow more resentful for the treatment of my child.
Now this holiday season, it has reached a new low. Tyler has refused to speak to Mike he is so broken hearted and Mike is acting like more of a child than my teenager. He checked in with Seth a month ago and nobody has heard from him since. He didn’t do the one thing my son really looks forward to and loves; his Hanukkah card from pop-pop. I mean he didn’t even call on Christmas or try to reach out. Seth is hurt to his core and my son is angry and incredulous. This is his only grandparent and the only parent left between the two of us. I am shocked that someone could be so cruel knowing all she does.
So now I’m working with the absence of Rachel while she takes her much needed time to recuperate. Seth who, while he is being festive, is cut to the quick. He has always depended upon his dad. And my son who is so aggravated he doesn’t want to speak to Mike again if Sandy is still in the picture and his pop-pop apologizes for not standing up for him.
It has broken my heart being helpless to improve the situation. I even tried to coordinate with my sister-in-law to get Mike and Ty alone to talk but we weren’t invited to south Florida at all and she doesn’t get it. Granted, she and I are very different kinds of people. She avoids conflict like the plague and told me she believed that Sandy is a good person who is a little rough on the outside.
All I can say about that is that I would never stand by and let anyone treat my nephews the way she allows her to treat Ty. Even last year when I was so excited about getting KINDRED off of the ground, all she could say was that I should get a real job. And she would know everything about my history and health? The fact that I am in pain daily and doing my best. What she does know how to do is be a real job herself. A hostile one. I wonder if she was abused as a child because people don’t usually behave this way, but there is no excuse for purposely hurting a child.
I was warned that post production and editing and figuring out how to market a project is the hardest, loneliest part of the process and they were right. Then add a heaping dose of life on top of that, the look on my son’s face; and I cannot even think straight. My instinct is that what we are involved in has the potential to help children caught in a helpless situation and prevent it from happening in the future so we have to rush. The urgency feels like stopping a child from crossing a street with cars coming. But now I am limited. I’m not big on being limited at all but I will do my duty, I will keep the conversation going. I will tell people that it is happening and I will continue to post in social media.
Nursing is what is needed for the men in my family and my beloved Rach. I wish I could take their pain away but I know all too well that the best I can do is be supportive, available and loving. I admit I am beyond angry but again, that’s a useless emotion unless channeled into something productive. Hell Facebook was partially an I’ll show you from Zuckerberg to an ex-girlfriend. So maybe I can create something productive with what I am dealing with.
Thank you for allowing me to share this and how it is effecting my state and the project. I needed to vent it and I’m not even mentioning Mike’s name in my house as to not incite an outburst or more pain. My job is to focus on KINDRED and foster care daily and bare witness to the survivors. I brainstorm ways to protect, change and innovate the system. Looking at the heartbreak of my kid over something like this reminds me how bad some kids have it. That every child deserves someone to care for and protect them. I am far from conventional or perfect; but I’d take a bullet or jump a speeding train for Tyler.
If anyone has comments on this post, please comment. I assure everybody that our team is as committed to finishing and using KINDRED to educate the general population about a shame on our great nation’s people happening right under their noses if they would only look as we always have been. I hope you stick with us and join me in sending positive vibes to those who need it. This is ride or die reform, that part will never change. Our timetable is flexible thankfully but our commitment to the cause isn’t.