May. 18th, 2017

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It's more like a line of dominoes. Who or what set up the long, twisting curl of pieces, I don't know, but all it took was the slightest flick of a fingernail to bring the entire empire crashing down. Even at 17, writing in my journals, I predicted this. It wasn't hard to see where the stacks were too close to each other. It wasn't hard to see where they would smash into one another to bring the next piece down, over and over again.

What I hadn't predicted was that my mother would become her own greatest victim, trapped even further by those surrounding her. It might give her a better chance of surviving should she divorce her husband, but it would not solve her problems. It'd be like a junkie throwing out all of her needles - a good start, but only a precursor to starting the work on what made her want to shoot up to begin with.

My mother is 89 pounds, a thing that miraculously doesn't seem to worry the medical practitioners in the hospital. This is in part her eating disorder having re-emerged, and largely more the fact that her husband feeds her only when HE feels like putting in the effort to feed her. She is otherwise generally bed-bound, rising only in the throes of mania (bizarrely yet diagnosed, but blindingly apparent to anyone who see it.) She babbles maniacally, half the time acting half her age or younger, the same as HER mother did when in the later developed stages of schizophrenia.

Jim, her husband, puts her in the room of the house where the black mold literally rises along the corners of the wall, while he sleeps in the cleanest room of the house. He put off taking her to the hospital while she was having a stroke because there was a pig needing to be skinned beforehand. (Not a euphemism. He's a hunter.) He steals her medication, her disability checks. He refuses to discuss areas of my mother's physical health (such as her pancreas) which has been slowly killing her for years at this point.

But then, this is the same man who handed her a shotgun and told her that if she hated him that much, why not shoot him? She fled the house in terror, only to have him laugh in her face when she returned. "What, did you think I was stupid enough to give you a loaded gun?" he chortled.

He LOVES to makes threats with his guns. I remember this even as early as 16, when he would pull them all out, lay them on a table, and ask Cassie and I our opinion on which he should use to kill himself.

(I should have pointed to the rifle and said I'd use the others myself just to make sure he was actually dead.)

This is the man who tore the head off of a living pigeon in front of Cassie's young son to teach him about "life and death." This is the man that had my mother so worried that she asked Cassie to go through his computer, to find he has a ton of....well, really, REALLY illegal shit on it. Illegal of the worst kind.

And this the man my mother knew all along was like this. My mother chose him over her children (and that's a QUOTE from her, no less) because she was afraid of being alone. She made that choice, knowing full well what he had done to us.

I'm not sure if ever thought that those behaviors would eventually be turned towards her once we were out of the picture. That's the tragic part. Some part of her has been overturned within the last months, and she has been able to apologize - or at least mouth the words - of apologies for staying with such a monster.

But an apology is not a change, nor would it be enough for reconciliation. Some ships have long since sailed and there is no return.

But it does make me sad. Sadness without the anger, which dropped away the first time I nearly died, seemingly out of the blue. Sorrow at the holes a person can dig themselves into.

But the hole she's dug for herself isn't a hole. It's a grave. It is a grave and Jim stands above it, continually throwing down more shovels so that she can dig her final resting place deeper and deeper.

Cassie says that she is now, for the first time in her life, disclosing the most basic of abuses she suffered herself as a child. Another good start, but in name only, as my mother refuses therapy of any kind. What my mother did to us was horrific, what HER mother and grandparents did to her was monstrous, and god only knows what THEIR parents did to them.

It is no small task to recover from your own childhood abuse - and it may be the only thing that could save her. I don't think she is capable of saving herself, so plentiful are the steel strings that Jim has her in, twitching her as his own puppeteer. Even without him, she's spent almost 56 years running away from what was done to her.

I told Jesse it would take a miracle to save her....and I do not believe in miracles.

I remember at 15 she had told me about her grandfather sexually abusing her. She was driving me to school. I glanced out of the window and told her that he had been wrong to do that. That he abused her, a child, and he should not have done that.

"You can't say what he did was bad. He is dead and can't defend himself anymore," was her response. She dropped me off at the school curb, where I made a beeline for the bathroom and spent the first two hours of class sobbing in the toilet stall.

How do you break past that kind of denial? Where someone refuses to label sexual abuse as wrong simply because the perpetrator is dead?

You can't. It took me years of trying otherwise, but I eventually learned you cannot make even a dent into that kind of denial. And that, the denial and the people she's chosen to keep close enough to CONFIRM that denial for her, is what is going to kill her.

If Jim doesn't get to her outright, at least. She's chosen a long, painful, suicide of the body and soul, and a husband who has no problem hastening both her choices of death.

I sometimes don't know what would be the greater mercy - his death or hers.

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