Sexual Abuse


KumbayaA few weeks ago I had it in my head that I was going to take the high road and do some forgiving. Forgiving my sister for staying with her pedophile husband after he abused their daughter. Forgiving him for kissing me when I was 15 and he was 29 and married to my sister. Forgiving him for the devastation he left in the wake of his abuse of my niece. You see, my sister had expressed a desire for a renewed relationship. I am her only remaining sibling. And she, mine. Our brothers are dead. Our father is dead. Our mother is in a slow and steady decline. After our phone call taking the first tentative steps toward reconciliation, visions of Kumbaya danced in my head. I wanted to hold hands with my sister and her daughters and sing so badly, I was willing to overlook the fact that my sister has always been utterly tone-deaf.

My first opportunity to try out this new way of thinking was yesterday. My niece and her fiancé had a party at my sister’s house to celebrate their engagement. I was all set to go. And then I wasn’t. A week before the party, I started going into a tailspin. I’d have to hang out at my sister’s house with her husband (not to mention my mother, who recently had played the Cat Card), and pretend he wasn’t a pedophile. I am a master at denial. Really, I am. I’ve had years of practice. But this was a tall order and it wasn’t coming easily. Particularly since I’ve long believed that Forgiveness is Dangerous.

In an attempt to find a way to sit around a campfire with my sister and her family, I spent hours on the Google. I searched and searched for something that would tell me my brother-in-law’s sexual abuse of my niece was an anomaly. He was not sexually attracted to children then, or now, and never would be. It was a weird, one-off situation (even though it happened over years), brought on by stress and his own abusive childhood. I wanted to find professional journal articles that would tell me someone can abuse a child, but not be an abuser. Someone can sexually molest a child, and not be a pedophile. I wanted to let him off the hook. My sister had done it. And it was her child and her little sister he had abused. I had to be missing something. There had to be an explanation that would allow me to let it go.

Let it go. Be the bigger person. Move on. Forgive. Forget. Sing motherfucking Kumbaya together. And maybe even eat a s’more afterward.

Despite my dogged determination, I didn’t find anything via the Google that would help me accomplish my goal. Dude was a pedophile. An abuser. A despicable excuse for a human being. Can he still be a pathetic and sympathetic figure? Sometimes. Depending on my mood. Other times, I wish he’d hurry up and die already, and make all our lives just a little bit less complicated.

In the meantime, I’d agreed to go to a party at my sister’s house. Since Kumbaya no longer seemed possible despite my best attempts to rationalize the acceptability of the hand-holding and the singing, I was having second thoughts about going. I wanted to go to see my nieces, and my great-niece, who has just turned one and whom I hadn’t seen since Christmas. But my brother-in-law. I didn’t want to pretend he hadn’t done what he did. I didn’t have to go. I could say no. But I needed an excuse. So, again. Google to the rescue. I ran searches on excuses for getting out of family obligations. I already had all the standard ones at my disposal: work, illness, work, car trouble, work. Those didn’t seem good enough this time. I pondered the idea of having to care for a sick friend. But I imagined the complicated stories I’d have to concoct. The illness. Why no one else was available to care-take. What kind of soup I made her. Too much work. As I imagined driving to Houston for the party, I felt a deep, painful burning in my stomach. An actual physical manifestation of the stress brought on by the thought of spending time with my sister and brother-in-law. That settled it. I wasn’t going. And still, my internet searches had not hit upon the right excuse.

And them my plumber called. He’d been out recently and done some work, and was following up. The issue wasn’t fully resolved. He wanted to come out the same day as the party and finish the job. Bingo. I had my excuse. I told my sister and my niece I had a plumbing problem and the only time the plumber could come before I leave for vacation on Thursday was Saturday, the day of the party. I was free from the obligation. And my excuse was only exaggerated, rather than completely fabricated.

Saturday morning I lie in bed with the cats, imagining the free day ahead of me. No stressful family parties. I’d go for a walk before it got too hot. Catch up on my writing. My blogging. Make my packing list for my upcoming vacation. But first I had to check Facebook. I spotted a post from my niece about how excited she was about the prospect of seeing everyone later that day to celebrate her engagement. The plumber was coming, I told myself. Couldn’t be helped. (I’d bought my own bullshit, it seems.) I laced up my shoes and headed out for a stress-busting walk. It didn’t have it’s intended effect. Mid-walk, I decided to cancel the plumber and head to Houston. To the party.

My nieces were happy to see me. My mother was happy to see me. My sister was her usual stoic self, but I think she was glad I was there. The baby was gorgeous and adorable and sweet and I just wanted to eat her up. I was thrilled to hold her and bounce her on my lap and talk baby talk to her. I happily cut up watermelon for her, watching her scoop it into her mouth with her sticky little baby fingers. (This baby is obsessed with watermelon.) I was tickled to tuck her long dress into her diaper so she could crawl around the kitchen floor unimpeded. (She was wearing a dress I’d given her for her birthday.) Watching her splash in the pool in her sun bonnet, playing with her yellow rubber ducky, was sheer joy. Yes, seeing my great-niece made the stomach ache and dealing with my brother-in-law worth it. But when I looked at that little baby, that sweet innocent, beautiful girl, I wondered: Is my sister thinking about what he did? When she watches the baby splashing about with her grandfather in the pool, is she worried he might do it again? Granted, there are no unsupervised moments. But are my nieces thinking about it? Does my niece, the baby’s mother, have fear deep inside that her grandfather might some day have thoughts about her daughter, even if he doesn’t act on them, like he did about her younger sister? Does the baby’s father worry? We’re all thinking about it to some degree. We have to be.

Even if my niece has forgiven her father for what he did to her, this damage, the innocence he obliterated that we can never get back, I can never forgive my brother-in-law for. The fear that each of us carries. Some on the surface. Some, like my sister, maybe only down deep. But it’s there. I’m sure of it. Until he’s dead, it’s there. And some day, he’ll be gone. Then, we’ll sing and eat s’mores.

 

 

 

This has been an emotional post to write. It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve only just now found the strength to write it. Maybe the mindfulness meditation is getting to me, breaking down barriers.

 

My sister and I have had a strained relationship for many years. I’m not sure when that started. Because as she reminded me yesterday, we used to be close. Maybe she was resentful when I went to law school and she was stuck working with our dad and two brothers. Maybe I came off as obnoxiously superior, seeing as I was the only child of four to finish undergrad. And then when I went to law school, maybe it (I) just got worse. Or maybe my sister’s shift had nothing to do with me. Maybe it had everything to do with the fact she had found out her husband (we’ll call him Jim) was molesting their daughter. And when she found out, she told no one. She lived through that hell on her own and made decisions as best she could, with no one to talk to about what had happened. And then when I found out, from the daughter, I trumpeted the news throughout the family, condemning her and her choice to stay with her husband. No doubt that’s when things between us became strained to the point of disrepair. And then of course there’s the fact that I accused him of doing the same to me.

That last piece has been troubling me for many years. I had a therapist, Vicki. (Not my first.) My friends were seeing her and all loved her. So I believed Vicki knew what she was doing and was good at what she did. Vicki had decided I’d been sexually abused and had repressed memories. All the signs were there. And when my niece told me her father had molested her, I reported this to Vicki. Vicki then became convinced, and proceeded to convince me, that my brother-in-law Jim was also my abuser. It all made sense, she insisted. Molesters don’t operate in a vacuum. He must have done the same to me, and I’d blocked it out. Well, there was the time he’d taught me how to drive.

My sister met her husband when she was fairly young. She was working at a fast-food restaurant, and so she must have been 15 or 16. Her husband, who is 8 years older, would have been 23 or 24. The man who would become my sister’s husband often sat at a table in the restaurant and chatted her up. My brothers would say later, after I trumpeted the news of his molestation of our niece, that it was weird. Like stalking. And really, a man in his mid-20s trying to make it with a girl in her early teens is pretty creepy. Eventually, at 20, my sister would marry him. I’m 6 years younger than her, so I would have been 14 at the time they married.

Jim and I were close. We spent lots of time together, talking about music, and books, and philosophizing about life. He seemed to find me smart. And interesting. My father, who was largely absent, found me irritating and obnoxious. And he said I talked to much. So when Jim wanted to talk to me, and listen to me, and spend time with me, I was thrilled. One day when I was 15, he took me out to the country in his stick-shift Toyota to teach me how to drive. I recall that he rather abruptly decided we were through for the day, and he told me to pull over to the shoulder so he could take over and drive us home. As we passed at the back of the car, he kissed me. It was a passionate, yet tender, adult kiss. He seemed to be in a bit of a trance, and after a moment, he pulled away and said we needed to be getting home. I can’t remember what I thought of the kiss, other than confused. I don’t recall whether I thought it was gross or I liked it, or whether I was disappointed or relieved when he seemed to recover his senses and pull away. When we got back to the apartment where he was living with my sister, she must have sensed something, and she was angry. She told him he was spending too much time with me, and he protested that he was only teaching me how to drive. She told him, “Her father can teach her how to drive.” “Her father doesn’t teach her anything, does he?” he said. Jim and I spent less time together after that. I’d lost my friend. Because he’d crossed that line, things were never the same.

For 25 years, I told no one what Jim had done that day. Eventually I would tell a friend or two, a boyfriend, Vicki, my therapist; but never my family. Never my sister. Until my niece told me what he’d done to her, which was far worse than a kiss. And then I told everyone, including my sister, that he’d done it to me, too. But not only did I tell them about the time he kissed me, I told them I had recollected hazy images of him doing more. Hazy images brought on by my therapist’s certainty that there had been more, and I had repressed it. I did protest when Vicki initially brought up the idea that Jim was my molester. (Today, I am fairly certain there never was a molester; not Jim, or anyone else.) I told her the only memory I had was of the kiss, and if I could remember the kiss, it seems I’d remember the rest. Vicki said I’d blocked out the most traumatizing events, and only recalled what I could handle. She surmised that it went back years, from the time Jim first met my sister, when I would have been 9 or 10. So I started having hazy memories of what Jim had done to me. And I told my sister. I told her partly because I believed it at the time, and partly because I wanted to punish him even more for what he’d done to my niece, and to my sister. And, I wanted to punish my sister for staying with him.

One night shortly after my niece told me what Jim had done to her, and I had told my sister what he’d done to me, my niece and I were cooking dinner.  (She was living with me at the time she made the disclosure to me.) My phone rang. It was Jim. “Ella, what’s going on?” he demanded. “What don’t you ask Sam?” I said. He told me he had asked my sister, and he wanted to hear from me what I’d told her. “I never did anything to you!” he said. “We were friends!” I was shaken. Vicki was wrong. And I’d wrongly accused him. “What about when you kissed me when you were teaching me to drive? Friends don’t do that. You were married to my sister!” Would he admit it? If he denied it, I could assume he’d denied all the rest. And then I’d know I didn’t make up the vague memories in my head. “I told Sammie about that,” he said. “I told her! I have taken responsibility for what I did, for all of it, but I’m not taking responsibility for something I didn’t do.” I hung up on him. When I told Vicki what had happened, that I’d wrongly accused him, she said he’d of course deny it. I asked her why he’d admit the kiss, work to make amends for what he’d done to his daughter, and not admit doing more to me. He admitted what I could clearly remember, yet he denied what I did not remember. What I only remembered after she insisted I’d been repressing memories. She had various explanations, some of which sounded plausible, and her strongest argument was this: “Look. Even if what he did to you was limited to the kiss, that’s still abuse. You were 15 and he was married to your sister. And he admittedly molested his daughter, your niece. So it’s not like you accused an innocent man.”

I, and the rest of my family, wouldn’t talk to my sister again for several years, when she came to the hospital when our mother was very sick. And then not again until my oldest brother’s funeral. And then at hospice when my father was dying six months later. And again when my other brother died five months after that. Throughout all the dying and the funerals, Jim was by her side. And by mine. He offered comfort and support to my sister, to me, and to my mother. He was kind, but also tentative. And the thing is, Jim was always a kind and loving man. He was a good father, as odd as it sounds for me to say it. Of my six nieces and nephews, my sister’s children seem to be the most well-adjusted. The most productive. The most successful. Back when I told her that I knew what he’d done to their daughter, and what he’d done to me, I asked her how she could do it, how she could stay. She said, “Because I love him.”

While I haven’t wanted to admit it for many years, I know what my sister meant. I know why she stayed. She stayed with a good man who loved her and their children. A man who was molested himself as a child. A man who had his monsters and when faced with what he’d done, he acknowledged it and did what child protective services and his wife insisted he do to ensure it wouldn’t happen again. A man who spent years trying to rebuild a relationship with his wife and daughters. And to this day, I remain conflicted. I want to hate him and never forgive him. I want to hold on to the idea that this is a black-and-white issue, if there ever was one. I want my sister to have left him and choose her children over him. She insists that she did. She insists that her choice was the best one for everyone to heal. I’ve come to believe that maybe she did make the right choice. Or at least a right choice. But how could staying with the man who molested your child be the right choice? And so the war in my head continues.

Here we are, seven years after my niece made her disclosure to me. My father and brothers are dead, and my mother is in assisted living, her health declining. Soon, all I’ll have left is my sister. On May 20 this year she sent me a happy birthday text for the first time in nearly a decade. It was the first birthday wish of the day. I was still in bed when I got it. And I broke into tears. I was so touched. And filled with an ache I hadn’t even known was there. Yesterday was my younger brother’s birthday. Sam called me to talk about my mom’s beach house that’s up for sale. She asked me to come down and visit my mom more. She told me she thinks I need that, and so does my mom. She told me mom won’t be around much longer, and she wants us to spend time with her. She told me I’ll soon be her only family left and she loves me. She reminded me we were close once. And then she told me she’d stood out on the deck of her beach house that morning and sung happy birthday to our brother. She said she’d almost called me to sing it with her. She invited me to her daughter’s engagement party in August, and said I could see her other daughter’s baby then, who soon would be turning one. I’ve only seen her once since she was born. So I’ll see her for a second time next month.

Is there such a thing as forgiveness in a situation like this? I want to forgive him. I think I’ve at long last forgiven my sister. I hope they both will forgive me.

I used to dislike the holidays because of the family dysfunction. I now dislike the holidays because of the lack of family to create dysfunction. This time last year, we were adjusting to the death of my oldest brother (April 2012) and father (October 2012). I was in the midst of putting together an intervention for my remaining brother so we wouldn’t lose yet another family member to an alcohol-related disease. The intervention worked: my brother went to inpatient rehab, quit drinking, and died three months later of acute myelogenous leukemia (March 2013). That’s how it goes.

This year, my remaining family members remain a bit shell-shocked. None of us really knows how to do Christmas. My sister has a pretty good gig–she just leaves town and goes to her daughter’s home in Dallas to hang out with her new grandbaby. I, on the other hand, will go to Houston to try to cobble together some sort of Christmas get-together for my mother. I haven’t written much about my mother of late. I suppose I should pause and insert a quick update.

In July, my mother had minor outpatient surgery to suspend her bladder. Now that she was no longer spending all her time and energy caring for my father and alcoholic brothers, she began to care for herself. The minor bladder surgery turned into a major medical emergency when she got deep vein thrombosis in the days that followed. She spent two weeks in intensive care, during which time the doctor informed me that a vena cava filter she’d had inserted during a hip replacement years earlier likely saved her life. Even so, I found myself putting together my to-do list in the event of her death. It had sort of become old hat. But, she didn’t die. She went from intensive care to intense inpatient rehab for a month. People gave me funny looks when I told them my mother was in inpatient rehab. I had to pause and explain it was not the kind of rehab my brother had been in just months earlier. From there she went to normal rehab at a skilled nursing facility, where she stayed until the Medicare ran out–three months. That took us through late October, where she made the transition to assisted living. Insurance does not cover assisted living. That’s running about $6500 a month. Yes, I lose sleep worrying about money. Often. But I’m also becoming quite thrifty with my own finances. Better late than never.

So here I am, the estranged white black sheep of the family, now in charge of all things: probating my father’s will, managing my mother’s finances (which includes three houses and not much in the way of liquid assets), and running what’s left of my father’s business from afar. White black sheep, you query? Yes. I considered myself the black sheep because I was different from the rest of the family in that I was the only child of four who did not work for my father’s business. Instead, I went to law school and basically ran away from home when I moved from Houston to Austin. (My sister and her husband quit the business a few years back, and my brothers quit by dying.) I considered myself the white black sheep because I wasn’t a bad sheep. I was different from the rest of my family in that I ran from the dysfunction, rather than embracing it. Upon further consideration, black sheep get a bad rap. I think I’ll drop the “white” from my self-description, and just go with black sheep from now on.  Seriously. Look how cute she is.

Embrace the Black Sheep

Embrace the Black Sheep

All this babbling is leading up to something. It really is. It’s just difficult to go at it directly. My niece (the eldest daughter of my sister and her husband) has a new baby girl. My sister’s husband molested their other daughter for many years until she spoke up at age 15. My sister didn’t divorce him. Aside from the molesting part, he’s actually a kind man. Whereas my sister is a cold, cold woman. It’s all very complicated for them, to be sure. For many years I found it all very black and white. He was horrible, she was just as bad (and maybe even worse), and they both should rot in hell, if only there was one. Rather than getting into how I feel about it now (if I even know), I want to talk about how disturbing it was when I was with them all over Thanksgiving. Yes, I waxed lyrical in an earlier post about how the baby brought us all together. She did. But what are my niece and her husband thinking when the molester holds the baby? Have they discussed with each other how they’re going to deal with grandpa? Have they had a conversation with him?

Dad, here are the rules:

  • You are not allowed to be alone with my baby. Ever.
  • You are not allowed to change the baby’s diaper.
  • You are not allowed to be in the room when the baby’s diaper is being changed.
  • You can’t give her a bath.
  • You can’t go in the bathroom when she’s having a bath.
  • You can’t bounce her on your knee.
  • You can’t dress her.
  • You can’t take her temperature.
  • You can’t play horsey.

How in the world is she navigating around the landmines? How does her husband feel about it? How horrible is it to have this dark cloud over the joy of being a new mother? I did notice when the baby’s diaper was being changed, he left the room. Which led me to think they do have rules in place.

Would things have been simpler if my sister had left him? Would it be easier to disown your father (and in my sister’s case, to leave her husband), or to continue to have him as a part of your life, but erect strong boundaries to prevent history from repeating itself?

These are very difficult decisions, to be sure. For some, I expect the answers are black and white. As they were for me for many years. But when everyone starts dying, you begin to see the gray edges. (I will refrain from picking the low-hanging fruit–making a 50-shades-of-gray joke.) You begin to see the good and bad in everyone. Including your crazy family. And you find yourself wanting them around, despite the bad. Which is difficult, too. Because in a way, it makes me feel like a sellout. Maybe I should get a new boyfriend, instead.

I haven’t had a television since Memorial Day. I got rid of my old Sony, and haven’t gotten around to getting a flat-screen replacement. Last night I knew the Sandusky verdict was imminent. It had to be. The man was guilty, and the jury wouldn’t take long. So I turned to Twitter. I typed in Sandusky. My screen flooded with tweets:

The attorney general is at the courthouse.

The lawyers are there now.

Photos posted of Sandusky leaving his home.

Coach is wearing an unfortunate jacket. (That asshat on Fox news keeps referring to Sandusky as “coach.” This sickens me. It’s the coach bit that gave him access to those boys. So stop calling him “coach,” Shep.)

Sandusky is at the courthouse.

The verdict will not be tweeted until all 48 counts are read and court is adjourned.

Surely he’ll be convicted. Surely the jury won’t OJ us. (Yes, OJ is now a verb.)

Surely he’s given up Penn State for the state pen.

Even his own lawyer says he thinks he’ll be convicted. And then the judge calls him into chambers and issues a gag order.

The verdict is coming out five months to the day after Paterno’s death from cancer.

His adopted son Matt was molested, too.

Dottie testified on his behalf. (Oh, I will get back to Dottie.)

The verdict will be read in twenty minutes. Then fifteen.

Then I flip over to live video of the crowd in front of the courthouse. And back to Twitter.

Any minute now.

GUILTY OF 45 OF 48 COUNTS.

Sandusky is being led away to the jail house in handcuffs.

He stood with one hand casually in his left pocket as the verdict was read.

One victim wept.

Sandusky was stoic.

He knew it was coming.

But what about Dottie? What did she know and when did she know it? Public opinion weighs heavily in favor of her knowing what her husband did, was doing, to those boys. How could she not know? It happened in her house. Her basement. Not just once, but dozens of times over a period of years, decades, even. So how could she not know? The wives know. On some level they know. Which means they fucking know.

Case in point. When I was ten or so, we went to visit my grandparents at their house on Lake Huron. The man who lived next door, a Greek, lived there with his wife. I recall their grandchildren often visited when I was there. And he had St. Bernard puppies. He also made homemade wine. My dad loved his wine. So one day, he sent me next door to pick up a bottle of Mr. Greek’s homemade wine. I ran off next door to get the bottle, and he invited me in. He then offered me a taste of the wine. Recall I’m ten. But I tasted the wine anyway. It was sickly sweet. And then he came close. Close enough that I could feel his breath on my cheek. And he started rubbing me on my chest. And breathing on me. As I wriggled away, I saw his wife peering at us from around the corner. She never said a word. She didn’t try to stop him. She just stood and watched. And stayed silent. I escaped his grasp and ran. I ran back to my grandparents’ house and said nothing about what had happened. It felt wrong. But she watched and said nothing. Maybe I was crazy. Maybe I imagined it. I couldn’t tell. No one would believe me. He just rubbed my chest. The wife didn’t stop him. So I kept my mouth shut. Even when my dad made fun of me for running off without the wine because I was seemingly too bashful to go next door and get it.

The wife, having seen everything, stayed silent.

Was she complicit? Was Dottie Sandusky complicit? Was my sister complicit?

My sister?, you say. Yes, my sister is married to a pedophile. When I was 15, her husband, who was then 29, made a pass at me when he was teaching me how to drive out in the country. He kissed me. A full on wet mouth tongue kiss. It was sickening. And I never told a soul for 20 years. My sister knew, though. Or at least she knew something was wrong. She told him he was spending too much time with me, and it needed to stop. He said he was just teaching me how to drive, because my father was largely absent. He was right. I was vulnerable. I thrived on his attention. Who knows what I would have done had he gone farther. But with me, he didn’t go farther. He saved that for his daughter, my niece. How do I know this? She lived with me briefly when she was in her early twenties. And she told me then what her father had done to her. She told me he molested her from the time she was 6 until she was 16 and finally told a school counselor. He was never prosecuted. And my sister stayed with him. She, to this day, has stayed married to him. She didn’t need him to support her. She worked and made a good salary. She could have supported her two daughters just fine. But she kept his secret and never told anyone, and stayed with him. My niece felt betrayed. She felt her mother had chosen her pedophile father over her. And she was right. This was so confusing for my niece that she still let him walk her down the aisle at her wedding. She let her pedophile father give her away. And my sister watched, beaming with pride. When their second daughter married a year later, I didn’t go to the wedding. I couldn’t watch him pretending to be the doting father, again.

How do these women stay with these men? How do they defend them? How do they ignore the horrific things they’ve done? I asked my sister how she slept in the same bed with a man who molested their daughter. She had no answer other than, “Because I love him.”

She loves him. And Dottie loves Jerry. Ain’t love grand?

I wonder if my sister watched the news of the trial, of the conviction. I wonder if she sat in the same room with her pedophile husband and watched a man get sentenced to life in prison for the same crimes her husband has committed. I wonder if she felt any guilt or remorse for selling her daughter out. Like Dottie Sandusky did with those poor boys.

I did feel his conviction was a bit of a consolation. At least one of these monsters will pay for his crimes. I just wish the women would stand up for the children. And not for the perpetrators.

I’ve been on antidepressants and back in therapy for a little over four months. It’s difficult to remember how tired and apathetic I was. How disinterested. But slowly over the past four months, I’ve begun to emerge from the pit I had dug for myself. Not entirely, though.

You see, the pit has a certain allure. It’s an easy place in which to live. I get to feel numb. Feeling numb is great when you’ve got more shit to deal with than you’d like. Seriously. Who wants to deal with a sister who stayed married to her pedophile husband after he molested their daughter? The whole world seems out of kilter when you’re faced with that shit. Deep dark holes are where it’s at.

But I’m not hunkered down in the hole any more. And the pedophile is still here. He was at my brother’s memorial last weekend. He consoled my mother. I fantasize about choking him. I think I’m making progress, emotionally.

Now that my mother has acknowledged that he’s still wasting space on this earth, he’s exhibiting a sense of entitlement. The man glared at me across the aisle when I turned around to look for my brother, Seth. I kid you not. He glared at me. He glared at me for having the audacity to say out loud what he is. A man who sexually molested his daughter. For years. How dare I tell my mother and brothers what he’d done? You’re supposed to keep that kind of behavior a secret, don’t you know. So he glared at me at my brother’s memorial and made no effort to keep his distance from me. Yes, he’s feeling emboldened. I wanted grab him by the hair and shove his face into the holy water, holding him under until he begged for mercy. And then dunk him again, just to be sure I’d made my point. Yep, the medication and therapy are working.

If he had molested someone elses daughter, he’d be in prison. Not hanging out in churches.

But if I’m shining a light, I may as well shine it on my sister, too. If it wasn’t for her, the man wouldn’t be around any more. What kind of woman stays married to a man who molests their daughter? What kind of mental gymnastics must she perform each day to keep her head from exploding? What does she tell herself? What could she possibly say to justify his behavior, and hers?

My sister is a horrible person. No way around that. And the co-dependent cycle continues with my nieces hiding their father’s secret, as if his shame were theirs. I really don’t get it. I don’t understand how she could stay with him. Does she have her own holy water fantasies? Does she imagine beheading him and putting his head on a spike in the forest for the crows to pluck out his eyeballs? Or does she block it all out with the contents of her plastic travel cup that she carries with her wherever she goes?

I’m guessing she finds her redemption at the bottom of a travel cup.

Tomorrow is my brother’s memorial. I’ll leave at 6:45 a.m. to make it in time for the 10:00 a.m. service. By 11:00 a.m. it will be over. Hopefully my brother-in-law won’t show. If he does, I shall ignore him. If he comes near me, I shall tell him to back off. But I shalt not call him a fucking pedophile. At least not where anyone can hear me. Maybe he’ll be struck dead when he enters the Catholic church where the service will be held. I’ve often thought these past few days, too bad it wasn’t him. Lest  you think my ire is a little over-the-top, know that he is indeed a pedophile and he molested my niece. He should be in prison getting up close and personal with his cellmate; not attending my dead brother’s memorial service. But I don’t want to think about him. I want to focus on my brother, which is what tomorrow is all about. Not the pedophile. But if he touches me, I’ll hock up a lugie and spit on him.

Odd how the thought of going home turns me into a child.

In other news, I got a wireless keyboard for my iPad. This thing is terrific. Now I can blog to my heart’s desire while in Italy. I’ll try to refrain from posting too much food porn. And wine porn.

Holy hell, am I full of anxiety about tomorrow. I’d be feeling less anxious if I knew the brother-in-law won’t be there. Good thing I broke it off with Mack. I’m fairly certain he wouldn’t have controlled himself should he cross paths with the prick. I find that a bit ironic.

Rather than ruminating on my three-hour-drive, I’m going to listen to my Italian language CDs. I still haven’t learned bathroom. Or water. Oh wait, it’s Pellegrino.

This weekend I was scheduled to go to my firm partnership retreat.  Hundreds of lawyers bonding and on their best behavior.  I’m actually sorry I’ll be missing it. Evidence of a sick mind, if ever there was. Instead, I’ll be traveling to a Texas city to attend my brother’s memorial. Will my pedophile brother-in-law be in attendance? Stay tuned.

In more upbeat news, I’ve been learning a little Italian for my upcoming trip. Today I learned the very important phrase: Del vino, per favore. I’d say, I’m all set.

Because typing on this iPad is so tedious, I’m cutting this one short.

Arrivederci.

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