lessons of abandonment

While I was on maternity leave my niece, the one I've posted on many times before, threatened suicide. She's a troubled 14 year old who's been put on and taken off more drugs than I've ever been in my life. I've often disagreed with my brother's take on the whole thing, he thinks every time she acts up it's due to her being AD/HD or some other 'condition' he's not yet diagnosed. He can't seem to link the start of all this bad behavior to his marriage about 3 years ago. I could lay a lot of blame on my brother but what's the point? Blame really gets you nowhere, instead I've chosen to just be extremely disappointed in him.

So anyway, he's tired of the 'drama' my niece brings to him and his new family so he's told her she has to go live with her mother. Funny thing...when he divorced her mother he fought tooth and nail to get custody and now he's ready to just hand her back over because things are a little too 'inconvenient'. Imagine this, a teenager sneaking out to see boys, staying on the phone too long, forgetting to hand in homework, or fighting with her step mother....stop the presses! I guess my brother has forgotten the time he dumped his car down a ravine and told the Police it was stolen so my mom would by him a new one. Or the time he stole my mom's car and drove to Iowa to go to a Frat party and then finally called my mom to tell her where he was three days later. Yeah, he was a real gem. So his daughter has been acting out, trying to get his attention, trying to let him know that she's hurting. What's he do? He proves to her that she was right, he doesn't care enough to keep trying so she tells him she wants to die. Of course he doesn't believe her, she's dramatic after all. So I call him up, I yell in his ear, I make him listen. He finally calls the hospital and they admit her for observation and tell him to let her go live with her mother because she's into much pain to be around him.

So, she's 14 years old and she has learned her very first life long lesson - people abandon you. My heart aches for her as my mind swirls around my own memories of being 14 and abandoned by my own father. I wonder if my brother realizes that he's just done the very same thing he hated my dad for. I see her life ten years from now as she's letting some man abuse her because she's terrified that he'll leave. I see her life fifteen years from now when she's convinced herself that there is something 'unlovable' about her and that's why people always leave. I wish I could see something else but as much as I'll try to change the course my brother has set her ship a sail on, I know in all likelihood - I'll fail.

For now, she'll hate herself instead of him. For now, she'll seek love from him with every ounce of her strength - we always want love from the people incapable of giving it. For now, she'll believe that life is not worth living and thoughts of ending it all will pass through her beautiful mind more often than thoughts of beginning again. For now I'll hold on to her as tight as I can and hope that I'm strong enough for the both of us. And one day she'll turn the light on and begin counting the scars she's collected and hopefully she'll learn, just like I did, that although some people do leave, it's the ones that stay that matter most.

Sometimes I wish that the lessons we learn could be 'unlearned' or turned back in like an overdue library book, pay a fine and the slate is wiped clean. Life doesn't work like that does it.


  1. CeeCi said...
    Unfortunately, as you pointed out, there is no big eraser to wipe the sadness from our souls. Reading your words today reminded me of a very old TV commercial. A father and son were sitting next to a tree having a wonderful time together, the son imitating everything his dad did. Then his dad lit a cigarette. The boy looked at the pack, then at his dad. The slogan..."like father, like son." Sounds as if your brother is following in his father's footsteps. How sad, for everyone involved, especially your niece.

    And hello, it's so nice to see you posting again. Thank you for the pictures of Alice and Patrick, they're so sweet and beautiful.

    Southern Sweetheart said...
    I am so sorry that she is in this situation....the bright spot in this story is you and your committment to her. You're a good person that has learned so many hard life long lessons -- maybe you had to journey that path to be able to help others....her.

    So good to see you around again. I've missed you and I expect many stories about those precious little ones.
    NMAMFQLMSH said...
    Oh honey...I'm not made at all. I've been having a lot struggling going on in my life and I barely get around to posting anymore. I love you! Hug my cyber godchild for me.
    PS: I almost typed my real name..lol.

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