Jan 102011

Self-Preservation. Paper mosaic collage, 4 x 6″.

I recently was waiting at the sheriff’s station. In front of me was a sign directing people to something serious sounding, having to do with civil cases. It was written in Comic Sans. All caps Comic Sans. I wish I’d had my camera. But since I’d had to go through a metal detector to get there, I figured it likely wasn’t a camera-friendly place, alas.

And why would I be visiting the sheriff? Family stuff. Not my immediate family, thank God, but those from whom I am immediately descended. Little did I know when I started making a book of a bed with sharks swimming around it how apropos it would be.

It’s such a cliché, the artist with an insane past. Most folks couldn’t make this sort of thing up, but, friends, I’m being harassed. By my own parents. For my health and sanity, I’ve been intentionally estranged from them for about 20 years. Psychological, medical and law enforcement people have all concurred that this is a most sensible and excellent idea.

Nothing says Christmas better than a blog comment describing your dead brother in the box he was cremated in. Thank God for the spam button. Apparently, they’d been monitoring this blog. And after I disclosed my recent diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, they decided to use the comment function to get in touch.

Almost 12 years ago my brother Eric died at age 30. He was autistic and lived with them. After he was diagnosed with a terminal liver tumor, our father screamed at him “What are we going to do when we lose the money we get to keep you!” Eric confided to me that he thought they only wanted him alive for the money he brought in. For most of Eric’s life, our father thought it was hilarious to follow him around the house, grabbing his head and shaking it. “It’s so light!” he would announce. “There’s nothing in there!”

My parents tried to prevent me from having contact with Eric, in some twisted attempt to use him as a tool to get to me, and punishment for my perceived sins. Returned to Sender

They believed that hurting him and me both was appropriate. My mother told anyone who’d listen that I’d stopped writing to him and didn’t call him after he became ill. She returned his mail to sender, when she felt like it, and they screened all calls and grabbed the phone away if it was me on the line.

One extended family member didn’t believe me when I said my brother couldn’t call me and I couldn’t get a call to him. “That’s crazy! I’ll go over there, give him my cell phone and we’ll call you!” He told me to sit by the phone. It never rang. My father said he couldn’t allow that. It would upset my mother too much if she knew my brother was talking to me.

But what my parents don’t understand is that most people, at heart, are kind. There were people who let me know when Eric was in the hospital, so I could call after hours. At one point Eric was sent north from Central California to Stanford for a few days. At the time, I knew someone who worked at that medical center. I flew down there, and the friend arranged it so I could come see him after visiting hours. Eric told me our father had raved at him in the car on the way up, angry over having to drive him a few hours to the medical center and having to stay overnight in a motel. Totally in character. Eric and I got to see each other, say our goodbyes and make our peace. And our parents, up until this post, were happy thinking that they’d managed to prevent that.

This recent attempt to harass me through my blog to cause me more pain because I was just diagnosed with M.S. was the final straw. Most people grow out of bullying by the end of high school. There are ways of dealing with this sort of thing.

So here you go, Mom and Dad. I am old enough at this point, and have the friends, expert professional help and resources to keep you from harming me.

Now, back to working on my current book.

  7 Responses to “Enough is Enough”

Comments (7)
  1. I wanted to write a comment, not sure what to say exactly, just wanted to acknowkledge your words. I can't imagine how it must be to go through these experiences. But just that I admire your strength and I hope you can find some peace in the future. And maybe make a new sign for the sherifs office… xxx

  2. How ironic that your parents have become squabbling little misbehaving children, and that you have to be the strong, centered adult. Amazing that such a lovely woman could have arisen from such a dysfunctional home. Peace and joy to you, and peace also to the trashy Jerry Springer blog-stalking messed up inside bratty children that your parents seem to be.

  3. Wow. I must say that the day my mother died was a huge relief for me. I know that sounds terrible to many people, but she suffered from Dementia and was an abusive bully. You are absolutely right to have nothing to do with them and I am proud of you for taking care of yourself like that. Too many people keep in contact with their crazy abusive parents from some misplaced sense of loyalty and its horribly destructive for them. Go you!

  4. I don't know what to say as I'm so shocked by this. I wish you a lot of strength and very good friends to talk to.
    And as this is probably the first time I'm posting here, even though I was reading for a bit already: I love your art and admire you in your creativity!

  5. I am deeply sorry for the cruelty you and your brother had to face.
    Your story is a reminder/proof of the power each of us has to overcome the incredible harshness faced in young age and to develop into a being radiating goodness, creating amazing art, and capable to offer and receive friendship.
    I wish you all the very best! Be strong and always ready to block out any negative influence, communication or even thought relating to the dark world of some individuals…
    Healthy, happy, peaceful 2011!

  6. You are so right. There's a heap of us out here rooting for you. I hope that gives you strength.

  7. I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this on top of their earlier horrific behaviour. Many vibes headed your way.


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