Unfixable.

I know that I do not get the same consideration from my own daughter when it comes to “cause and effect” that my mother continues to be shown, and somehow always has been shown, in spite of our tattered history. When my little brother killed himself, my mom’s way to cope with the blow was to try and erase him from her memory altogether: an element between she and I that hung bitterly in the stale air between us for years. She never speaks of him; she never lets me talk about him in any context in her presence without either full-blown freaking out, or changing the subject with blatancy sharp enough to leave a mark.
I have come to accept and understand over time that this has been the only way she has been able to continue on with her own existence after losing a child to suicide in the way that she did; and am only now beginning to see that this response was initially not one of choice for her. It was the effect attached to specific causes: those of profound emptiness, loss and failure. One of the most difficult things about coming to grips with acceptance surrounding my own child – and my own loss, emptiness and failure – has always been the absence of so many points of reference for me. I don’t know what a mother “should” look like or act like to her child; I have only ever winged it and did what felt right when it came to Boo.
Now, it has become unarguable that most (if not all) of those things were not right; no denying that I was an inadequate mom or else she would never have grown up to become what she did. But, I also think of a lot of other facts and truths that surround us such as how I also had an inadequate mom. I had a mom who was a violent and unstable drunk during my childhood; she was always high on drugs also, and kept like-minded company. My father fought tooth and nail to keep us protected from her unpredictable nature; she was painted very differently than I could possibly come close to being depicted by my daughter. Or was she?
Granted, I was not the type of mom who hit – I never even spanked Boo besides to SWAT at her backside with gentle care when she was a toddler; our experiences with a mother in the big, bad world were most certainly very different in almost every way. I am nurturing because my mom was the opposite; I was attentive because my mom seemingly forgot all about me and my brothers after we were born; I was protective and overbearing because of those reasons, too. I was so involved with her life as much as possible: a yard duty at her elementary school, the PTA, class mom, field trips, etc. I exhausted myself at all times with her IEP and the constant red tape around getting her through school because of her behavioral issues. I admit that she overwhelmed me at times, but I always wanted best for her, I never got any satisfaction from her struggles or tears like my mom did with me. We had very different mothers, indeed.
Now comes my point:
I had a father.
Not just any father, either – I was blessed with an exceptionally special Dad (and a long line of older brothers).
Boo had…well, we all know what she had, don’t we? Boo had the Ripper for a father in the slice of time that she had one in her life at all, before he tried to murder her mother and then was gone to prison before dying on the inside of those walls…Boo never had a Dad, hardly a father. I have concluded that it is this (very often overlooked) factor in the comparisons people (including myself) make between me and my daughter’s characteristic traits that defines the essences of those differences down to the nano-fiber. When I think of what my own existence could have and likely would have been like in the absence of my Dad, my knees often feel weakened by the thought alone. Now, I imagine actually living that reality from one day to the next like Boo must…and yes, I see.
I know that in many ways, I haven’t failed as Boo’s mother in the years I was allowed to be her mom; but in this one major and unfixable way, I failed her immeasurably.

The Price

This past weekend, my parents went to visit Boo out of state for Boo’s seventeenth birthday. I could not go. I did not want to go. I knew that something bad was going to happen by the way that she has been talking to them on the phone leading up to their wasted and painful trip…I don’t want to be used anymore by people, not even my only child.

“You guys need to buy me a nice little dress that I can wear; not something too dressy, something I can get dirty in…” is what she had declared over the line just a few days prior to their departure flight at the airport to see her. I told them as soon as that phone call ended that if they bought her a dress that she can get “dirty in”, she would bail out on them and run away to be pimped out by some disgusting grown man, as she always does when given the slightest opportunity.

YES, my child is teenaged prostitute by choice. YES, she does things that scream loudly how miserable she feels about herself, she displays the worst type of PTSD: the kind that continuously undoes any “progress” she’s able to forge in her own “recovery”. YES – my only child is a train wreck…and it breaks my heart too much to bear most times, but I know that she is nowhere near ready to begin to heal; therefore, I have chosen to keep my distance from her so as not to antagonize our already crumbling “relationship” to one another.

Point in case:

When my parents arrived and picked Boo up from the locked facility in which she has been court-ordered to reside indefinitely past her eighteenth birthday because of worsening mental health issues, Boo seemed to be happy to see them and they picked her up without incident and continued on to their hotel room. It was Friday night, my mother and step father had been traveling all day and were exhausted of course.

Within an hour, Boo was itching to go to Wal-Mart because she claimed to need some toiletries for a shower etc. My step father (who has been Boo’s ONLY consistent male presence throughout her lifetime, might I add bitterly) finally broke down and agreed to take her there, against his own better judgment of course. She bolted from him in the parking lot and ran straight into a mini-van full of strange, grown men on the expressway. My stepdad, needless to say, diligently chased the vehicle in his rental car for several miles.

During this time, Boo apparently had told the men in the van that she didn’t know my step dad and that he had been chasing her with a gun and trying to kill her. The men, who had no clue what was going on, were concerned for her safety and pulled over to the side of the road, where all six of them got out and waited for my step father to pull in before proceeding to beat him senseless. Boo watched the whole thing happen from inside the van, too.

He is lucky he wasn’t beaten to death…my heart feels so torn by this latest piece of unbelievable heinousness put forth by my own flesh and blood…

Her own grandfather, someone who’s been her staunchest ally and always had her back, even when her grandmother and I had given up on her and said it was no use to keep hurting ourselves by trusting her or believing her, he has stood by her and not wavered. It breaks my heart what he has had to go through this past week, recovering from a violent attack on his already degenerating body. It makes my blood boil to know that she sat there and watched him be beaten almost to death, based on a lie that she told in order to serve her own warped needs and desires…

I can’t apologize enough to my stepfather, it’s hard not to look him in his eye now, with every word that I speak to him…I feel so deeply bad and regretful whenever I look at his swollen and disfigured face – hoping to see a glint of anger or betrayal or realization when it comes to Boo and what he has just endured…

Yesterday, he burst into tears – full blown grown man tears – and says, “I just wish I could protect her…”

I know exactly what he means, how he feels…