I am ill. Not legitimately, bonafide pukey ill, or migraine ill, or aching ill - all of these things tied up with a bow.
I've written about the confused SIL; the one was involved in the attack on me by her brother. Truthfully, I had underestimated her crazy. I thought we'd be able to speak like adults to one another by now. I refused the offer to put her on a restraining order because, at the time, although I felt betrayed and shocked beyond belief, it seemed to reason that she would come around and accept her part in the debacle. And that she would understand that violence was wrong. I had watched his personality degrade for months, but I had more hope for his sister. She had supported me over the many years we watched her brother's temper and temperament flair. She cringed when she watched him scream at our daughter. She apologized for both of her brothers and their inherent contempt and glaring disrespect for their wives. She sainted me one year, saying that I had 'stayed the longest'...and I think I told her then I couldn't take it anymore. But in their family, statements like that are to be ignored, and the one ignoring the statement is entitled to dismiss the one making the plea.
Last week, I went back east. My family lives 2.5 hours away from his family. Back east. His mother is ill. She deserves to see the children. My mother offered to drive me there to bring the children to see their paternal grandmother. I paid a bit extra and purchased tickets out of that city instead of Buffalo. There was one caveat and potential bump to this plan however...the aunt, 'Deedee' lives with the grandmother. I was convinced by a friend who adores my daughter and wanted to help bring some resolution and peace to her life, to offer the aunt another chance to apologize. I had said to her months ago that she would need to address and acknowledge the incident with me like an adult should before she would be considered safe around the children. She had made some poor choices, this was evident. But was she willing to work through that with me or just leave me wondering if she really believed her actions and lack of protective response were acceptable? Months before, I had asked her some obvious questions. Not easy ones, but obvious ones, such as, "Why didn't you pick up the phone and call 911 when I begged you to?"
She never responded.
So last week, on the BoS's generous and objective suggestion, Deedee was offered the opportunity to please apologize to the family (especially Supergirl, to whom she was so close and who feels confused and betrayed), or to choose to be gone during the visit. We were not going to allow or invite a spectacle or a conflict into what was intended to be a visit to grandmother.
Deedee chose to be gone.
Then she said she would be there, but that she and I should 'talk' or 'hash it out' at that time. I found that to be an appallingly inappropriate attempt at railroading the childrens visit and my pure intentions in facilitating that visit, and a revealing glimpse into her own instability. I mean seriously? Their father had to apologize for his behavior, why not the aunt who was part of the violent attack? I asked her to apologize so my children could move forward from this hell, and she refuses to apologize and wants to have a little talk with me instead? In front of the children???? Has anything at all sunk in for her?
The answer appears to be 'no'. She even told my friend that I had caused too much damage for her to have a relationship with me (even for the children). Yes, I had caused too much damage.
I would like to point out yet again- that both Deedee and Ex-man were horrified at what they had done, and begging for forgiveness....until I reported the incident to the police. I suppose that changed the violent act from a horribly poor choice into something I imminently deserved.
In the long run, she agreed to stay away, and I told Supergirl in a very gentle way and without judgment (because I actually DO have her best interests at heart) that her aunt simply was not yet ready. It was very sad and hard for her and she just wasn't ready to make the apology like Daddy yet but I was sure she would be someday soon. Supergirl understood but was able to emotionally prepare herself for the reality and not keep wondering if she would see her aunt. So when I received an 'okay fine you win I'll apologize to them whatever' email from her just hours before we were to leave, I had to decline. My kids aren't yo-yos, and Supergirl is no fool to be spoon fed an apology full of crap. She knows that when Deedee is really ready, it will happen.
So in yet another fabulous display of family solidarity and narcissism, Deedee (and her infinite historical bank of paralegal wisdom) pulled a lovely little maneuver and asked her brother to ask the supervised visit therapist to please allow her to apologize. I had to give a minimal explanation of what she had already refused to do. Interesting channel, though. Applause!!!
Which almost makes me want to publish every single word from the most recent phone message I received from the other SIL; the drunk one who reveals all of Deedee's plans.
But I won't. Because I am better than that.
Let me just say this:
The children had a lovely visit with their grandmother and so did I. I appreciated that the aunt kept her word and didn't show up. Because that would have been awkward for my gentle giant brother who had been instructed to swoop up kiddos and leave if she had.