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I refuse to protect you any longer – now it’s time to protect ME. This is MY fuck you Matt.

I went through Grand Jury – I was given that opportunity.  I wanted nothing more than to tell my story of childhood sexual abuse and have a jury of my peers decide if my abuser should be charged.  I wanted this badly because my mother and father (step-father technically but I always thought of him as my father) had chosen to not protect me when I disclosed my sexual abuse to them.  See, my step-brother, Matthew C. Cardinale, sexually abused me repeatedly from BEFORE my parents were married in February 1995 to the Spring of 1997.  I was no older than 9 years old when the abuse started, and I was 11 years old when I finally had the courage to tell my parents and it ended.  In the beginning when the abuse started – I once asked him if everyone did “this” and he told me only “special people” do.  This is why the abuse continued for as long as it did.  At that point I thought he really must love me and I was special.  I didn’t know it was wrong.  Really sickening right? Why am I speaking about this now – at 31 years old??  Well a few reasons – I am pregnant and can’t for the life of me understand why you would not protect your child who is the VICTIM, my husband is extremely supportive and I feel comfortable and loved enough to be able to speak out, and I can’t sit back and watch victims of sexual assault be blamed and treated poorly any longer.  There have been some big cases in the news in the last few years – Brock Turner especially – and this really had me livid.  Not to mention I was in the presence of a highly educated individual while speaking about Brock Turner when this person started blaming the victim for basically being a “whore” and “wanting it”  – all while he used the excuse of intoxication to justify this predators sexual crime.  That was it – I could no longer keep my own story quiet.

I had come forward about Matt when I was 11 – as previously stated – but was basically paid $200 in an effort to make it okay.  I wanted the police called – but between my parents and his mother, the decision was made to instead tell me that this happens a lot and that I would be okay – and could skip school the next day and go on a shopping spree with $200 they had just given me.  I was 11.  I obliged.  Now – I am angry with both of my parents for handling the situation like this.  How the fuck could you have lived with yourselves after this?  I feel guilty about the anger since they are both dead – but I just can’t help myself.  They knew as a teenager and young adult that I was suffering tremendously – yet my mother especially chose to ignore it and I was made to feel as if I was being ridiculous.  I was essentially begging for help from my parents and never got it – until I decided to help myself.

The abuse started when I was no older than 9 and he was 15 years old.  We occasionally would spend the night at my fathers (at the time he was my mother’s boyfriend) and I would sleep on the couch as there was no extra bedroom for me.  One night I woke up to Matt with his hand up my shirt – touching my bare breast.  When I asked what he doing – he told me he was looking for the TV remote and stopped immediately.  This happened a few times.  Little did I know it was only going to escalate and get much worse.  Today I see this is how the grooming process started.  He started with less invasive acts to see what he could get away with.

The abuse escalated after my parents were married in Feb of 1995.  Matt also turned 16 years old at this time while I was still 9 years old.  Now I understand he was young – but at even 15 and 16 you know what sex is and that you don’t do it with your family or a fucking child.  The next act he committed was rubbing his bare, erect penis on my bare vagina – holding me up against him and his bed as I was completely naked and vulnerable.  Yet he kept his shorts on – so as not to make himself vulnerable.  This happened repeatedly – for the rest of the time of the abuse.  Thankfully – he never actually “raped me” which constitutes penetration – although what he did is just as bad.  *The language I am using is so proper and factual because basically – to say what he did any other way (slang, etc.) makes me even sicker.

Fast forward a bit too when he must have gotten bored with what he was currently doing to me. On evening he told me he “wanted to show me something cool.”  I sat in a chair in his room while he masturbated in front of me to the point of ejaculation.  I had obviously never seen this before.  For some reason unbeknownst to me, I asked him if I would have a baby.  He response was “if you were older.”  I remember like yesterday.  I can tell you what he was wearing even.  Personally – I don’t understand how this pleased him to have me watch – but again he is a sick individual.  How could any of this really please you when it is a child?!

Move ahead to the fall of 1996.  I was 11 years old and he was 17.  At my parents’ house was a small wooded area in the back yard.  I was outside playing there one day when Matt came back.  He wanted me to give him oral sex.  Seriously – you were that desperate that you needed an 11 year old to do this for you?  You were a senior in high school – couldn’t you find anyone your age who was WILLING to please you??  I resisted – at this point I was aware that what he was doing was wrong.  I used the excuse “what if it’s dirty?”  He told me he would go “wash it off with the hose.”  And that he did. I watched in horror as he ran ice cold hose water on his penis – which had to be extremely uncomfortable – all because he wanted so badly for his 11 year old step-sister to give him oral sex.  Yes – fucking pathetic and disgusting.   He came back to me in the wooded area and put his erect penis in my mouth.  It didn’t last long – I wanted to get away.  I was not okay with this.  He let me go.  I think he knew at that point it had gone too far.

At this point the abuse stopped for a while – a few months at least.  I can’t say for certain if it stopped because he was nervous I would tell – or if it was because he had a girlfriend who could please him sexually.  Then in the spring of 1997 – when he was 18 years old and I was 11 years old – I woke up in my bedroom to him holding a flashlight in one hand and his other hand in my pants touching my bare vagina.  I guess his girlfriend didn’t do it for him – he couldn’t just leave me alone any longer.  I asked him what he was doing and he told me “looking for something,” then just walked out of my room.  That was it.  I was not going to let this restart.  See – I will never understand if you have gotten away with something, why on earth you feel comfortable enough to push the limit.  The next evening I was in the shower getting ready for bed as it was a school night.  My mother was at the sink getting ready for bed.  I said quickly (because I was losing courage and did not want to) – “remember when you told us if anyone was touching us in a bad way to let you know?”  She stated “yeah.”  I said “well I have something to tell you.”  I knew if I could just get that out she would make me tell her after I got out of the shower.

So – once out of the shower I told her.  My dad stood outside their bedroom door because I was embarrassed.  He came right in immediately after hearing what I told her and just kept stating “I can’t believe this.  I believe you – I just can’t believe this is happening.”  At that point, my mother was balling and he asked her when she was leaving.  I could tell be her response, “what?” that leaving had not crossed her mind.  I did not want to break up their marriage.  She asked me what I wanted to do – I told her not to leave him.  While I loved my father very much – we were closer than ever when he died in 2015 – this is the decision that started off the protection of Matt and the setting me up for lifelong problems.  I can’t say today I would have wanted her to leave – but I can say I want nothing more than for him to have been held responsible.  My dad called Matt at work at Ciccino’s – where he still works today as the bar manager – and told him he needed to leave immediately.  He was confronted by my father (I assume) and he never stayed another night in our home.  He moved into his girlfriend’s apartment right then.

I had forgiven Matt for so long – but NEVER forgotten – because I truly thought he was sorry for what he had done and we were “family.”  Soon after my father died – it became clear he did NOT feel this way at all.  He was now hurting my mother along with my brother and I – and that was it.  I was not going to let him hurt US any longer.  In October 2016, I contacted the Seneca County DA’s Office regarding this to see what I could do.  I then met when the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office and ADA – gave them my story – and was told that due to the oral sex part of the abuse – he COULD in fact be charged criminally.  Months later, after begging to go to Grand Jury and being able to stand up for myself and protect myself because no one did when I was a child – I was given this opportunity, although reluctantly.  It was a very old case with no physical evidence and the only two true witnesses – my parents – were deceased and could not speak at a trial.  Yes – my mother died in Feb 2017.  The Sheriff’s did speak to Matt about this – to which he went silent and stated “I don’t know what you are talking about and have nothing to say to you.”  Then he hired a lawyer immediately – guilty much you sick bastard??  Grand Jury happened in April 2017.  Unfortunately – it became known AFTER Grand Jury that when the oral sex occurred, the child had to be “less than 11″ according the laws back then.  I was 11.  You can’t be serious right?!  How the fuck was this not figured out before making me testify and tell my story in person to a room full of people?!   This was the only law that would have still been prosecutable today – as there is no statute of limitations.  Grand Jury could not hand down an indictment.  Talk about being utterly crushed.  I just received this news today.  I was failed by many things – I was failed by my parents first and foremost –  I was then failed by Seneca County for this horrible mistake that lead to me testifying at Grand Jury for a crime that essentially could not be prosecuted due to the laws when it happened (they are different now thank goodness) and I was failed by NYS as a victim of childhood sexual abuse.  NYS is one of the few states that still has a statute of limitations for child sex crimes.  We protect the abuser instead of the victim.  Well Matt – I think it’s time I stop suffering alone and you actually suffer some sort of consequences.  While they may not be legal consequences (which is BULLSHIT) – I refuse to allow there to be none.  I want people to know how disgusting you are and what you did to me – and then I want you to be embarrassed and feel like the piece of shit you are.  See – this never goes away for me – so I don’t want it to ever go away for you either. I will continue to tell my story and do what I can to fight for me – rest assured.     

I am writing this post because I am no longer going to protect the person who hurt me indefinitely, who took away my childhood innocence and a very important part of my development, who made sure that I will have a struggle with intimate relationships for the rest of my life.  My husband also has to suffer with what Matt did to me for his own selfish, sick reasons.  It’s not fair.  I want to also encourage other victims to speak up.  You see – if you don’t stand up for yourself – in many cases no one will stand up for you.  I should have been in therapy as a child so that I could have dealt with my abuse appropriately and moved forward.  Sadly – I never got that chance. If you or anyone you know is a victim of childhood sexual abuse – or any sexual abuse – please speak up.  Don’t stay quiet.  Don’t protect the abuser.  There are many devastating consequences – and I am a prime example.

My story of childhood sexual abuse…

In light of recent events such as the Brock Turner case and the election with Donald Trump, I feel compelled to tell my story because it is so blatantly clear that people have no clue about sexual assault and the lasting effects on victims.  I am one of the far too many victims and I am angered and hurt by how others respond to sexual assault crimes, victims and abusers.  I had the unfortunate experience of being told I was an idiot and “maybe you are just taking this personally” when discussing the Brock Turner case months ago – after this person learned that I had been a victim of sexual abuse.  Classy right??  That was not the worst part though – the worst part was when this particularly stellar (notice the sarcasm) individual butted into the conversation to begin with and stated that the victim was a whore, much older than the abuser, wanted it to happen because she was at a frat party and was not a student at this school, ect.  He also stated that Brock Turner never would have done this if it wasn’t for the victims actions and alcohol.  He continued victim blaming as he basically re-victimized myself and all other victims with his unbelievable words.  He was not of the belief that rapists are the cause of rape – but that alcohol intoxication on the part of the abuser and promiscuity on the part of the victim or becoming too intoxicated on the part of the victim are causes of rape.  This is a highly educated person who feels this way, a surgeon to be exact.  Floored – I was completely floored, and scared at the same time.  It took everything I had to not start crying at the table, while my closest friend was sitting there with tears in her eyes because of what had just taken place.  She knew that I had been abused as I had told her in the past.  The next week, this person continued to try and defend himself and what he said, sending texts out at 5am to a group of his colleagues, including my husband, who were present for this enlightening outing of his true character.  Ballsy right??  This is when I thought holy shit, society has a real problem and I feel like I need to speak out – just like other victims.  I was doing no one a favor by keeping quiet, clearly.  Society is so misinformed and uneducated about sexual abuse and what happens as a result.

I was abused repeatedly at the hands of a family member.  I will spare you details – they are irrelevant and hard to stomach, not to mention that quite frankly I do not want to type out exactly what happened to me as it makes me feel ill myself.  The abuse started when I was 10 years old – halfway through 4th grade.  It has taken me a while to get the exact timing right (and it still may be off some) – for years I managed to block out the abuse in the forefront of my mind.  Yes – it was always there but I was able to not think about it all the time or let it affect me – or so I thought.  Then, while in nursing school in 2011, I was doing my Psych rotation and was paired with a young college female who had a psychotic episode that stemmed from her childhood sexual abuse.  For some reason, this girl brought all my memories back and this time – they affected me and I could not get them out of my head.  I finally was able to see how damaging sexual abuse was as here it was staring me in the face.  My professor told me she paired me up with this person because she could see how much hurt I carried around.  Unreal – I thought I had always been fine!!  How did she sense something had happened??  Could other people see it too??  Was I not the happy, smart, strong person that I thought I was??  Could people see right through me and were they judging me??  From that point on, it seemed as though my life was consumed with my past abuse.  I thought about it every single day.  It was negatively impacting my life.  I was angry because I naively thought the professor had caused this by forcing me to interact with a girl who had been in the same situation I was,  knowing that I was hurting inside from something in my past.

Now keep in mind – I had told my parents of the abuse when I was somewhere between 11 and 12 years old (this is my best guess – I can’t remember exactly how old I was when I told them but it was not the same year as when it started). The abuse had stopped for a period of time and then restarted again the night before I told them.  I realized then that it would not stop if I did not say something.  When it first began, I was too young to realize how bad I was being hurt by my abuser.  I did not know how horrendous sexual abuse was.  I had not been taught about such things as good touch and bad touch, sexual touch and sexual abuse.  I thought he was doing it because he actually loved me – he was doing something special that only certain people do.  That is how my abuser explained it to me and that is all I had to go by.  I am not sure at what point I realized he was doing something bad – I remember he got more forceful as time went on – not caring when I was trying to get away from him or stop what was happening.  I assume this is when I realized he was hurting me.  When I finally had the courage to tell my mom, I remember I was in the shower and she was getting ready for bed in the bathroom.  I was teetering on losing courage so I blurted out quickly “remember when you said to tell you if anyone is touching us in a bad way?  Well I have something to tell you.”  (We learned what good touch and bad touch was when somehow the cops were told that we were being sexually abused so my younger brother and I had to be interviewed by them – along with my parents.  This happened during the abuse at some point.  I am not sure how this came about as I honest to God – to this day – do not remember telling anyone at all that this had actually happened to me).  But back to my conversation with my Mom, I knew if I said that I would have to tell her because she would not just let me ignore it now.  So, after I finished showering I told her everything that had happened.  I was embarrassed so my Dad stood outside the closed door but heard everything and came bolting in the room.  I was given $200 and told they were taking me on a shopping spree the next day.  I could stay home from school that day.  I was also told of other people close to me that had been abused.  My abuser was confronted – that night actually – but no real punishment came out of it.  My parents did what they thought was best for the family as a whole.  What they adversely did though was diminish the abuse that had been happening and normalize it by telling me it happens to a lot of people. The fact that my abuser suffered no consequences except the embarrassment of being confronted also set a precedent – even though you did this horrendous thing we will protect you from the justice system but don’t do it again.  This in turn hurt me as I never got the treatment I should have as a child – treatment that may have saved me from a lot of hurt later in life.  I can’t say I blame them because I am sure they had good intentions, but now that I am an adult and faced my abuse head on – I hold a grudge that my parents chose to protect my abuser ahead of taking care of me as a victim.  My Mom especially – I remember one day not being able to stop crying because I was so upset about what happened.  We were on our way to my Grandma’s for Sunday morning coffee and she looked straight ahead out the window (likely because she couldn’t bear to look at me) and said “I can’t take you to Grandma’s like that so if you don’t stop crying I will take you home.”  Wow – talk about feeling worthless and unprotected.  If there is one good thing that I took from this, it is that I can assure you if my child ever came to me and told me they were being abused, you can bet your ass the police would be involved and the abuser would actually be paying for his crime – no matter who it happened to be.   My protection and support would be with the victim.

Instead I feel as though I am the only one that paid for his crime against me.  If you think for one second that my past sexual abuse does not affect me still today you are sadly mistaken.  I was able to realize that all those years growing up thinking the abuse did not impact my life was a form of denial.  I never had an appropriate sense of sexual relations.  I never had an appropriate sense of love in relationships.  I never had an appropriate sense of self-worth and self-respect.  I made a lot of mistakes that I attribute to my untreated effects of abuse.  I am thankful that I was able to see this and now can at least avoid making those same mistakes.  Sure – I will never have the same emotional or sexual response that someone who was not abused has.  I hate my abuser for that.  I hate the fact that what he did to me as a child will always affect my life, my marriage, my emotions, etc.  Thankfully I have the best husband one could ask for, especially for someone who has been in my shoes.  He is patient, kind, understanding and so loving.  He does not get upset when I go through different phases regarding intimacy (and not wanting to be touched at all) that stem from my abuse.  He simply supports me and waits until it passes – understanding that he does not get what I went through and how I feel today.  I thank God for him all the time.  I have had my fair share of bad relationships – abusive physically and mentally – up to a broken arm and hand.  Yes I also attribute being in those situations to my abuse and lack of self-worth. But now I finally have a good man to take care of me.  I would not be in the state I am today without my husband – the best I have ever been emotionally, sexually, mentally and socially.  Maybe with his support one day I will forever be able to put all of this abuse behind me and it won’t negatively impact my life or make me feel awful – but I can tell you one thing – I will never again keep quiet out of embarrassment as it is empowering to others if I and other victims come forward.

If you know of someone being abused speak up and intervene – especially a child.  The effects are so damaging and last a life-time.  You can never fully get over being sexually abused.  As a child, it interferes with your emotional, mental and sexual development.  I

If you or someone you know has been abused and needs to talk to someone, feel free to pass along my information.  I only want to help others and make people realize they are the victims and should not be embarrassed by what was done to them.  They should get the help that is needed.  I also want people such as this surgeon and Donald Trump, to realize how ignorant and hurtful they are – Trump specifically being an abuser himself.  You are the exact reason why rape culture exists.  You blame the victim and make excuses for the abuser or you think it is okay to diminish women to nothing more than an object for your own pleasure.  Hopefully one day you realize your mistakes so we as a society can stop rape culture and focus on punishing abusers and caring for victims.

One year down…

2015.  The year my husband and I married.  2015 was also the worst year of my life.  It started on January 27th, 10 days after the food tasting for our wedding.  Little did I know, that would be the last time I saw or spoke to my father alive.  Fast forward 10 days. Luckily, Mike happened to be home early from work that Tuesday (January 27th).  Yes – I remember the day of the week and exactly what I was doing as if it happened yesterday.  I was cooking a Thanksgiving sort of dinner as our good friends were supposed to be coming to eat with us.  When she told me they could not come, I was undoubtedly bummed – who the heck was going to eat all of this food now?!  As we were heading out the door to get stamps so we could address our save-the-dates, I started receiving what would turn out to be the start of the worst phone calls I have ever received.  Something had happened to my dad (but no one would say what), then the hospital that I called, the secretary sounded flustered and said to just come home.  I knew it wasn’t good. And now the whole Thanksgiving dinner was a waste.  I tried to calm my mother as I reached her by phone and she started freaking out – no use.  On the way home (thankfully my husband was driving) is when I found out my father had died.  The world stopped – I couldn’t breathe and I felt so heartsick – an experience that I can’t even begin to describe.

I was unable to do any sort of wedding anything at this point, and nor did I want to.  I had already picked out the father – daughter dance song, a song so very special to me because my father had never even danced with my mother, not once, but said he would with me at my wedding “because it’s you.”  I was sick to my stomach.  It was many, many months until I could listen to any sort of father – daughter songs again, and then I usually lost it in the beginning and had to shut them off.  My husband used to get upset; “why are you torturing yourself by listening to them” he would ask me.  It’s hard to explain – I needed to hear them and I was hoping that I would eventually be able to get through these songs without crying.  It did happen – after repeated listening and crying and singing to my dad.  There was many times I felt like our wedding was ruined – how could it possibly be good now?  I would be a mess, my family would be a mess, why even have one right now?  Yes, there were times I did not want to have our wedding at all that we were planning.

Luckily – we went ahead with the wedding and it was amazing.  I know my father was there with us.  Did I think about him the entire time?  Of course, and I was very sad he wasn’t there.  I had his guitar pick in my bouquet – so the pictures of me looking down at the guitar pick were tough.  The father – daughter dance went much better than I expected.  My brother danced with me to a very special song and we made it through by joking with each other.  My husband gave a speech in place of my father and blew it out of the water.  I couldn’t believe how unselfish this man was that I had just married – here it is his wedding day and he’s in front of everyone giving what has to be the hardest speech he has ever given regarding his late father-in-law.  I couldn’t have been more blessed.

Fast forward to December 7th – we found out we were pregnant.  Yay!!  Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love kids and want children (like yesterday).  I was very nervous, excited and scared all at once.  I didn’t really feel pregnant (or what I thought it should feel like) – I just felt weird.  Then, our dreams were crushed when I started bleeding on December 14th.  I was miscarrying this child that I (and my husband realized only once I started miscarrying) wanted so so bad.  God – how much can one person go through?! I was angry and sad and didn’t think it was fair.  I had already had the worst year of my life (minus marrying my husband) and now this?!  It was even more heartbreaking that the night before, my husband and I had started filling out a baby book – stab.  I had to hide the book and not look at it for a long time.  I am not even sure why we kept it – my husband kept saying we could buy a new one when the time came. I was using the cost of the book as an excuse to hold onto it.  I think part of me was hoping that the following month my period would not come and I would still be pregnant.

On top of all this, you have read about my mothers issues since my father died (and if you haven’t – see my last blog post).  There have been numerous other things – my grandpa died a week before our wedding; my fathers death has torn apart what used to be a family; my husbands grandmother died shortly after my father; and so on. 

Buuuut…. times have changed for the better thankfully.  Currently – life is much better these days!  Life without my dad is my new normal.  I realize  miscarriages are very common in the beginning and it was clearly meant to be – so I am okay with it now.  And we are used to dealing with my mother’s issues and have become stronger regarding the effect she has on us.  We moved to NYC and are having an amazing time (thankfully it is temporary though – the humidity is killing me!!).  I am extremely lucky to have what I have and I honestly believe I was dealt the the best hand ever when it comes to my husband.  When I hear other’s complaining about their husbands (normal bitching that all us women do – even me!) it reinforces how lucky I am.  I could not have gotten through 2015 without him.  I love him more than anything else.  Happy 1 year anniversary baby – and forevermore to go!

Alcoholism…

Can we just discuss alcoholism for a minute?  I really hate it.. I don’t fully understand it since I am not THE ONE in the grips of alcohol, however, I am directly involved as the daughter.  I am watching it steal my mother, preying on her vulnerability that comes from my father’s untimely death.  I see first hand all the destruction and mind altering this socially acceptable drug causes when you are the person that finds comfort in a bottle.  Trust me, before seeing it through my own eyes in such a personal manner, I never believed that it could have such a strong grip and cause so many problems.  I, like most people, was busy FULLY blaming the person choosing to allow this to happen.  Don’t get me wrong, I still 100% believe there is an element of choice, a rather large element of choice;  I just now also believe that the alcoholic gets to a point where they no longer are the person we know – they become this foreign individual who has been brutally violated and taken over – and currently I am at the point with my mom.  I feel as though I have already lost her in all ways except physically.  Great – the physicality of her being means nothing compared to the emotional and physchological aspect of her as my mom.  

We lost our mom a year and a half ago after losing my dad suddenly.  My brother and I, we are still clinging to any shred of hope possible that she will eventually turn her life around and we can get our mother back.  We realize we can only get part of her back, as the alcohol has already caused some permanent damage.  My mother will never mentally (smarts not psych) be the once bright, quick woman she was.  Alcohol pickles your brain, literally pickles.  She suffers from dementia due to this – a very sad situation as she is not yet 60.  Hard to say its all due to her drinking, as it also runs in the family.  But I can say her memory and cognitive functioning has worsened tenfold over the last year and a half.

On top of the situation being incredibly sad all around, we also struggle with the hurt, lies, deception and selfishness alcohol has brought upon us.  My mom used to be one of the nicest people you could come across.  But, as I said before, my mom as we all once knew her is already gone.  This has become incredibly difficult as her first grand child was born in June.  I feel sad for my brother, watching how hurt he was that she did not seem to care that she had this brand new grand baby.  I know he wanted nothing more than for her to make his son a priority – a priority that she so clearly did not make either of us, her own children.  I tried to warn him not to get his hopes up, but really?  How the hell is that possible – especially when she was telling everyone how excited she was and that she was going to stop drinking for the baby.  Sadly, we were fooled again when she only saw her grandson the day he was born, then made every effort to NOT see him, all while staying home drinking all day every day and calling my sister in law with another excuse of why she couldn’t come see the baby that day.

Family.  Wow does alcohol rip families apart.  The family (except for my brother and I for the most part) didn’t believe how bad the situation was – at least they didn’t for a  while – so my brother and I always looked like the bad guys.  People don’t get it – you are already making heartbreaking decisions that up front are causing your mother distress and pain, and now the family is against you and telling you what you’re doing is wrong.  It is just blow after blow.  Currently, most of the family sees the severity of the situation, so at least no one is fighting us (for the most part), even if that means they would just rather not be involved.  My Grandma though, she still doesn’t see how bad it is, sadly.  I don’t blame her – would you want to admit your child is living this awful life, dealing with an often unbeatable demon?  Would you really want to admit this will likely kill your child and sadly, she is waiting for that time to come?  Would you want to admit your child is in a situation that has gotten so far out of hand no one knows how to help her get out of it without taking on much work themselves?  I get it.  I often get angry that we (my brother and I) have to deal with all of this.  We didn’t do it so why are we having to take care of so much?  It’s not fair, it’s most certainly not easy, and not for nothing but we are also still dealing with my father’s death.  I often wonder why she thinks it is okay to put all of this on our shoulders.  This feels like one of the  most selfish things you could do to your children.  Not only are we watching her slowly and painfully kill herself, but we also have to clean up the messes as they happen.  We have to defend our already hard choices to others – people who we need to be fully supportive of us if there is any chance in helping our mother.  It just isn’t fair.  Yes I am sick of dealing with it and I am sure my brother is – but we don’t get to just walk away or not get involved.

Guilt.  I hate that everyone feels bad and does not want to upset her by calling for help.  People need to realize you aren’t helping someone by trying to save face with them.  Who cares if she gets mad because you called for help?  Guess what – she never stays mad.  Think about it this way – would you feel bad because she is mad at your or would you feel worse knowing you didn’t call for help and now she has hurt herself or someone else?  Because I can tell you the guilt will be much worse with the latter outcome.

I hate alcoholism.  I see through different eyes now and fully respect loved ones who are fighting with all their might to get an alcoholic the help they need.  I appreciate their frustration when the system fails them, repeatedly.  I have been there too.  I appreciate when they are less than easy to work with as a family member of a patient – it shows they are unwilling to give up and will try everything – including strong arming the physician into admitting their mother to the hospital (yes – I had to do that once and would do it again).  I don’t think I will ever give up on her – although the amount of hope I have has diminished significantly.

Please, if you know someone in a situation like this – speak up.  Don’t just sit back and watch if you care for them.  You will regret that decision at some point.  Also, don’t be so hard on someone when they are angry or upset while dealing with an alcoholic.  You likely have no idea the extent of what they are dealing with.  Offer support – the alcoholic and their loved ones need support more than anything.   All of them are dealing with one of the worst – if not the worst situation they have ever had to deal with.  Death is even easier to deal with in my opinion.  It happens and then is over, while something like this is chronic and just gets worse and worse – putting people in some of the worst situations you couldn’t imagine.  Trust me.  The saddest thing I have ever witnessed – and I never thought anything was going to be more sad than losing my father whom I cherished more than anything else (other than my husband).

What to write about…

I have not written a post in a while because I have been contemplating “what do people want to hear?”  Or better yet, “what do people NOT want to hear?”  This website started off as something I would do for my photography, yet it has turned into that plus a blog comprised of my own thoughts.  I will attribute that to not knowing anyone in NYC and my husband working all week.  Basically – I’m talking to you guys as my form of adult conversation ha.  I’m not sure if I think this is funny or sad currently.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not lonely or anything!  I do like being down in the city.  I still have a social life, probably more so than when I lived in Syracuse (unless you want to count patient interaction – if you could even call some days “interaction” in a normal sense – my social life).   We go out much more frequently here, both to indulge in some fancy cocktails (I still find it amusing that I feel the need to call mixed drinks “cocktails” in NYC) and delish foods.  Oh and – WE ARE GOING TO SEE ALADDIN ON BROADWAY IN A COUPLE WEEKS!

I also admit that everyone was right (but by no means am I admitting I was wrong haha) when they told “you will get used to the public transportation.  It’s really easy!”  Obviously, unless I want to sit inside a less than 500 sq. ft. studio apartment on the 3rd floor (heat rises), I am forced to go out and do things alone.  Not to mention I have this terrible guilty conscience that makes me want to run ALL the errands while my husband is at work.  I guess since he works and I don’t, there is no reason I can’t do the shopping, laundry, cleaning and whatever other errands may arise.  SO – here I was faced with needing to get to midtown one day and Mike was at work.  I was sort of nervous – but then I rode the subway alone and thought “hmm… that was actually fine… but don’t let anyone know!”  Haha.. just joking!    I have since realized if I do get lost – A) I likely deserve it since it’s nearly impossible to really get lost here and B) It’s really easy to find my way anywhere as long as I have my phone and Google Maps!

Well here it is 2:22pm and I have yet to get ready for the day and head out to the butcher shop for dinner tonight.  PS – if you can find a butcher near you I HIGHLY recommend it- way better than grocery store meat!!  So that is all for now my friends.  I miss you all greatly – friends, work family and relatives alike!  Maybe the next blog post will have some more feelings and personal opinions… thoughts???  Oh yeah – thank you to my friend Jamie who made me realize it was nearly impossible for you to follow my blog (unless you were at a desktop!) so it is not fixed.  You can see the follow button on the right hand side of the pages!!

And as always, check out my pictures!!