The squeaky wheel

Last Wednesday my mom came over. She walked in saying she told my dad she was going to move back into my house if he didn’t take a shower. In an instant I felt more stressed. She lived with us I would guess somewhere around 4 months. My dad showering was always a fight. If it was up to my dad he would never shower again. One time he didn’t shower for a whole year. It is a topic of marital conflict that I would bet most of your parents never have had.

It wasn’t long after my mom showed up that the police called her. She found out not only one, but two of my brother Matt’s caregivers in his group home stole money from him and his roommates. It broke my mom’s heart because she really liked one of the caregivers because she was good to Matt. Not only that, but my mom found out that someone most likely a caregiver stole my brother’s cell phone. My mom got a cell phone bill for hundreds of dollars on Matt’s phone for texting and data. My brother doesn’t read nor write. He said he couldn’t find his phone for the last couple of weeks. No wonder why, it was stolen.

This was very upsetting for my mom. She is going through so much. Sadly, it’s nothing new. From what I heard the police were going to arrest one of the women as they have a low tolerance for people that steal from the disabled. My mom needed to go to the police department the following morning to sign a subpoena to get the cell phone records. It never ends for my mom. The week before Matt was exposed to COVID and his roommate had pneumonia.

As my mom was dealing with some major problems with her special needs child, I was dealing with some major issues with mine. I knew that my mom was not as concerned about me in that moment as she was with everything going on with my brother. I spent my whole childhood pretty much used to that. My mom always said the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Some way or another, Matt was always that squeaky wheel. The other three tires never made much noise in comparison.

The last year and a half Arabella has been that squeaky wheel. Lately, she is all we ever talk about. She was sending me upsetting texts while my mom was busy with everything going on with Matt. Lately Angel picked her maid of honor for her wedding. She was excited because she was also picked as the maid of honor for that friend’s wedding. We were happy for her, but then the conversation quickly switched back to the problems we are currently having with Arabella. Angel said it wasn’t fair. She was doing great but no one ever focuses on her.

I understand totally as a special needs sibling. Tonight Paul and I are taking Angel and her fiancĂ© out to eat to thank her for keeping a good eye on the house and pets while we were on vacation. We try to celebrate the good, but in all honesty everything going on with Arabella is bringing us down. There isn’t a lot of joy in my life right now. On a scale of one to ten I would list my joy rating at a zero. One of the only things that is keeping me from jumping off a cliff (or should I say the Kennebunk bridge) is looking forward to my daughter’s wedding.

Arabella’s time at the hotel was running out. She wanted somewhere to stay and didn’t want to stay with us or with my parents because the environment was way too unhealthy. She wanted to stay with my best friend’s family. Cindy has an 18 year old son living at home. I told my best friend not to let her stay there. If my daughter makes false allegations against her son, or husband for that matter, it could ruin their lives and I couldn’t live with that. Would she end up living in a car? Winter is coming. Then she ‘accidently’ sent me a text conversation she had with someone which detailed her overdosing. Maybe I’ll share that tomorrow. It’s hard to read though as a parent. Every day I expect a phone call telling us she is dead. That’s my life right now.

She doesn’t want anything to do with us, she said. But then she asked me if I would take care of her frogs. I have been but I don’t want to. I feel sad because every time I look at them I think of how they were a gift to her to show her how much we care. I don’t want her to take them because I am afraid they will die because she can’t even take care of herself. As I went to the pet store last week for more crickets, the guy who worked there forever commented to me how happy he was to see pets in good homes like mine. I almost started crying. I have a good home?? It’s so easy to doubt that anymore. I’ve been told how awful I am that I am almost starting to believe it or think that others see me that way.

How do people view me? Am I still the kind calm person with a sad smile? Or do people just see me with the weight on my shoulders that brings me down? Do they see the angry lady who beats her fists against the walls? The sad lady that almost cries in pet stores? Or do they see the real me in there somewhere? The me I can’t even see anymore. I’m so beyond broken at this point. Dealing with this stress day in and day out is killing me. But I’ve been through hell before and kept on going.

Goal 3: Start the process of writing a book

For a very long time, I was angry about the things that happened to me in my childhood. Why did my family struggle so much when other families had it all together? I think it was a miracle to survive with most of my sanity intact.

What is the purpose of struggle? What are we supposed to do with what we have been through?? Personally, I believe by successfully surviving my obligation is to reach out and help others going through similar circumstances. I have always felt this way but I was never sure how to do it.

Blogging has been a wonderful way to process my experiences in life honestly. But I found it to be lacking. I don’t feel like I have been able to reach my target audience so to say. They haven’t found me and I haven’t found them either. Maybe there are few that can relate to my life story. Where is everybody? Why aren’t you writing about it? Maybe it just takes a long time to process it like it did for me.

I told myself that once I retired I would write my story. I always put it off into some future place. Then I found myself without a job.

I’ve tried to find books even other blogs of people out their with similar stories and found nothing. How can there be a void? Nothing?? I decided that I am going to be the one to write the story. I don’t think that it will be easy, but I do think it will be worthwhile.

I am going to write the story of a sibling growing up in the 1980’s with a violent autistic brother. This was a time when autism wasn’t an epidemic. This was a time of very limited services. This was a time where my mother was blamed for his violent behavior. This was the time where I was expected to give up my childhood to be a caregiver. I also had two other younger siblings and an abusive father which will be woven into the story.

So I will be processing more journals from my childhood in the weeks to come and compiling everything together to start the process.

I also have some exciting news. My new friend Sue, who is a child psychologist that works with autistic children specifically, put me in touch with someone from her agency. I will be meeting with this person at the end of the month. I have been asked to be put on a panel as a sibling to work with parents. I don’t have all of the details yet, but I feel like this is a huge step forward in being able to help others who are going through what I have been through.

I am very excited about where this could lead even if I am only able to help one person through my experiences. Struggle does have a purpose, I just needed to find mine.