“Well, I’m not going to accept any money from my sisters. After this last attack from them, I’m just over it. And I don’t want to even TALK to them, let alone OWE them anything ever again.”
“But Mom, what if it’s the only thing that’ll save Scott?”
“We’ll just have to find something else.”
“I’m just worried, for both of you. I’m over here, trying to find a solution, but both of you are rejecting the only thing I can come up with. I just don’t understand.”
“Julie, there are no solutions. I’ve just accepted that this is how I’m going to live the rest of my life, ‘til it’s over. There just isn’t a solution, and there never will be one. It’s just what it is, and I don’t want to think about it anymore.”
“So, neither of you think that, in order to save Scott’s life, we should just suck it up and accept whatever help we can???”
“I don’t know anymore, Julie. I just don’t know. I’m tired of holding the phone to my ear. It’s hurting my neck, and I’m tired.”
“Okay, Mom, I just, well, I’m not going to stop searching for a solution. I just can’t.”
“I don’t want you to. I’m just tired. I’m sorry, try not to worry too much. I’m just tired. I’ll call ya tomorrow, k, honey?”
“Yeah, I love you, Mom.”
“I love you too.”
I don’t want to lose my son. So much so, that I don’t even want to think of the possibility of it, even though it stares me in the face every day. I am failing him. I don’t know how to help him anymore. I feel like I’ve tried everything, save quitting my job and staying home full time to care for him. But then where would we get the money to live? And work is my only reprieve. And I hate it there too. Julie, still optimistic somehow, is the only hope we have left. I don’t even know where to turn anymore, and I’m just so damn tired. All I ever wanted was for my children to be happy in life. Now I’m 60 years old, have nothing to show for my own life, and have a son that is going to die. We all need a miracle, and we need it yesterday.
Chapter Twenty-Five – Missing Dads – In Mom’s Eyes
1985 – I am 36, Scott is 11, Julie is 8
I come home from work and Julie is asleep on the couch in the living room. I hear Scott listening to the radio in his room. They must’ve been fighting again. God, they fight a lot. I don’t understand it. And it kills me. Why can’t they just get along? I know they love each other, but nearly every moment they are together, they are fighting. What have I done wrong? When did I teach them all that anger? I don’t feel like an angry person myself, but they must’ve gotten it somewhere.
I know Scott is still angry with me for moving us all to Bend from Salem, and away from all his friends. I think things would have been better if we had moved to Hawaii like I originally planned. I don’t know, I just don’t know. Maybe it’s a good thing that job fell through. Hawaii is so far away from the family. I don’t know if I could do this all on my own. And Julie, she’s not generally and angry child, but she’s got a temper, and when Scott pushes her buttons, which he does well, watch out! Wow, that little girl can fight. Everybody loves her, and always wants her around. She gets a lot of attention all the time, and she’s really very smart. Things come easy for her. Scott’s remarkably jealous, I think. Things have never come as easy for him. And he’s not the most social person either. I don’t know if I’m doing this right. How do you raise a boy to be a man, when you’re a woman? I take him out to my Dad’s a lot, I want him to learn what it is to be a good man from my Dad. And I think he will. My Dad is the best man I’ve ever known, and Scott just adores him. And he really loves Scott, how hard he works, how hard he tries. Hopefully it’ll be enough. I was too tired to stop at the store on the way home, so tonight I’m making some makeshift spaghetti. Or goulash, whatever you want to call it. I feel so poor. I am so poor.
It would really help to have some child-support from that bastard of a father these children have. But I’ll never ask him for it. I don’t ever want him in their lives, ever. He’s the worst kind of man. Worse than even Scott’s biological father, who left right at the mention of my pregnancy and never looked back. But Ed, Julie’s father, he’s a monster. Oooh, it gives me chills just to think of his name. He’s sick, and I’d rather kill him than see him with my children. Julie’s started to ask about him more lately. I don’t say much. I don’t want to. I don’t even want to think about him, let alone speak his name, or tell my daughter anything about him. It wasn’t long ago that my sister, wretch that she is, told her shit-head little son about Scott having a different father than Julie’s. I wanted to tell them myself, when the time was right. But that little prick just up and told them anyway. Evil child. Since then, Scott has been acting rather strange. He’s taken to stabbing things, everything, with knives or forks or sticks. He stabs the floor, the loaf of bread, his mattress, a wayward sock from the dryer. And now he’s burning things too. I don’t think he’s a dangerous child, just an angry one. I think he’ll grow out of it before long, probably just getting out some aggression over being left behind by not one, but two fathers. I can’t even imagine how that must feel, and I feel like it’s all my fault.
“Hi, Momma.” Julie has quietly appeared at my side, awake now, but still subdued and coming out of her sleep. She’s a mess of tangles and she looks so sweet and innocent.
“Did you have a little nap?”
“I guess so, what’s for dinner? Do you need any help?”
“No, not really. Why’s Scott in his room? What happened today?”
“We had a fight.” Naturally, they had a fight. Always a fight. Is it ever going to end?
“You two just HAVE to stop all this fighting.” It breaks my heart, and I start to get choked up. I don’t want to cry in front of Julie, make a big deal of it, but I’m so tired, and it’s hard to hold it back. But somehow, I do, at least for the moment.
“I’m sorry, Mom. We didn’t mean it. It’s just dumb stuff anyway. Sorry.” I can tell she feels miserable, probably wishing she wouldn’t even have told me about it. I wonder for a minute what the fight was about this time. But it doesn’t matter, really.
Julie goes to Scott’s room to get him for dinner, and I hear them at it again. Julie just wants him to come out, she must’ve been the worst one in the fight today, she’s the most apologetic now. Something bigger must’ve happened than just a torn-off Barbie head, or a bad beat on the Nintendo. I’m so tired, hopefully they’ll just eat and go to bed. I love them both so much, but I need a break. I need to sleep, someday.