For the past couple of decades, my sister has been making my parent’s lives absolute hell. Being a bit older than I am, by about ten years, she was out of the house and gone when I was young (guess it didn’t help she left early to live with dad). Somewhere along the path of her life she fucked up, plain and simple, and no one really understands what went wrong (granted, her and I both have some abuse in our backgrounds from outside the family, but we couldn’t be any different in our adult lives now). Twenty-some-odd years later, she is now a cocaine addict with two children. Sadly, baby’s daddy is no longer in the children’s lives (one could argue whether he ever was given he was her drug dealer for quite some time), she’s damn near killed dad and now she’s making the sixth level of purgatory look like the damn Hilton for my mother.
A couple times a week I’ll get a call from mama, crying and exclaiming the latest news of my sister’s dark deeds. If it’s not quitting her 547,869 job she’s held in the last two years, it’s her eviction from her apartment, how some druggie she’s been running around with stole her car, or worst of all, running off for days or even weeks at a time and leaving the kids home alone to call their grandma crying and wondering what happened to their mom (again). This is simply the present… the past decade alone has consisted of heart attacks and hospitalizations for both parents, a stoke for one, a second mortgage for one and bankruptcy for another (both trying to bail her out of whatever she managed to get herself into at that time), etc, etc, ETC. And to make matters even more miserable, my mother cannot and will not accept the fact that she needs to let my sister go, as dad did only five years ago. Pushing close to being a 40-year-old, my sister has essentially made her bed, and managed to destroy the greater part of both of our parent’s health, well-being, and retirement in the process.
While my mother’s rants often drive me to the point of insanity where I’m pulling my hair out and shoving needles under my eyelids for the fun of it, my concerns are really with my nieces. They’ve had it hard and are entirely too grown up for both of their ages (12 and 9), thanks to living in hellholes and having to take care of their mother as opposed to the opposite. This fact INFURATES me beyond no comprehension. While the rest of us in the family have the opportunity to walk away, to get our own jobs and support ourselves those kids are too young. They’re stuck. I wish I could simply swoop in and snatch the kids up and somehow force my mother to give up her hold on “fixing” my sister’s life in the process.
Now please, don’t get me wrong; I’d love to and be willing to do anything to get my sister into a quality rehab facility- or any other viable option- and see her recover, to be normal, to be able to complete simple tasks such as, yanno, pay her own BILLS. But the facts are, she’s been there and done that for a little over two decades and while I often consider myself an optimist, I’m not so blindly stupid to not be realistic when it’s slapping me right on the face.
This whole situation puts me into a dilemma that I cannot really do much about. For one, I’m states away in southern Cali while they are in Missouri. I can’t even help out on a weekly basis without uprooting my life and moving back home (which is SO NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. There are good reasons I left in the first place!) However while I’m financially better off than many, the cost of living here isn’t cheap and I don’t quite have the financial ability to hire an attorney, drag my sister’s ass into court and fight custody battles (or pay her off, which would cost about the same), then support two young children on my own. Not to mention, that every time I bring the subject up with other family members, friends or the BF they all think I would be absolutely crazy to ever even consider it.
However, I have a daily struggle in me that fights’ for my family. I didn’t make my sister’s decisions nor should I ever have to clean up her messes but those girls are still my nieces who deserve a chance, and I would do anything for them. And if the situation ever arose where they needed a home and neither of my parents could handle taking them for health reasons (not an impossible situation by any means), then I would never, ever let them go to child protective services and then to some family they don’t know. If it came down to it, I’d make the only decision I could EVER live with the rest of my life and of course that would be to take them on myself. Even if it meant my BF might leave me. Even if it meant having a really hard time finding a man willing to share the load, and then have our own kids likely with my nieces still in the house. After all, isn’t that what family is for? Could I ever feel worthy of raising my own family knowing full well I deserted my nieces when they needed family the most?
The situation hasn’t arisen yet of course, but I think about it often- almost daily- and wonder if it’s really only a matter of time. And it sickens me that I’m so far away, helpless in what I can do to assist now as my mother’s health dwindles.