I once had a life, or rather, life had me. I was one among many or at least I seemed to be....

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For Kent
Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015 1:05 PM

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” — Steve Jobs

Death. A certain state of being. Knowing eventually you're going to kick the bucket and all of this will cease to exist. All the drama will fade away. Every little petty argument or giant disagreement will have served no purpose.

We live to love, to be loved, to know ineffable love... and yet we hate. We hate with more energy than we put into loving.


Out of some sense of revenge? Because it's human nature? Because somewhere someone caused us pain that hurt so deep we couldn't get past it? At least, not right away. If ever. To what extent does emotional hate beget physical hate?

Agism. Sexism. Racism. Weightism. Classism. Homophobia...

It feels as if the earth's off it's axis, but the world spins madly on.

I see relationships as if everyone is connected by 6 invisible guitar strings. A melody plays out, strumming the nature of the relationship. Sadness. Happiness. Calmness. Frustration. The strings are never silent when two people remain connected.

When unspeakable wrongs are done between the two people, a string breaks. Maybe it was cut in half by scissors because one of the two just couldn't take it anymore and had enough. Sometimes the strings whither over time until they can't help but break in half because they've seen a constant stream of negativity. On the bright side, if the relationship is strong enough, broken strings can be replaced.

My relationship with my stepson was on it's last string. The first string broke when he elbowed, punched, and verbally abused me. The second string broke when he abused my cat (or cats). The third string broke when he began to steal his dad's pain medication and belittle his father. The fourth string snapped in two when he threw his father down onto the concrete garage floor. The fifth string... well, that one was being withered down by all the little things that happened over time. It came to a point where I just couldn't stand it anymore and let the string break. The sixth and final string? I just recently took a pair of scissors to it and cut it in half.

What did he do this time? Something I find unforgivable - not that I ever found what he did in the past forgivable. Well, to be technical, he had his mother's family turn me and Kent into social services for "emotional abuse." To define the nitty gritty in JR's definition of said emotional abuse: 1. He's being forced to pay rent, 2. He's being forced to sleep in a "dungeon like" atmosphere on a couch, and 3. "Jessica treats him (Kent) like a slave."

The report said the claims were made on 12/30/14. During this time, JR was staying with his mother's family. On that date in particular, he had only been living with us for a total of one month if you were to only factor in number of nights he actually slept under our roof. He moved into our home in the middle of November. We weren't expecting him to live with us when we built our house - a handicap accessible home specifically designed for Kent who uses canes, walkers and wheelchairs depending on his physical state of being on any given day. We did not think nor want to finish the basement because neither one of us had the need to go up and down the stairs. After living in our new home for only 2 months, surprise! Surprise! Grandpa wants us to take JR back because "he needs to be with his father." To which Kent said, "We don't have a room ready for him." To which Grandpa said, "That's okay. He can sleep in the basement on the spare couch and I'll help pay to finish one of the rooms downstairs." And then.....

Grandpa ended up needing surgery! So you guessed it. Grandpa couldn't pay for the room to be finished. And of course we didn't have the money to finish the room right away - let alone buy an extra bed. We're living from paycheck to paycheck. God bless America! So Grandpa, Kent and JR get together and agree that until we could scrounge the money up together, JR would be content to sleep in the unfinished basement on the couch. Come February, one week before the investigation began, his room is 95% done and I was able to get Kent a medical bed thus giving JR Kent's old bed.

On to the matter of rent. Currently JR received $900 from the government. $500 of that comes out of Kent's disability while $400 of it comes from his mother's death benefits. By law, 1/3 of the $900 is supposed to go towards the household to help pay for utilities, etc. The rest is to be spent on him for clothes, food, his personal hygienic needs, school items and tuition, and whatever is left over after that can be wasted on fun things like going to the movies. Grandpa put all of JR's money into his own separate checking account, to which Kent has him pay out $300 to us which is 1/3 of the amount he receives. After numerous conversations explaining these things to the one I now call a sociopath and dumb ass, he decided to play victim and tell the world we make him pay rent.

And then there's the whole "Kent is Jessica's slave" issue. I have to admit once he started talking about emancipation I felt this coming, but not the whole "Jessica abuses Kent" category. All because Kent chooses to make dinner. Kent chooses to do the laundry. Kent likes to fix my plate and get me a drink. When Kent isn't capable of doing these three things, I take care of myself. But Kent loves me, and Kent's only way to show me that he loves me is to do the little things for me. Because Kent is sick and can't do much else. Because Kent wants to feel like he's needed and useful and has a sense of purpose.

What JR doesn't tell everyone is what I do positively. What he neglects to mention is when I do the laundry - especially after Kent's had an accident. How I clean up after Kent every time he pukes or loses control of his bladder. (We believe his kidney's are starting to shut down, BTW.) What he doesn't tell people is how I clean up after Kent's messes in the kitchen when Kent feels the need to be a chef - the kind of Chef who leaves flour all over the place. How for the past year I've helped him bathe. I help him get dressed when he can't do it himself. I take him for walks through the grocery store not to buy food but to help build up his strength. I let his malicious manipulating son move back in under our roof knowing full well the abuse and chaos would return because Kent missed his son. I allowed all of that back into my life... all the stress and pain... because my husband loves his kid.

When the state finished its investigation, they found the claims "unsubstantiated." They did, however, encourage us to take on Family Therapy. How do you say no to that when 1. it's free, and 2. you have to just because it's the state.

But to get back to the last guitar string... after this happened, I cut it. I snipped it in half and I suddenly felt free. I felt free from it all and my creativity returned. My need to write. My desire to draw. My hunger to look good and feel good. It all returned. I have no feeling towards this teenager anymore. I take that back. I'm still dealing with years of built up hate and anger. I hope in 10 years when he's been out of my life for years, I will have come to terms with the past and forgiven him. Only because I don't want to carry it around with me anymore. I want to erase him from my life forever. For now, I must continue to sacrifice. For Kent.

In 19 Seconds

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You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...

- Dr. Seuss