Having a rough time this week.
No beading. Just sadness.
This whole year has been a pretty trautmatic time in my life and I feel like it has all come crashing down on me all of a sudden.
You guys always cheer me up, and I could really use a hug or two, so
You, dear reader,
are cordially invited
TO: A Pity Party
Date/Time: Right here, Right now
~ : ~
If you've known me for a while, you know that my youngest daughter Hannah is a survivor of bullying. What I never addressed publically about the whole mess is that her cousin was a key player in the hell that Hannah was put through at Lockport High School during her sophomore year. Yea, you read that right, her cousin. I'll call her "V" for the purposes of this post, to 'protect' her privacy. After all, she is family (please read that with extreme sarcasm).
I have the video survellaince from the first (but not only) violent physical encounter that Hannah endured just about a year ago every day she walked into that school. I wish I could show it to you all somehow. But I have no idea how to upload it. What it shows is a small glimpse into my daughter's daily world.
How many of you wouldn't want to be a fly on the wall in your child's high school?
Well, I got that chance and what I saw has changed my life forever. Hannah's too, of course, but what no one seems to ever talk about is the ripple effect bullying has in a family. Me, my husband, my daughters - we are all victims of bullying - each in our own way - as unsuspecting players in this bizzare social 'game' that plays out day in and day out in our schools. Bullying.
But can you imagine seeing with your own eyes your child be attacked? I hope none of you ever have to see that.
It is important for you to know what I saw on that video. What I'm going to explain is just one of the two physical attacks on Hannah on that particular day because what happens is creating a shock wave through my marriage and is the reason for the Pity Party.
Ironically, these events occurred just about exactly a year ago. This is an overview of the second attack of that day:
V (Hannah's cousin) sees Hannah coming down the hallway. V then goes over to Mary (one of the bully-pack) and alerts Mary that Hannah is coming. Mary stops dead in her tracks, turns and sees Hannah and immediately runs at top speed (you can see her long hair flying out behind her) toward Hannah in what is clearly an attempt to attack her again (remember this is the second incident - the first attack was thwarted by teacher intervention). I say "attempt", because at the last second, Hannah looks up, sees Mary coming at her and instinctively reaches out her right arm and grabs hold of Mary's hair and pulls Mary almost to the ground. Luckily, the two School Police Officers jump in and pull the girls apart and it ends.
There is no doubt in mind, V's parents need to see this footage. V's parents are Pete's older brother and his wife.
At my insistence, Pete called his brother (I'll call him "C") and asked him and his wife (I'll call her "J") to please come to our home (they live 5 minutes away) so we could show them the footage and talk about V's role in the attack.
C told Pete he would talk with J and let us know. Huh? Are you f*cking kidding me? What's to discuss? My God, if my sister ever called me with news like that, I'd have hauled my daughter and my ass over to their house faster than you could blink. My God - What kind of people are C and J? I am dumbfounded by their response. We have always been 'friends' with them and have never had any problems between us. I was shocked.
Hours later, C finally calls back. They won't be coming to see the footage.
You see, C and J discussed the incident with V and believe her when she says that she did tell Mary that Hannah was coming, but it was done to 'warn Mary' and tell her to 'keep cool'. BullSH*T. The footage clearly, without a speck of doubt, shows V go over to Mary and alerts her Hannah is coming. V then steps aside and watches Mary go after Hannah. She makes no effort to hold Mary back at all and she had ample opportunity to do so. And then when the fight is broken up, V lingers against the wall and as Hannah gets escorted past V, V turns her head, so Hannah can't see her. And as a matter fact, Hannah had no idea V was even there until she saw the replay of the footage. Hannah's response? "I'm not surprised, she's one of Them." Oh my God. I'm sick to my stomach. I see my daughter as a brave warrior facing these bullies every day. And to have her own cousin "One of Them." Good God, I can't even wrap my head around that.
When Pete tells me C and J won't be coming, I freak out. Really. Freak.Out. Like I've never freaked out before. I truly thought I was going to pop a blood vessel in my brain and die right there in my kitchen. I've never felt that enraged in my life. ever. I demanded Pete call C back and tell them this wasn't an option - they HAD to see this. V is lying and this footage shows that. They need to see our side of the story - not just hear V's side. Pete doesn't agree with me, but he calls C back and after some pretty intense conversation, C agrees to come alone - J will not come.
I tell my husband that based on their refusal to come, if he continued to have any 'social' contact with C or J, I wasn't sure if our marriage would survive.
As far as I am concerned C and J are no longer family. Families help each other - bond together, work things out, etc. I want NOTHING to do with them EVER again. I have no desire to associate with anyone, even if they are family, that would stick their heads in the sand and ignore this. They are scum - white trash - I hate them. They are the reason bullying is so prevalent -- absentee parenting, I call it. And if he doesn't agree with me, I can only see that as a reflection of his lack of true love and caring for Hannah and I. Actions speak louder than words, as my mother always says.
I expected my husband, as Hannah's father, would share, if not my all out-hatred of C, J. and V., at least great animonisty toward them and have no contact with them. And after a year now, that has turned out not to be the case. Time and time again it was come to hit me smack in the gut that Pete continues on his relationship with C as if nothing has happened. And that devastates me more than I can explain.
I am now, once again, back in the pit. That's what I call this black hole of sadness that I tumbled backward into on Saturday when I found out that Pete had invited C to a hunting raffle that day.
The pit is a cold place - its a disorienting, lonely, muse robbing, energy sucking hell kind of place.
My husband, the man that I expected to have my back and care enough about me and my happiness and put, not only his wife, but his child, 'above' all others, has chosen to continue to associate with C, knowing full well how it affects me. Says a lot about our marriage doesn't it. I never thought bullying could reach into a marriage and pull the rug out from under it.
Thanks for listening guys - the tears have started, so I better end this now.......xoxo