Tag Archives: prison

Always in the Middle

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 I found out Friday that my SIL refuses to give the boys back to Eliza (her motives are not the purest$$$$).  She has not allowed her to see them either. And because of this, Eliza’s brother has been harassing her (sound familiar). My SIL is moving them out of town. 

I am glad that I am no longer involved in that drama cycle.  Just knowing what I know about Eliza’s bunch and my sick SIL, it will be messy whatever the outcome.

I feel very sorry for Ethan and Evan.  As always they are caught in the middle of self-serving adults. Please keep them in your prayers.

 

Pass the Kids

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Yesterday I ran into my SIL’s husband at the grocery store.  I immediatedly asked about the kids and was told that they would be getting the boys in May.  Apparently Eliza has been stirring up trouble from her prison cell with her own sister regarding how she is raising her kids.  Fed up, the sister has decided that she’d rather not deal with Eliza, Ethan, or Evan.

This really bothered me.  The kids would have been fine with me, yet they were senselessly uprooted out of spite.  Doesn’t she see how this nomadic lifestyle will eventually have an adverse affect on her boys?  Not to mention, my SIL is not the best candidate to rear a child.  They live in a two bedroom apartment for starters and are barely getting by.  Her husband has 5 kids outside of the 1 they have together, plus she has another daughter.  My SIL is also half-baked, literally and figuratively speaking.

Her husband is not in favor of this and has decided that if she goes against his wishes, he will move out.  With Evan’s behavioral problems, the number of kids they already have to provide for, and the fact that Eliza and her looney tune brother would never leave them in peace, I understand why he is saying no.

She Does Not Stop!

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Yesterday I received a call from Jazmine’s great-grandmother who resides in East Orange, New Jersey.  She was calling to see how we were doing as well as to share a portion of a letter that Jazmine’s mom (her granddaughter) had written last week.  She wrote that Eliza has been bragging to her how faithfully I brought the boys to see her!  Eliza also stated that I should do this for her considering that Jazmine is her daughter! Therefore Jazmine’s mom is bitter that I am not extending her this courtesy!

I had many concerns about this letter:

  • I have guardianship of Jazmine and therefore any requests for visitation need to be addressed to me, not her grandmother. 
  • Why is she even listening/talking to to Eliza in the first place? Also, Eliza failed to tell her that the visits she received were court ordered and that it took her an entire year to get those granted!
  • Jazmine’s mom seems to be developing an attitude of entitlement.  I guess it is not enough that I am raising her daughter on my own.  I think Eliza has manipulated her and helped cultivate this “right.” 
  • I am offended that she would try to imply that I am doing something wrong by not driving 150 miles roundtrip and using my precious weekend time to do so.  It doesn’t seem to bother her that my brother, her parents, siblings, or any of her friends have not visited her at all–or even offered to escort Jazmine.  I have visited her twice with my niece; something I did not have to do!  I also write her and send cards, pictures, detailed updates, and drawings from Jazmine.  I am only one person and I can’t do it all!  Actually, I refuse!
  • She has not attempted to improve herself during her stay there.  She has been in so much trouble that she has added 9 months to her sentence.  Therefore I do not feel obligated to inconvenience myself to soothe her obviously fragile, immature ego.  If she was so interested in parenting Jazmine, she would do what it takes to get out sooner!
  • Again, why is Eliza determined to start more fires?!!! I think she may be missing the consistent visits that I provided her with.  Now that my stepsons live in North Carolina, I doubt she gets to see them on a regular basis.  Had the boys remained with me, I would have continued to follow the court order. Though she won’t acknowledge this and instead chooses to rub this information in Jazmine’s mom’s face to make her resent me for not doing the same for her.  Once again, Eliza is talking from both sides of her mouth!

As a mother I do understand her desire to spend time with her daughter.  However, my primary concern is that I take care of Jazmine to the best of my ability.  I had nothing to do with Eliza or my niece’s mother landing in prison.  I just have the tedious task of rearing children with ungrateful parents!  All she seems concerned about is making her stay more bearable. 

I knew it was only a matter of time before Eliza rubbed off on Jazmine’s mom!

4 1/2 More

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On a hunch, I checked Jazmine’s mom release status and to my dismay, she had a new date: April 7, 2010!

Oddly enough I have been pretty calm about the matter. I have enough overwhelming my mind at the present time and I can’t worry about this. I am going to trust that God will see me through.  I have to believe that no weapon formed against me shall prosper.

I Hope Not

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Today I have something on my mind.  I received a letter from Jazmine’s mom yesterday in which she wrote, Well I let my mouth get me in trouble and lost more time and  my new out date is 12-21-09 but hopefully I’ll be home sooner long as I stay focused and don’t let my pride get in the way cause these officers try to belittle you and make you feel like shit.

Now I automatically wondered if it had anything to do with Eliza (despite the fact that she mentioned issues with the officers).  Ironically, her new out date falls on Eliza’s birthday.  Plus, I thought about the letter that Jazmine’s mom wrote last week.  I checked the offender information to verify Eliza’s release date and saw that she had a new one.  She had two and a half months added to her sentence!  Jazmine’s mom had four months added.

It could be just a coincidence, but I don’t think so.  I would feel bad especially if she got into trouble for my sake!  I warned her not to allow Eliza to get under her skin.  There is not much I can do about the situation.  I can’t control her nor do I have any influence on Eliza.  I wonder why they had to land in the same facility!  I can only hope that God put those two together for the good of His purpose that is unbeknownst to me.

Strange Fruit

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A comment emailed to me from a reader, Old Friend on Makes Me Wanna Holler inspired me to write this post.  He mused that Eliza is a of a rare breed.  I have to agree; Eliza deserves to be in a class of her own for she is the strangest of fruits.  I try and try to understand her with little success.   Her behavior and life remain a conundrum.

 

There is no way I can explain why she has done some of the things that she has.  Or why she presently operates in a state of frenzied paranoia.  The old saying goes that you can’t compare apples to oranges.  I don’t know what kind of fruit she is, maybe an Elipple.  Or an Elnana.  Perhaps an Elizaberry.  She might just be a Dingleberry. Whatever she is I know that she is a lot different than your everyday garden variety.  The fruits of her spirit are quite devilish.

 

With that being said, I can’t compare her to much of anything.  It is really fruitless (pun intended) of me to keep attempting to understand her.  I just have to accept the fact that she is not healthy (overripe) and therefore does not have the capacity to act in a sound manner (leaves a sour/bitter/mealy/disgusting taste in the mouth). The rancidness of her fruitage is nausea inducing.  Fruit cake is not something I enjoy eating.  So I have stopped trying to psychoanalyze her behavior.  But this is really hard for me because I like fruit!  It is so versatile—you can bake it, puree it, can it, cook it,mash it, candy it, dry it, kebob it, and even use it as a garnish.  But it has its limitations.   You can’t heal it.  Fix it.  Reason with it.  Understand it.  

 

Me and most of the people in my circle are pretty normal fruit.  We are the apples, blueberries, pears, cherries, watermelons and strawberries of life—you know your everyday type of people produce.  While I love exotic fruit such as guava, passion fruit, and kiwi to name a few, my appetite just does not tolerate alien fruit.  Unfortunately, I am going to leave Eliza in the fruit bowl (bin) where she belongs!

Makes Me Wanna Holler

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For the life of me I can not understand why Eliza likes to be so contentious.  You would think in her circumstances that she would focus all of her attentions on improving herself.  You would think that she would be on a peace-seeking mission.  Not!

I received her latest letter today in the mail.  While it seemed civil on the surface; it was really loaded with duplicities.  This time the wording was less accusatory and more cordial.  She even included a brief paragraph about the culinary arts class she is taking.  I’m sure it  was a ploy to get the information she wanted.  Really, she only wants to know what they are saying about her.  However, Eliza must have realized by my last reply that firing word missiles would not work.  Perhaps she has figured that she is likely to have more success catching flies with honey than vinegar. 

But as usual, everytime she writes she asks the same exact questions that she has already asked in previous letters.  And I have already provided her with answers.  Not to mention, when I see her once a month, I give her an update on Evan as well.  So really she has no need to write me other than for vexation purposes–this is something which she does so well.  This time she wrote:  Morocco, if you could send me a copy of a progress report or documentation stating the nature of the concerns posed pertaining to Evan’s condition I would greatly appreciate it.  I would just like to be brought up to date with any regression or progress that he may be experiencing.  Just to have a better understanding as to what is going on with Evan.  Please kiss the boys for me and tell them I send all of my love. 

This repetitious practice only supports my theory that she is extremely paranoid and anxious about her inability to control her children (and us) as she sees fit.  It also signals a lack of trust in us.  This is wearing me down to the bone.  She is really starting to work my nerves.  I almost feel as if she is trying to “catch” me in something, what I am not sure.  My answers don’t change because you can’t really alter the truth. 

In no way will she take responsibility for any of her children’s problems and I can’t force her to do so.  When I share with her that Evan is having issues with things that went on in her household she gets extraordinarily defensive.  She also feels that I am only telling her these things to be judgemental and to hurt her feelings. Though Eliza claims she wants to know everything that is going on with her boys, she really doesn’t because she can’t handle the truth.  I too, have sent her clinical summaries from the previous therapist that Evan worked with.  She was in denial then as well.  She had the audacity to question the creditidentals of the highly qualified therapist.  Eliza argues about everything written in the clinical notes as if she was a trained pyschologist.   So you see, you can’t win for losing with her.  But the things that happened under her roof can’t be erased.  They do have to be addressed.  Obviously she does not realize that she can make the choice to be bitter or better.  Plus, I can only sugarcoat so much before it results in a stomach ache for the both of us!  Such madness!

I find myself in the same position  as I was in around mid-June.  I am depending on God to give me the right words to say again.  I know that He does not want me to spar with her.  At the beginning of her letter, Eliza wrote Know that you are a part of my prayers daily.  I truly hope she is being sincere because I do need strength for the journey.

Note: This is my reply: 

El,

 

Hello, I hope all is well with you.  The boys and I are doing fine.  Not much has changed with Evan since I spoke to you regarding him at the last visit. Again, we are scheduled to have our first 24 hour pass with him on August 2nd. 

 

He is still working to improve in the following areas:

  • Poor impulse control and mood modulation, indicative of a mood disorder
  • Resistance to accepting direction and limits from authority figures, inappropriate roles with adults
  • PTSD symptomology related to witnessing violence/murder. 

I will continue to keep you abreast of any new developments.

Food For Thought

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“Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort.”
Norman Kolpas

Food is the most primitive form of comfort.”
Sheilah Graham

Today I drove Ethan down to visit his mom.  Intially I felt ackward because this is the first time that we have been to visit since receiving the letter full of accusations and paranoia that she sent to me.  But I prayed while waiting for her to come out and as time edged on, the ackwardness sidled away.

She is usually late to arrive, but it took her a full hour to come out today.  I was a tad annoyed because this adds time to the entire visiting process.  We got in the visiting area at 9:30am and she came out at 10:35am.  I have no clue as to what takes her so long.  Most inmates come right out. 

She was her usual pleasant self, making sure to include me in their conversations.  She even waved to me through the window as they processed her.  Wary, I only spoke when addressed in order to allow mother and child time together.

However, there was one thing  different about this visit.  I did not bring the usual $10 that I normally do so that we may get things from the vending machine.   I rarely eat though because most of the things in the machines don’t appeal to my taste buds so early in the morning.  It is a two-hour drive to get there so I know that Ethan is probably a little hungry by then.  Out of courtesy I always offer Eliza something as well.

The first time that we visited her last November, she looked totally shocked when I asked her if she wanted a refreshment.  She halfheartedly declined.  Later in the visit I offered her again insisting that she  at least get a drink.  She happily obliged.

Since that first time she hasn’t refused a snack.  I really don’t mind treating her but my husband has a different opinion.  He feels that I already spend enough on gas (usually $60 roundtrip) and taking the kids to lunch afterwards.  He has also stated that she probably doesn’t appreciate it and comes to expect it.  He also feels that this gives her an attitude of superiority because she has me (a former enemy) buying things for her.  He thinks, too, that Ethan should use some of his allowance to buy snacks for them.

I reminded him that she has never asked me to buy her anything because I am the one offering.  Two, for me it would be quite humbling to accept something from a person I once viewed as the enemy.  I am not getting the impression that she is being smug about it.  Finally, I don’t really care if she does feel triumphant that I am spending a small amount of money on her.  If she is indeed “using” me, the shame is on her and not me.  It is not like I am spending a fortune on her.  Besides, food helps break the ice time and again.

Plus, I bear witness to the healing power of food.  Food comforts, strengthens, and uplifts us (just visualize “The Last Supper”).  That’s why there are such terms as “comfort food” and “homestyle cooking.”   It has probably turned some foes into friends–just the act of sharing alone.  Food is MEANT to be shared with people.    Food is also an important part of our lives.  And don’t forget that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.  How bitter/uneasy/depressed can you be for long when you and others are stuffing your faces with goodies?  Food allows the good times to roll.  Not to mention it feels odd not to be snacking when everyone around us is doing so. I feel good that I am able to offer something at all.  Of course, my husband felt that I was being far too philosophical about the matter.

 I can even understand why my husband would have a hard time breaking bread with Eliza.  Sometimes I do get very angry with the kind of person she is.  I even think of ways that I can hurt/best her in the fragile position that she is in.  She seems to have no problem inflicting pain.  Every chance she gets she uses it to slap us in the face and rain on our parade when we least expect or deserve it.   But somehow I know that it is not safe to fight fire with fire.  When she offends me, I can’t try to offend her in return.  I am of sound mind.  And if she suffers from the mental issues that I think she does, then she can’t help herself without treatment.   I have no excuses.  

While I do respect and empathize with my husband’s opinion, I am the one who will make the ultimate choice about how I conduct myself with her.   If I have the money to spare, I will continue  to graciously provide the funds for snacking.  I understand that she will never likely return the favor which is fine by me.  But that’s not why I do it.

The Bible is a feast of words and I must say that Romans 12:19-21 is quite a delicious sampling of the banquet we have coming:  Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.  Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Amen.

Turn, Turn, Turn

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Dealing with Eliza’s paranoia is down right exhausting.  It just overwhelms me the way that she processes life.  Case in point, yesterday I received a letter from her that clearly displays what I am talking about.  She wrote under the guise of seeing how the boys were doing.  However, her real intent was to throw “verbal stones.”  Here’s an excerpt of parts of her long rambling letter that troubled me:

I have written all of my boys every week for the past two years.  After you stated that it was instructed for Evan not to be able to speak to me even after the court order.  I can’t help but to wonder if my baby is receiving all or any of his mail.  And it worries me.  I don’t know what these people were told but I am not and never have been an unfit parent so there is no reason why such actions should have been made without properly notfying me…

I pray that you can see my position in this situation…

If for some reason Evan hasn’t been receiving his mail I could only imagine the effect that it has taken on him.  Regardless of any past feelings toward me  it is in the best interest of Evan to know and feel that he is loved by his mom and if his mail has been or is being held this I know is very hurtful to him–not to mention it’s just wrong.  I pray this is not the case at all.  But Morocco can you blame me for worrying?  You know in your heart that I love my boys dearly and their good upbringing shows very clearly.  Evan’s behavior disability should not be taken advantage of by any means.  I pray me voicing my concerns have not offended you.  I apologize in advance if the contents of this letter has in any way.  However right now Morocco I really don’t know what to think.  But I do know that there are things that need to be addressed.  I can only pray that God continues His work with our situation.  He  has already begun and though we still may have ironing we can rest assure that God is still at work.

First of all, I have assured Eliza on several occassions that Evan has been receiving his mail.  I’m puzzled as to why she thinks that he doesn’t considering that when he writes back, he often makes mention of something she said.  We have nothing to gain by holding them from him.

Evan’s therapist did not feel that it was a good idea for her to get him more stirred up during his manic phase.  Again, she has no way of speaking to him anyway because she is in prison–the facility does not accept collect calls and I don’t think any judge would force them to do so.  She has not even been able to arrange a third party call to call our home to speak to Ethan so…??? I’m guessing that she just wants to have SOMETHING to complain about.

Unfit parent, hmm, I don’t think she is necessarily unfit (she did keep them clothed, fed, and sheltered), but I do think she is unbalanced and unhealthy.  She has killed someone in front of them, been in MANY fights in front of them, had them removed from her custody for neglect, been in MANY volatile verbal confrontations in front of them, alienated and kept them from their father–do you catch my drift?  Much of what has been told to the therapist came from Evan’s own mouth. 

Notfying her?  She is not the custodial parent so they don’t have to do so.  It hurts when the shoe is on the other foot, which is why I do keep her informed.  There are SO many things that she didn’t inform my husband of, but we don’t hold that against her because I know that an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.

Who is she praying to–the Devil?  Her blasphemy scares me.

I have told her several times that the past is the past.  Apparently it is not for her.  I think she remembers how she kept Evan and Ethan away for years and is afraid that we are going to sneak and use that against her one day.  I don’t know why she feels this way because we haven’t yet.  I take them down for monthly visits faithfully, I send pictures, school work, and report cards, I encourage them to write her, I keep her informed about their development, and I make sure that they acknowledge her on all special occassions.  What more can I do–seriously?

This is the second letter in which Eliza has mentioned how she has done such a good job with the boys.  I think she wants me to agree with her.  The problem with that opinion is that I don’t, so I can’t validate that for her.  We have picked up where she has left off.

Yes, I can blame her for worrying.  If she has handed her situation over to God as she has told me that she has many times, she shouldn’t worry.  I sent her the Serenity Prayer months ago.  The lack of control she has over this is killing her.

Behavior disability??? Try mental illness.  It blows my mind that she wants to keep her child crippled.  I can’t understand why she does not want him to get better.  We are getting him the help he needs–not at all taking advantage of him.  That was really hurtful to me.  I almost think that she has something to hide.

She doesn’t care about offending me.  She lives in her own world and plays by some set of imaginary rules that she created.  And she finds a way to contort any information that I provide her with.  I was momentarily offended and upset, but then I decided it was fruitless and made the choice not to be.  Being offended and angry about her character is like getting mad at a bee for stinging.  You can’t get mad–it’s what they do.  They were born to sting.

 The primary emotion I experienced after reading her letter was sadness.  I just feel so sad because she is making herself miserable.  I know she has a lot of time on her hands and is probably listening to the advice of many “prison lawyers,” but her paranoia is getting ridiculous.  And it doesn’t have to be this way.  We should use our problems as stepping stones to get us to a better place.  I am here for her, but only if she will allow me to be.  Though I refuse to allow her to enmesh me in her mess.  I knew one day soon the tides would turn, and surely enough, they have.  But I am not going to “turn” with her.  Here is my response to her letter:

Eliza,

Hi, I am well, thank you for inquiring.  The boys are doing fine, too.  They are both participating in the “Summer Spectacular Reading Program” again this year.

Evan is doing awesome! God has been answering our prayers.  He really loved the picture that you sent of your mom.  He was so excited to receive it.

Take care,

Morocco

I am proud of myself for not letting her manipulate me into something I am not.