I have not written much about "J" lately ... I've said what I've had to say, not to expose her, to hurt her, to cause her any grief should she actually read this blog. I write what I write because when you love someone, when you have given of yourself for nearly 12 years in a parental role, and then watch in horror as it all comes unglued, you find it difficult to just "let go." When you are the one who was always there and when you know the truth about the way someone really felt about you--and that certain someone can't seem to remember it, or their mind has been so twisted by others who never really knew, who only wanted to destroy because it's the only way they can satisfactorily lose--you just cannot shut up.
I watched a movie recently in which children gave a school performance to proud parents and grandparents within the audience. I had a memory then ... one in which "J's" school was doing such as that. Her mother's job did not allow her to "take off" in the middle of the day (which was when the program was given), and it was the best job she'd had in some time, making more money than she'd made for a while. J's father was incarcerated. Everyone in the family--aunts, uncles, grandparents-- had jobs they just could not break away from.
I was fairly snowed under myself, but my job working from home allowed me to walk away for a while. Doing so meant putting in longer hours later on, but J was worth it. So I went.
I'll never forget the anxious look on her face as she scanned the audience looking for a familiar face. At first she seemed to panic, then she appeared so sad. No one had come, she thought. She was alone. But then as her eyes came near to mine, I waved and she brightened. Someone had come. Her MrsEya.
When the performance was done, I presented her with flowers. I'd brought cupcakes for the "after show party" and, together, we sat at a table and ate. Just as we did the many times I went to her school over the years to have lunch with her. My husband and I were the only ones who ever did.
But she has forgotten that and all those other wonderful memories, like the Tuesdays I read to her second grade class from Mrs. Pigglewiggle. Whether by illness or by coercion or by choice, I don't know. I only know what truth remains and that truth is how much she is loved and always will be.
But there's another truth as well. One you need to know. And if you don't know, you must educate yourself. "J" is now a part of a system that cannot adequately serve her. One she keeps running away from, landing on the streets. Each time she does, I push heaven and earth to find her, even if it means she "hates you for it" or others think I'm interfering where I don't belong. (Of course, those same people and that same system loved me when we financially supported her before child support was ordered, years of asking for nothing.)
I do not and will not sit on my can or act out some "pretense" of searching. And this is why: human trafficking is real and it's right here in Florida. Worse for those who are bipolar or borderline or who suffer from any number of mental health illnesses. The idea of J crying, of her being enslaved because of another's greed and a system's stupidity, of her being used like a sex toy or a punching bag or a personal slave, is more than I can bear.
I beg you to read this article by my friend Dan Beckmann. And then you tell me if you would just sit back and do nothing.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for passing this on.
Eva Marie Everson