Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Just desserts

I have not written about a situation on the periphery of my life here because it is not my story to tell. Until today. Today I found out that some of it is a matter of public record. And some of it just needs to be said.

There is a woman I know who has deeply hurt some people I care about. She was a wife and mother and made some terrible choices about how she was going to conduct her life. Some of the mistakes she made were on the computer, in a virtual world. And then the line between real and virtual blurred for her, and she made some very bad choices in real life. Choices with consequences for her and her entire family.

She constantly blames other people for her situation in life. She lost custody of her children to her now ex-husband because there was proof of some of her bad choices. She refuses to support her children in their extra curricular activities, she never paid a dime in child support until the courts forced her to, and still she blames others for her circumstances.

Today I found her online, in a court judgment. She pled down to a gross misdemeanor from a felony charge of defrauding the welfare system. She owes over 6 thousand dollars in restitution. She had to spend 10 days in jail. (10 days!) And if she breaks the law in the next year she will go to jail again, this time for another 170 days.

This woman has told her children that her bad financial situation is due to the fact that she has to pay child support to their father. To his credit, he refuses to stoop to her level and tell the kids that she is broke because she refuses to hold down a full time job and she stole money from the state.

No matter what she does -- endangering her children, neglecting them, encouraging them to misbehave in school, egging them on to be disrespectful to loving adults in their lives, refusing to provide them with basic necessities and then trying to buy their affection with new bikes and expensive electronic toys -- he refrains from criticizing her in their hearing because he believes they deserve to have a relationship with their mother that is not tinged with anger, resentment or guilt.

I kept my mouth shut. I stepped back. I lay awake nights worrying about that guy and his kids. I cried for all of them when she refused to attempt to resuscitate a dying marriage. But you cannot fix a marriage when half of the marriage wants it to end.

She made choices, and now she blames others for all of it. She is angry, she is resentful, and she is very likely mentally ill. She refuses to get help or to acknowledge that she played any part in the series of events that has her living in the basement of her dad and stepmother's home.

So now I have a choice. I can stay bitter and resentful of all the awful things she did and said to people I love, or I can let it go and decided that the judicial system, or karma, or god will see that she gets her just desserts.

God, I hope she chokes on every bite.

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