This is a sad story.
A long time ago, 1983 to be exact, I was visiting my sister Judy. She was in the process of adopting a child from El Salvador, where there had been a revolution going on and lots of kids were orphaned. Just before I returned to California she got the news that she would get a little girl, 5 years old. She was overjoyed.
The next summer she brought Jane to California where she got to swim in the pool every day and go to Disneyland. My stepdaughter Michelle was 8 at the time, and my sister and I remarked at how bizarre it was that we would have two little girls hanging on us. Who could have foretold such a thing.
Jane had a wicked temper. Hoo-boy, was she hot-blooded; I had never seen anything like it. Little tiny thing that she was, if she didn’t get her way she could go on a screaming tirade that would have you shaking your head in disbelief and worrying that the neighbors would call the cops.
Years passed and Judy, who was a school principal, got Jane medicated and through school (barely). Jane’s turning 18 couldn’t come soon enough and the long nightmare would be over.
Ah, but it didn’t turn out that way. Jane got pregnant—not once, but twice—and popped out Taylor and Daniel, 11 months apart. And Judy fell in love with her two little grandchildren and took care of them, too. Jane still had her horrible temper and it would turn out that both her children would have the same issues—learning disabilities, behavior problems, ADD, ADHD, PTSD, you name it.
Judy took care of the two kids—fed them, clothed them, bought them toys—while Jane lolled in bed and watched soap operas, and threw temper tantrums. And the kids threw temper tantrums. There was a lot of yelling and throwing.
Jane turned to drugs. She spiraled into a slovenly mess. She missed her children growing up—slept through it all. 911 was called time and time again because they feared she might not wake up. This went on for years and years. A few months ago Judy finally got Jane into an apartment—once again. But Jane had a boyfriend now and they were planning to get married. Maybe this time it would be different.
I got the call last week. Jane had OD’d and there was no one to call 911. Her mother found her and is heartbroken. So is the fiance. Her children, who are 15 and 14, are devastated.
The story ends here, but life will have to go on for them.