What a Difference A Year Makes

October 15, 2006 at 11:42 pm 13 comments


Unlike my dog, our cats are not fond of the visiting grandgirls. In this rare moment of solidarity they huddle on the end table in the library that they are ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN to huddle on.

This weekend the grandgirls and their Mom stayed over. We used the time to decorate for Halloween inside and outside, and do some other things for the upcoming party. I couldn’t help thinking as I watched my daughter with her kids, how much things have changed.

Thirteen months ago, at 3 in the morning, Pap and I were standing knee deep in filth attempting to get our crack addict oldest daughter to come home. We’d been summoned there in the middle of the night by a neighbor, one of many times they’d called us because the piece of shit that fathered her two youngest children was beating her up. On this day, both eyes were rapidly blacking, her cheek was cut and the hand shaped bruises on her arms were not nearly as horrifying as the ones on her neck.

Pap had called a police officer on our way over, he met up with us at her apartment door. The three of us talked, and talked and talked to the unkempt, jittery girl huddled on the sofa bed in the living room. We could have been talking to a wall, she wouldn’t press charges because “it was my fault, he never does this sober.”

This wasn’t the first time we’d raced through the night to try and rescue her, and the children. We always went, she’s our girl, our treasure, our oldest. But on this night, something just snapped in me, and I knew I couldn’t help her, she could only help herself. We were able to have the two older girls removed and custody awarded to their father. She ran with Juliette, and moved around frequently enough we couldn’t get a case going with Children’s Services. She called from time to time, usually to ask for money which I wouldn’t send, or to come home, which we wouldn’t agree to except with conditions that she wasn’t willing to meet.

She did’nt tell us she was pregnant with our new baby, but she did tell her sisters. They rallied, and went and got her and our now three year old. They were both infested with lice and scabbies, she was 7 months pregnant and had not seen a doctor… or stopped drinking and using. Bean, who makes her living as a social worker, took her and Jules in. Saw to it they got medical attention, counselling and a schedule. Pap and I provided money to Bean to help offset expenses and as we saw her really trying, we started inviting her for the weekends to give her a change of scenery.

Until Brendolynn was born the energy we put off worrying would have kept a major city in lights. The baby is perfect and thriving, but we still watch closely to make sure she’s coming along mentally the way she should.

It’s early yet, but watching my daughter out in the yard helping her girls fill bags with leaves, her hair a silky shining curtain down her back again, the sound of her laughter ringing through the neighborhood, gives me hope that she’s turned the corner. Seeing her acceptance letter from OU in the nursing program leads me to believe she remembers who she is and where she came from. She’s remembered what has value in life and what is just wasting time.

It’s going to be a good year. I feel my heart repairing.

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13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. The Rev. Dr. Kate  |  October 16, 2006 at 9:15 am

    What hell you have been through, but it sounds like with faith and love you have helped her turn the corner. You, your daughter and your grandbabies are in my prayers.

    Reply
  • 2. Jackie's Garden  |  October 16, 2006 at 10:50 am

    Oh, Kat, what an ordeal – for all of you. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. You have little control over the situation, and your heart is breaking while you are trying to do ANYTHING to help. And like you said, knowing you might as well be talking to a wall. But you were there, and now it sounds like there is going to be a happy ending to this story. I’m so happy for you all. I did an internship a couple years ago where I was working with addicts, and it about broke my heart. Thank you for sharing the ‘real’ stories. I think people need to know that these things happen to real people, to all of us and any of us. Keep on keeping on, Kat, you’re amazing.

    Reply
  • 3. BobCiz  |  October 16, 2006 at 11:20 am

    What an ordeal for all of you! I can only try to understand what you have gone through with your daughter and pray thast the worst is over and that you will all be well, physically and emotionally from now on.

    Reply
  • 4. DaveM  |  October 16, 2006 at 2:16 pm

    God that must have been awful for you and Pap. Sounds as if things are now on the up so fingers crossed. Very brave of you to write about it as well.

    Reply
  • 5. Kat Campbell  |  October 16, 2006 at 4:38 pm

    Thanks to all of you for letting me share that. It was an ugly time, but I see light at the end of the tunnel.

    Reply
  • 6. Velvet Sacks  |  October 16, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    Watching a child go down the wrong path must be one of the most difficult situations a parent could face. Sounds like your whole family is made of sturdy stuff, including your oldest daughter. Maybe she’s just now learning that about herself.

    Reply
  • 7. Linda  |  October 16, 2006 at 11:41 pm

    I do hope that you daughter does well. I am glad for her kids sake that she is willing to try. Good luck to you all!

    Reply
  • 8. Kat Campbell  |  October 16, 2006 at 11:42 pm

    What an excellent point Velvet. I think you may be right.

    Reply
  • 9. Ordinary Janet  |  October 17, 2006 at 11:08 am

    I’m so glad things worked out and hope that they continue!

    Reply
  • 10. Guyana-Gyal  |  October 17, 2006 at 12:55 pm

    This is such a shining picture of health: ‘her hair a silky shining curtain down her back again.’

    Every family, sooner or later, has its share of torment. It takes courage to heal. I hope your heart keeps on healing as your daughter heals.

    Reply
  • 11. Sunflower Optimism  |  October 17, 2006 at 1:04 pm

    This one hit home, Kat. I have a brother who has been doing drugs since HS. He’s in his late 40s now. In addition to whatever illegal drugs he can afford, he gets doctors to write prescriptions for him of exactly what he wants. He researches the symptoms enough so that he is believable. His social worker and network of doctors are aware, but sometimes he sees someone new, who doesn’t know about his ploys.

    He is divorced, with two teenage children – the kids are the ones I really feel sorry for. The kids and my parents, whose lives he has totally ruined and made miserable. I won’t talk to him because if he even thinks I’m looking at him wrong, he threatens suicide.

    I’m glad your daughter was able to escape the trap my brother is in. I will pray for her and continue praying for him.

    Reply
  • 12. Kat Campbell  |  October 17, 2006 at 6:33 pm

    Janet – I try not get my hopes up, but I’m so proud of her right now, and I’m so happy to have my friend back.

    Thank you GG, hope and prayer are wonderful things.

    Oh Sunflower, I’m so sorry. As long as he’s drawing breath there is hope that he’ll change. I will add him to my prayers and thank you for yours.

    Reply
  • 13. Caribbean Colors  |  October 18, 2006 at 8:39 pm

    That’s an amazing story, and that she’s made is this far and is back on the right track in heartwarming. It made me a little choked up. Supergirl was dealing with a pretty severe case of depression when she moved here (December 2005) and has worked though it. Its so hard to see your kids go through tough times. You want to reach out and fix it for them.

    Reply

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