Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sometimes the Red Cross is too fast

You know, like when they hear that a soldier's house burned so they get that soldier on a plane right away, before anyone was able to talk to the soldier first to say, "Hey, um ... your son set the fire. Maybe you want to take a couple of deep breaths before you go home."

So shortly after talking to me on Sunday, after telling me that BIL would be delayed for some unspecified amount of time, she was informed that she needed to go pick him up at the airport. Nephew got permission to spend a couple of days, or weeks, whatever, with some neighbors and Sis and the nieces went to pick up BIL. The nieces told sis that they were getting stomach cramps from being anxious.

So, they got BIL and drove back to a buffet and when the girls had filled their plates Sis held BIL back and told him that Nephew set the fire, and that the fire department, children's services, and EVERYone knew EVERYthing. She told him that Nephew was at a neighbor's because he was afraid. Apparently he coped with it fairly well, although that maybe partly shock.

Sis didn't give me a lot of information about how BIL took it all. BIL however did call Nephew and told him it was okay and asked if he wanted to swim with him at the hotel. Sadly, BIL did not have swimming trunks. By the time he bought some and got Nephew it really was too late to swim. Nephew feels like it was just a trick to get him to come back.

BIL had one conversation alone with Nephew. After that Nephew went to walk the dog with Sis and, In Sis's words, "It was Dad this, and Dad that, the whole time." When she got back she took a walk with BIL and told him that he cannot be alone with Nephew. She said it was partly for his (BIL) protection. Things were too tense right now and Nephew could report anything. She also said that she loved him, but couldn't tell him why. She said she wanted to stay married, but not like this. Things would have to change and he would have to go to therapy.

Her voice was shaking with fury whenever she talked about BIL. All of her anger about the fire, about everything, is going to him. She says that it was her fault that they stayed in the church. He had wanted to leave years ago and she didn't. Other than that though, everything is his fault. I'm afraid I did tell her that legally she was responsible for failure to protect her kids if she knew he was hurting them (which she did) and she did nothing about it. She accepted that.

This is the first phone call I've had with her in which she sounded angry. Before she was sad, or competent, or overwhelmed, but this time she was pissed. She says she feels like she found herself again. "I'm not this meek person who gets pushed around. I'm the dominant one who takes charge!" She is feeling fiercely protective of the kids. She told Nephew that she would keep him safe. Nephew was afraid that that meant he might have to leave his mom. Sis said that if he wasn't safe with his dad that either Dad would leave or she and he would leave. She promised that he never had to be alone with his dad.

Nephew is not happy that he can't see the same therapist he saw before. He has to see someone, a man, who is a specialist in kids who set fires. Sis says she told Nephew that she knows he is angry and he has every right to be angry, but he needs help in dealing with the anger. This was serious. They could have all died.

Anyway, Sis hasn't heard from anyone. She says tomorrow she is going down to the therapists office and just sit there and refuse to leave until she can talk to him and get an appointment. She's frustrated that she hasn't heard from anyone this week. She doesn't know if child protection or juvenile justice will be involved. She's prepared for that, but no one has called.

On the up side, the insurance company found a three bedroom house for them to rent. Niece2 will be able to walk to school. (Yes, the terrible church/school where kids like Nephew are paddled for their sins ... like not doing their homework.) BIL is handling all the insurance paperwork and spending his day doing the inventory at the house. Sis is very relieved he is handling that. He is here for 2 weeks and then will probably still be back for his leave in August. At that time they will make as many decisions about the house as they can. They will have to be picking out cabinets, everything. Sis is torn between not wanting to deal with BIL and glad to have help with all the decisions.

Sis is shocked at how deep the damage is. The duct work for the heating system is ruined. The wiring is destroyed. They have said that in some places even the house's frame will need to be repaired.

Anyway, we can't talk until the weekend. BIL doesn't want to change the cell phone plan to one with more minutes. Seems fairly stupid to me. Sis has needed to be on the phone and has surely gone over, but well, there it is. I will be able to talk to her on Saturday when she has free minutes.


  1. I am still hoping for enlightment for your sister. She seems to maybe be coming toward some sort of ephiphany and maybe this is all for the best.

  2. It's all so complicated. Like Marthavmuffin said, hopefully this will bring about a big change for the better. *hug*

  3. his refusal to change the cell phone plan seems controlling to me

    but I do agree that although your sister is blaming everyone else with the exception of staying in the church, allowing this type of disfunction within the family is her fault as well

    you do a very good job biting your tongue, I'm not sure I could do that in this situation

  4. From what I understand, when she gets the bill, if she did indeed go insanely over her minutes she can call the company and politely say that she went so far over because there was a family emergency due to their house having caught fire (obviously, it's probably better not to go into details), and is there any way the charges can be reduced? I hear that a lot of companies will work with you and lower the payment, or even waive the overcharges completely.

  5. And given that she was actually on the evening news, they'll probably believe her!


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