This is the post that isn't going to be written. I wanted to write something about what everyone else in the family was getting out of the relationship with Maggie, or how they figured things out but never told me, and what they did instead. None of them reached back and said, "This is what she is doing to you, but you don't have to live like that. Don't let her destroy you!"
I could write ten thousand things, and have written a few more than this, but I've opted to delete all sorts of family history in favor of this one element: passive neglect.
It sounds so small and unintentional, doesn't it? It isn't. It isn't even passive. It's deliberate, it swirls unspoken and desperate in the mind of an adult who could do something, but it requires loud arguments, stepping into the middle of active abuse and making it stop, opening up the account books and going thru line by line and demanding to know where it all went, it means asking outside people for help, and it means loving your kids more than you love yourself and doing something about it all every single day.
No one wants to do all that. Better to just "not know." I used to wonder how Maggie could let her unoccupied farm insurance lapse, twice, so that when the county arsonist burned down the house, then came back and burned down the barn, she had no reimbursement for the lost value of the buildings. Now, I could wonder how someone could just "not know" and let all the family relationships go to hell, one child keep running away from home until he finally never came back, another child kill herself, and then cut a bargain with yourself so that the third becomes emotionally responsible for your wife so you can make your escape to a happier life, while that one remains chained until death.
But, I don't wonder anymore. It just does no good. Reminders of it get thrown up at me rather often, but I'm all grown up now and I try just to process and go on. Nothing can be changed, so I'll send flowers and a nice note instead. Everywhere is very polite and not notice and not know. It always has been.
flowers by Martha Stewart