Sometimes you just can’t understand why people do the things they do, no matter how hard you try. I blogged about David’s niece, Missy, once before, but this week she has done something unconscionable, and for the record, criminal.
A little background…Missy is 24, has lived with her boyfriend for probably 7 years, and they have a 5-year-0ld daughter. She has been involved with drugs and druggy friends, she can’t keep a job, and they can’t keep a place to live because they do not pay their rent. Actually, they don’t pay any of their bills, including legal fines they have incurred from bad behavior in the past. As of two days ago, they were living with David’s mother, Shirley, in her small two bedroom duplex. David’s sister, Julie, lives there as well.
Two weeks ago, Missy wasn’t feeling well, and to make a long story short, an episode of kidney stones turned into a diagnosis of kidney cancer. This was believable, because Missy has had epilepsy for most of her life (it went away after she was pregnant, which happens, I guess), and apparently the medicine for epilepsy can cause kidney problems. Everyone was upset and crying. I heard that they had chosen not to do surgery, but were going to try treatment with radiation and very expensive drugs.
Missy asked Shirley for two thousand dollars for doctor bills. Shirley’s brother, Don, sent four thousand dollars.
Today, Shirley called and said that Julie’s new laptop and her new desktop computer had been stolen. Gone too was Julie’s iPad. Also missing was David’s father’s coin collection and some of Shirley’s jewelry. Shirley said they had discovered that Missy had taken everything and pawned them, because she needed to pay off some gambling debts. Gone, too, was the six thousand dollars. Gone as well, the kidney cancer. The cancer was Missy’s ruse to get money that people had stopped being willing to give her. What Missy did was more than shameful, because Shirley’s husband died of cancer, and Julie has had cancer as well.
Gone as well is all of the settlement money Julie received from her old job. Can you say “enablers?” I say change the locks on the doors and call the police. It would be a kindness, in the long run. Prosecute Missy for theft, and perhaps she will finally get the help she needs. There are myriads of government programs from everything to rent assistance to gambling counseling.
Shirley talked to David for a long time this afternoon. Don had called her because he was suspicious of the need for immediate financial assistance. “That’s not how it usually works,” he said. “They give you the care you need, then they bill you for the rest.” He didn’t understand why Missy needed the money right away, and it turns out that his suspicions were correct. If Missy is as destitute as she seems to be, she could also qualify for Medicare. There are options, even without Obamacare, but we won’t go there right now.
Shirley says her savings are gone, and she can no longer afford her house payments because of all the money and help she has given to Missy over the years. She is such a kind-hearted person, eternally optimistic and hoping things will get better. She talked about selling her house and moving here, to look for a little apartment in a retirement community that Shirley and Julie could share, because Julie, at age 50, still depends on her mother for support. Shirley does not have the will to stand up to Missy, and neither does Julie. Until Missy actually took Julie’s computers, Julie would not even believe what we have been telling her about Missy for years. I doubt if Shirley will even press charges, or follow through in any way. The only option she can see is to run away.
Sometimes things don’t get better unless you take a stand. Sometimes you are all that stands between making things better or making them worse. Sometimes it takes all that you have inside you to confront someone about the harm they are doing to others, and to themselves. I have discovered a little of that backbone in these past few weeks, and it feels good to feel like you have some measure of control over your life, and an ability to be yourself without worrying what others think of you.
I would be happy if Shirley came to live near us, but the whole situation makes me sad, and angry. I will keep you posted.