Bittersweet Symphony

Life as I know it ...

Dear Mom and Dad,

I’m writing this because as much as I would like to have a heart to heart conversation with you, I don’t feel like we would be able to hear each other at this point.  So here I can get it all out there, hopefully a little more clearly.  How you receive it is up to you.  But I needed to do my best to clarify our views.  Robert and I have talked a lot about this, he has helped me write this letter and this is our joint agreement.

I am not happy or proud of the way things exploded over Thanksgiving.  I am sorry for losing my temper with you and with Kevin.  I am sorry for some of the things I said outside by the van.  I love you both so much and I am sorry for hurting you.  I am not sorry for all that was said, although the delivery was heated. 

The incident between Kevin and Andrew is not completely the heart of this issue.  There is a lot more going on here, yet it can not be minimized that he strong armed my child and when confronted he responded in anger, swearing and justification. 

The choice Robert and I have made to keep our distance from Kevin has been a long time coming.  The reason behind our choice is #1 the protection of our children.  We do not feel safe around Kevin.  I hope you can hear that, you don’t have to understand it.  I don’t feel the need to list all the violent incidents that I know of because you already know of them and more.  I have seen the bruises and scrapes on you , Dad.  And Mom, you have told me of one incident where you locked yourself inside your purple room to protect yourself from his rage. 

You and I have very different ideas of who Kevin is.  We see him as the shell of my little brother.  It is heartbreaking to see who he chooses to be today.  We see a man who is lost in drugs and his own poor choices with no motivation to change.  I hope and pray for big changes for him, but I can’t make them for him.  Standing by and pretending that I am not threatened by who he is today can not help him make better choices tomorrow. 

It hurts that you seem to interpret my emotions here toward my little brother as nothing more than anger.  I feel a lot of things in this whole situation and yes, one of those is anger.   But that anger is more directed toward you than to Kevin.  I am not mad at Kevin.  I have accepted Kevin and the fact that my actions can not change the choices that he makes for himself.  But it is frustrating to you put yourselves in a position to be victimized over and over again.  I wish you could see that if Kevin is bent on self destruction he will get there with or without your ’help’.  I do understand that you love him and he is your son.  Yes, when he is sleeping in his old bedroom or on the computer in your home you do know that he is not dead.  But he is not living much of a life either.  By helping him to hover just above rock bottom by providing him food, shelter, money, transportation, clothing, shower, laundry, etc … you are doing him a disservice.  I honestly find it more than a bit selfish that you consistently put your desire to feel he is ’safe’ over his need to feel the consequences of his actions.  Why should he have any motivation for huge life changes when the life style you are providing him with does not require it? 

These comments are blunt but not angry.  It hurts to watch all 3 of you settle for so much less than is healthy.  As painful as it is to witness this dynamic, it is not my call to do anything to change it.  You can choose to parent your 22 year old child however you feel.  I’m not going to stand between you and that but I can’t stand by and watch it either.  Your relationship with Kevin is your own business. 

As far as my family’s relationship with him, we feel threatened by him.  It would be foolish for us to continue to put ourselves and our children into situations that we feel are unsafe.  When we are in your home and Kevin is there I feel anxious because I have no way of knowing what drugs he may have recently  taken, what state of mind he may be in, and what might possibly set him off.  If anything goes against him there is no way to tell how he might react.   What if he gets a phone call that ticks him off?  At Grandma’s house on Thanksgiving, I do think that that only reason why he did back down was because there was a room full of other people.  But I was scared of the look in his eye.  You don’t have to agree with that fear but please hear me that it is a real fear.  I am not just responsible for keeping myself safe, I would have to get all 4 little people to safety in an instance and I only have 2 hands. 
Aside from the fear of violence or confrontation there is the other side of it. He IS an adult, so it is confusing to my kids to see the dynamic in your home.  We do not have much of a relationship with him.  Kevin and I have not had an honest conversation for years.  I have nothing to gain by putting on blinders and pretending I am not uncomfortable in this situation.  I won’t go so far as to say that he is a bad influence on my kids because they are still so young, but he doesn’t show any signs of being a good influence either. 

So there’s the rundown of where we are coming from.  Kevin has hurt you and made apologies and you are willing to give him second chance after second chance.  But you can not make that choice for me or my family, although you have tried.  We have made ourselves clear about where our boundaries have been and you completely disregarded it because … I’m not sure why. Because you find our reasons invalid?  Because your judgment is better than ours?  Or my guess because you would rather pretend that everything is fine.  Still, what we do with our kids is not your call.  Much like what you do with your kid is not ours.

So, what we expect is for our kids to be kept separate from Kevin.  That means he is not welcomed in our home.  It means we will not be visiting you in your home as Kevin has free reign there and since you will not tell him to stay away out of consideration or respect to our choices.  (Again, that is your choice to make, it is your home, your son.)  But since you will not own up to the disrespect to our family’s boundaries we will have to limit your options in that regard.  We will not be attending any family gatherings when Kevin is there.  It is not a punishment.  It is a safe guard.

Please do not misunderstand me, this is a hard and painful choice and not one that we enjoy making.  But if we willfully allowed our kids to be put in a potentially harmful situation just to keep up with the illusion of  a ‘happy family’ if something did happen, we would have no excuse.  Do you remember that I have said that we didn’t want the kids around him since his last arrest … yet, when we were staying (stuck) there while Robert was working on the kitchen he wanted to come over.  I felt it was not my place to tell you who you could have come into your home, (even though I had been very clear, I thought, about why I didn’t want him around my kids) so I went along with it.  (backed down).  Then the incident at Grandma’s house solidifies that I should have stood firm.  We will not be backing down again.

I don’t mean to cause a divide and I am not making you choose.  I am just making our choices and the reasoning behind them clear.  This is not what I want either.  But I won’t keep pretending. 

How can we fix this?  We can’t.  Kevin can.  We are unwilling to have a relationship with Kevin until he shows some consistant motivation to change.  For example:  legally and in actuality living in another home, possibly a sober living home,  attending NA meetings, working … I don’t know exactly how that would look.  But we need to see initiative, growth, accountablity, motivation, sanity, and a drug free lifestyle for quite some time.  That is not how you would handle it, that has been proven.  That is how our family is handling it.  You don’t need to understand it, but we need you to respect and honor it.

We would like to celebrate Christmas with the Friou family so I’m making the request that Kevin not be there.  If you would like to take him, please let us know so we can make other plans.

Mom, Dad, I’m sorry if this letter is too cold or blunt for your taste.  There are so many feelings going on here and Kevin is only the eye of the storm.  I love you.  I will always love you.  My kids love and will always love you.  I will always love my little brother.  I miss him and holding on to an uncomfortable  relationship now doesn’t alliviate that pain.  I don’t claim to be better than Kevin.  My sins are no less sins just because I don’t wear them on my sleeve (or band name) like he does.  I am not claiming to be perfect or better than.  I fully know and believe that the same Jesus that died to save me in the midst of my own rebellion and comforted me in my brokeness can save my precious, smart, funny, silly, life of the party little brother and bring the light back into his eyes.  But that is Kevin’s choice to make, not mine. 

I love you so much.

Add A Comment


Nov. 29, 2010 at 3:40 AM

now print and send

Message Friend Invite

Nov. 29, 2010 at 7:18 AM

As long as they enable, there's no hope for your little brother.  I know a lady, now in her 60's, whose mom and dad did the same thing your parents are doing.  Right now, they don't even know where she is, but if she's alive, she will be coming back, because she always does and that's because she knows she always can.  There's another daughter involved in this one, too, but she has never been heard.

Message Friend Invite

Want to leave a comment and join the discussion?

Sign up for CafeMom!

Already a member? Click here to log in