Tuesday, April 15, 2008

2 years

Have you ever had something happen in your life that was so painful that it was easier to pretend life was fine around others than to go into detail explaining what happened?

I have that secret pain in my life that is so heavy a burden, I can only share bits and pieces of it with those who care most about me. I've been rejected, shut out, cast away, and shunned after revealing too much. I've been doubted, disbelieved, and silently ignored. I've had the most chilling reality to cope with, and fewer and fewer places left to turn. It has been eating away at me, and this blog is an attempt to break that silence. I want to shine light on what is happening to my family because every day that goes by without screaming that something is very wrong is one more day I scream on the inside all alone. Trying to live life as if everything is okay is getting harder and harder. I can no longer gloss over the fact that I'm overwhelmed by terrifying fear, anger, and deep sadness. I see this ship sinking, and all I can do is wave my two little hands in this vast ocean.

I will cut to the chase. For over the past 2 years, my family has been stalked, harassed, and terrorized by an organized group of individuals. This is not a conclusion we came to willingly, as it would be much easier for us to believe that nothing was happening and to try to move on with our daily routines. All of us as a family have witnessed the reality of the crimes committed against us and the crimes are so heinous and so pervasive, that it is impossible for one day to go by without having to face that we are targets of a massive, vicious assault on our very lives.

One of the first things people say is usually, "What are the police doing about this?" or "How is it that this has been able to go on for so long?" My answers to these questions are probably not satisfying, but the police have had these events brought to their attention, and we have been blamed with implied mental illness and "case closed..." put in our file. “An inside job.” Feeling not only abandoned, but blamed in the process has been victimization in and of itself, but we are still hoping and working for a breakthrough. As for how the harassment has been allowed to continue-- it's a green light for criminals when the police turn away. We have no professional protection, no cover.

This assault first began, to our knowledge, as a series of robberies committed by caregivers that my mom and grandma employed for 7 months to take care of my grandpa while he was dying. Once my grandma broke her hip, there was no one left in the house to supervise the caregivers, and on an emergency basis, they brought in one of their relatives at the last minute to "help." My grandpa was drugged by the caregiver(s) and the entire apartment was searched, with a great deal taken. Things went to a whole new level that day in July 2005. Everything in their apartment was fair game including house keys, bills, bank statements, and jewelry. My grandma lost a great deal and all of her identification and financial information was left exposed, some of it taken or left in disarray. The woman who had been caught owned up to taking very little of what she'd actually stolen, and her statement was full of blatant lies, saying she had only “snooped.” She herself turned out to have a criminal background, as well as criminal associations, but the other caregivers were never thoroughly questioned or charged. I found out later that she was released, making restitution of only a tiny, insignificant sum of cash, and never held responsible for drugging my grandpa. To make matters worse, items like clothing, medications, and kitchen supplies disappeared a little bit at a time while my grandma was in the hospital for her hip surgery.

9 months later...

My grandpa had passed away and we were moving on with our lives after my grandma’s series of robberies. The day we submitted our police statement about my grandma’s thefts, my dad had his headlight smashed in while his car was parked in front of our house, but we brushed that off as one-time, unrelated vandalism.

Then the day came for my graduation defense of my thesis. For a year I had been almost completely homebound by my illness, having only graduated by writing my thesis from bed. After having been home for many months, this was our first family outing for any extended period of time. While we were gone, our home was burglarized. We came home to an unlocked front door, later discovering many missing and damaged items including car keys, credit cards, financial and medical papers, clothes, and many other oddities, like half-emptied lotion bottles and damaged photographs. The most upsetting part of the incident was finding my grandmother's previously stolen jewelry planted in our basement.

So the set-up began to make it appear as if our family was not credible and that we didn't know what we were talking about. My take on it was skeptical at first. Who would bother with a family like ours? Who would have so much time on their hands to research us and plan this attack? I didn't know what to make of it. I did know, however, that there were things missing from both my grandma's apartment and our house. I was the one who had personally discovered the initial robbery. Yet none of it seemed to make sense.

We, of course, reported all of this to the police immediately, and nothing was done about it.

Over the next several weeks, we had more distressing events. My mom and I were home alone together one Friday afternoon, and all of a sudden, we both heard the unmistakable sound of our front door opening and then shutting. Alarmed, we both jumped up and ran out into the main room, only for the sickening realization to sink in-- someone else had been hiding in there with us, or was now hiding. I called my dad panicked, but there was nothing else I knew to do. He came home and searched our small condo, but no one was found.

Countless more upsetting events followed. My mom found her closet torn apart one day after returning from errands. She discovered a hunting knife in with her clothing. Her belts and shoes had been cut.

We would sometimes awake to hear loud bangs and crashes in our home. Checking the garage and basement would yield fruitless searches time after time, though we later found the tall packing boxes from our old house had had all of the clothes removed, leaving anyone a human-sized place to hide.

My mom's car alarm went off in the middle of the night. We heard a cell phone ringing while lying in bed one morning, but it wasn’t one of ours.

Repeatedly our garbage can lid would always be found in the middle of the street, even when there was no wind and all the other cans on the street were fine.

There was also increased traffic on our quiet cul-de-sac. Run down cars with one headlight, and missing hubcaps would race down the street at odd hours. Our neighbors even called to report suspicious people parked on the street. We suddenly had an unusual car parked constantly near our house. When we would write down the plate numbers, the papers with the info would later disappear.

This was what was happening at my house. As my panic level rose, so did my denial to combat it. I did not want to face the fact that we were having harassment, home intrusions, and that no one was able/willing to stop it. It seemed surreal that every time we tried to get help, things would get even worse. We had trouble finding people to be straightforward with us. Our first attempt at getting a security system ended badly. We were given a “substitute” installer who installed the system improperly, tried to get our code from us, and lied to us about not being able to change the code once we’d set it. When contacted by the police, the reputable security company we thought we’d hired had no record of us ever having our system installed. Yet no one followed up.

If you think all this sounds weird, outrageous, and crazy, it was. It continued to build from there, though. These bad things continued to happen-- the loud crashes and bangs at night-- things getting knocked over at night, but not finding who did it-- setting down papers, and then coming back later to find them missing. Were we ALL going crazy at the same time? That's what it felt like at first.

We were followed when driving at night, lights being flashed at us, cars waiting for us, pulling out in front and behind us all along a quiet country route, being tailed when there were no other cars on the road.

After a few months of these events and my father’s day gift being stolen before I’d even given it, I was forced to abandon my denial. We were getting a message sent to us that nothing of ours was safe. Not our stuff, not our house, not even our bodies while we slept. The nightmare of my life was just beginning, and I have to tell you here that it just got worse-- a lot worse. This was April of 2006. It's now April of 2008. And evil unchecked has grown into a monster whose tentacles have wrapped around my family, squeezing the life out of all of us.

I ask God where he is in all this and why this is happening. I rage at him, give him the silent treatment, cry, beg, plead, reason, avoid or cling to him, but through my ups and downs, I’ve heard back only one recurring theme—that I must wait and trust. My faith is paper thin, but still it remains.

1 comment:

Melanie said...

Praying that your paper think faith - though worn thin and transparent, will non the less, never break!

And praying that 2 years does NOT turn into 3.

Seriously praying!