Tuesday, October 27, 2009

September 11, 1999

There is so much pressure from everywhere. We are supposed to provide Chelsea with all sorts of things, while they continue to take $280 a month from Marks check. I need to be at work, I need to take care of Chelsea. Once again, my life has been changed forever, and with the exception of having Chelsea, I don't like it much anymore. I just hope that I can somehow learn to adjust. I guess I'll need to adjust to always just boiling under the surface, and to always being afraid that we will lose Chelsea, too. We were forced by the court to send her with Christy and Charles for an overnight visit. I know it was irrational, but I was so afraid that she'd never be back. How horrible will it be when we have to let her go with Megan? I hope that's a long time off.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

September 3, 1999

I got an email from America's Most Wanted today. I am hoping to be informed of current victim's rights bills (if any) sitting in the Senate. It's not going to help our family, but maybe it might help other families in the future. I'd like to write a book about this some day. Maybe knowing this might be a book in the future will keep me from doing anything I would be ashamed to see in print. Atty Paxton says it will be at least October before the child support stops, because it has to be processed through the system.* Once again, our system is taking such good care of us.

* My son was still having child support taken out of his paycheck for his dead daughter and the daughter he now had custody of. Imagine knowing you were still giving money to the person who murdered your child, and no one cared enough to fix it. When he changed jobs and did not provide information about his new job, they issued a non-support warrant.

Monday, October 12, 2009

September 1, 1999

I had to take Chelsea up to visit with Megan today. It was the hardest thing I've done since Bethanie's murder. We have been told that we would not have to have any contact with her, yet there she she was, waiting in the parking lot. She just walked up to us and started talking about Chelsea's schedule, and how her sister Christy had kept her on too strict of a schedule. I was honestly afraid that I would kill her right there in the parking lot. Doesn't she understand that Chelsea's schedule is none of her business? Even if it was, she isn't exactly mother of the year, so why would I listen? I wanted to tell her that I've raised two kids and both of mine are still alive, so I guess I can handle Chelsea's schedule. I can't face her alone again, I am truly afraid I might hurt her, which I would only feel bad about in the legal sense, not in a moral sense. She deserves to be hurt, and it can only be accomplished in a physical way, since she has no emotions. What am I turning into? Could I really kill her? I'm afraid I could, and that horrifies me.

Friday, October 9, 2009

August 31, 1999

Today was the status hearing to discuss plea bargains. We were relived to be notified that the defense has little to work with and the prosecution has a great deal. Even though I'm not sure they've been charged with enough, at least they won't get any less. I would have preferred that Megan be charged with murder, and I would have preferred that Jeff be charged with capital murder. I suppose it wouldn't seem like enough, no matter what. Tomorrow I'm supposed to take Chelsea to see Megan. I am not looking forward to it at all. I hope they won't have us both in the same area, but you can never tell about government agencies. I would like to think they wouldn't put me through that, but then we haven't had a lot of rights so far, especially where Chelsea is concerned. Just the simple that I have to take Chelsea to Akron instead of Megan having to come to our county speaks to how little respect there is for our rights as victims. Megan is the only one who has any rights. I would love to write John Walsh and see what can be done about this in Washington. I don't think I'll sleep much tonight.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

August 27, 1999

A lot has happened that I haven't recorded. On the 24th we went to court for Chelsea's placement hearing. Magistrate Leuke ruled that Chelsea be surrendered to her father as soon as a home visit was done by Summit County DHS. Megan showed up and filed for Christy and Charles to get her, which was a huge surprise to us all, including Christy and Charles. Jeff's parents also filed for custody of Chelsea and Megan's unborn child. None of it mattered in the end. Thank God Sondra Judy (DHS)agreed to come on Thursday and check our home. The whole thing, once again, left me with the feeling we had done something wrong. Sondra came on Thursday and sent an hour talking to us at our home, and then about 10 minutes at Mark and Angie's. I can't believe we waited five weeks for that. She said we could pick Chelsea up next Thursday, but Charles asked for one more night. We agreed to pick her up on Friday. She finally arrived this evening. What a joy! Each step in this process has been laborious and painful. This is a huge and wonderful step, but I don't think any of us will relax until the final hearing on the 30th. Attorney Paxton said that Megan could get probation, so we need to have custody before her hearing on October 4th, just in case. I feel like we are living on the edge, always wondering when the next surprise will come. For now I will just take comfort in Chelsea.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

August 20, 1999

Things are getting a little better. I don't know if they are really better, if I am just handling it better, or if this is just a lull between storms. I found a social worker to complete the home visits that the court wanted, and it went well. Perhaps it is just simple hope that makes it seem like things are better. It is the day before Mark and Angie's wedding and tonight is the rehearsal dinner (at my house). I wish I could get more excited about it. I am going to have a house full of people and I am dreading every minute of it. I'll just be glad when it's time for the wedding tomorrow. I think it will be emotionally difficult, happy for the wedding, sad that Bethanie can't be there. We go to court on Tuesday for Chelsea, but she'll have to miss her father's wedding, thanks again to our legal system. They continue to cause us pain, that same system designed to protect us.

Monday, October 5, 2009

August 15, 1999

We had Chelsea for awhile yesterday. She came to our house for a little bit and then to the squad picnic. We weren't really allowed to bring her to this county but was no place to take her for the entire day. She was so much fun.

It feels like my whole world is not what it used to be, like it's the reverse of what it was and should be. Justice has become an oxymoron. The meaning of the word isn't what I thought it was at all. The true meaning of justice is that victims continue to be victimized by the very system we trusted to protect us. It means we have to feel guilty for bringing Chelsea to our home when we've done nothing wrong. It means Jeff and Megan are provided all of the services and benefits the system has to offer, while we must pay for their crimes both financially and emotionally. It means they have done a horrible deed, yet we are the ones who must prove ourselves worthy of caring for a child that is our own flesh and blood. The people I thought were my friends apparently are not, yet people who were distant have rallied beside us. The world continues on all around me, but I look at it and feel as sense of unreality. I feel as if I am watching a world that I am no longer a part of. I am just an observer of life, watching people who have no idea how quickly it can all be destroyed. I am starting to accept that this distorted world I now live in is my new reality, I just can't seem to adjust to living in it. I'm in a sort of twilight zone, and I cannot get out, but how will I ever learn to live here?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

August 10, 1999

Saw the attorney today. He told us how to proceed toward custody of Chelsea, but none of it sounds as easy as others made it sound. The whole legal system is ludicrous. The criminals have all the rights, and Mark has all the consequences and hoops to jump through. Megan and Jeff's pretrial hearing was today, but I haven't heard any news yet. Part of me doesn't even care anymore, just punish them and leave us alone.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

August 7th, 1999

I haven't written in a few days, but only because I've been too busy. The emotional see-saw continues, although it has lost it's ability to catch me by surprise. I know that seeing children Bethanie's age will hurt me. I know that looking at toys will hurt me, and that the sudden appearance of a Teletubby or dress up jewelry will stab so swiftly that it takes my breath away. I know that seeing children who have been neglected or abused will infuriate me and that I struggle to keep a tight rein on my anger. I know that I am worried about the safety of children to the point of it being an obsession. Worried that if the fall, they will die, instead of just getting the usual skinned knee. I have experienced enough sudden death in my life that I take no one for granted, but since Bethanie's murder, I worry every time one of my own goes out the door or doesn't come home on time. On Tuesday we are seeing an attorney. I'm not sure why we are seeing him, I hope we won't need him for anything. Children's Services has been contacted to set up a home visit, so I guess we will have Chelsea soon. I'm so excited that we will have her for good, it's just a shame that it took this tragedy to bring her to us. Our lives have been forever changed, but Chelsea remains our little ray of sunshine in what has become a very dark world.

Friday, October 2, 2009

August 4th, 1999

Yesterday was Chelsea's 4th birthday. Child Protective Services only gave us a few hours with her but it was wonderful. She looks so much healthier and she is so loving. It was the bright spot in my week.

I have been under so much stress, I decided to cut back to four days a week at work. Today was my first day at home and I got absolutely nothing done. I just feel overwhelmed by daily life. I can't continue like this but I can't seem to even muster up the energy to do anything about it. I can't decide what to do about it. There's just no instruction manual for this. I went to check on Bethanie's memorial fund and found the balance is zero. It hurt. It made me feel like Bethanie doesn't matter. I need to do something, but I don't know what. I tried to do a letter on the computer but it shut down and wouldn't work. My first impulse was to go rent one, but of course, I don't have any money to do that. I don't have any money to do anything. Even if I had the money to rent a computer, there is so much that has to be paid. How can I help Mark and Angie if I can't help myself? I have to, somehow I just have to.

We are planning to go see Jeff Balder next Wednesday. I am disturbed by the whole thing but I think I need to go so I can confront my feelings.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

July 30, 1999

Today wasn't so bad. I wish I could figure out what makes some days terrible and some tolerable. I keep waiting for a good day. I hope it comes soon. Even though I didn't cry today, I still felt the pain of loss more times than I can count. It seems that thoughts of Bethanie and the pain of losing her is always there. Sometimes it just whispers, just loud enough to make sure I know it's there. Then there are those moments I dread, when the pain is violent, ripping my heart wide open. It is at those moments that I am weakest, when I would do anything to stop the pain. It's like an emotional bloodletting that only stops when I've been drained nearly lifeless.