Friday, February 06, 2015

Life, Death and Everything in Between in a Small Town

It's been quite a week. Finding out about my step brother followed by the discovery that his mother had remarried and took out a mortgage on the house my father bought for her and put half in her new husband's name, discovery that she legally changed her name between the death of my father and this new marriage, finding out another cousin is a sex offender who's molested young girls. And people wonder why I left South Louisiana right after I married Jim and never looked back. There is a reason, but even these new happenings surprise me.

But it was last night when the terrible started going down I was already worn out with my thoughts over Frank. Even though I'm not part of Franks day to day live and have been out of touch with him I'm still unset with this entire thing. Frank never had a chance with the way we were raised, as I detailed yesterday. If he had been allowed to receive some real world consequences for his behavior and perhaps therapy and rehab he might not be sitting in jail almost certainly Angola bound right now. But... deep water that's already flowed under that bridge I suppose.

I was trying to distract myself with some pretty terrible programs on television, something about an Amish serial killer followed by something even dumber, chewing gum for the stressed out brain. But I was distracted right around ten pm as I got up to get ready for bed. Three police units, very slowly driving by with lights flashing and sirens hooting as the lead car shined a spotlight on the numbers on the front door posts of houses on my cul de sac street. I watched them go by, and they finally stopped six houses down the street, right in front of my friend Linda's home. Which really made me worry because Linda's son Billy has had his skirmishes with the law since he was sixteen. Billy might be pushing thirty hard now but he still had his moments of drugs and law enforcement.

When I saw that the cars were stopped in front of Linda's I ran to get my coat, gloves, scarf and hat on because it was bitterly cold and if something was wrong with Linda I wanted to see if I might be able to help out, at least get the grandkids out of the way. But when I ran over to Linda's house she was standing on her lawn with other neighbors from our street. She told me that there'd been a shooting at her next door neighbors house. Linda lives right next door and never heard the gunshot. I surely heard nothing because I had the teevee blaring, but the older lady across the street said she heard two gun shots, one before the police showed up and one right after.

Those neighbors no one knows very well. The father works at Wal Mart as one of the managers and the mother teaches. They're very involved with the local fundigelical churches and have three kids...I think. They've lived in that house six years or so, but they've kept almost entirely to themselves, no socializing with any of the neighbors, not even a friendly wave. Just church and family.

I went over to their house several times on HOA business since I sit on the board and talked to the adults in the house. They were not unfriendly or mean, just, sort of oddly disconnected.

They did homeschool the children but I think this year the kids were all in public school. I knew one of their children, a boy of about 13 years old who shoveled our driveway last winter several times. He told my husband he'd been away at 'special school' because he had a problem with anger.

As we watched the father arrived home from Wal Mart and was escorted through the police line and into the house.

Eventually someone was removed on a stretcher and up into the ambulance, taken away with sirens blaring and a several police units as an escort through the lights and town.

I left around eleven pm because it was bitterly cold in the teens plus I was dead tired and finally tried to go to bed, but couldn't sleep between the noise of the running ambulance and noise of people outside. Around three am a body was removed. Turns out that the 13 year old boy who'd shoveled our driveway and told Jim about his anger problems had shot himself. The child committed suicide.

I heard from a friend living with someone that works at the local funeral home that the child had been being badly bullied at his middle school. Thirteen is such a hard age, no matter what type of family you come from, but to be isolated, socially isolated by homeschooling, or church, or fearful parents makes the problems of adolescence seem overwhelming. That poor kid. Hadn't seen him outside in months.

Now I'm experiencing the part of living in a small Southern town that really sucks, speculation over who went to the hospital. Some are saying that the body bag that was transported to the coroner's office was too big to be the boy. Others say he shot a parent or sibling. I don't know. I do know that our local media that covers the most ridiculous things does not cover the most mysterious happenings, like this, causing the town gossips to come up with their own versions of what happened, versions that read like something out of a particularly stupid Lifetime movie.

The second part of the sucky is that the church I have been attending sent around a prayer request this morning for the family and the usual suspects from the women's group (mostly teachers) have been doing that particularly off-putting ritual I hate that they always do - clucking about how horrible it is on Facebook, some sort of weird grief masturbation over someone they never met before. It's almost like it's a competition to see who can be the saddest publicly. I hate it. This is why I think emailed generic prayer lists are actually not a good thing, because it disseminates bad things in a way that also gets people gossiping.

The ones doing the most over the top Facebook grieving are teachers at this child's school. I want to know where they were when he was being bullied?

There have been scads of folks driving through the neighborhood to leave sympathy cards at the family's front door. The family isn't there, they are up in Fairfax where the child's funeral will be held, likely staying with family. So Linda and I have had a conversation about keeping an eye out on the pile of sympathy cards and flower tributes starting to show up on the family's front steps.

This is why I dislike the idea of guns in homes where there are children. This sort of thing happens, senseless and tragic.

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