Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


I went through recent posts and deleted specific references to what Steve has been accused of.  I would really hate for my blog to somehow hurt him.  I think it probably is possible to follow through this and figure it out and I think most readers have read it, but I also think to some extent at least it doesn't matter what he is accused of.  (Remember right now he isn't even charged with anything.  He is as free and you and me).

 So if you happen to look back and see changes that is why. I'll figure out how to handle it as we go through this.

Copyright 2006 www.masterofirony.blogspot.com

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Not Me

I have a few good things going on.  I will be moving into my apartment Thursday.  It's not all done but it is close enough.  I fell down stairs last week holding my laptop and smacked myself in the mouth.  It broke a tooth by hitting it exactly at the right angle to hit a weaker spot.  But it only needs a filling, not a root canal.  Dr. Mind released me from medication supervision because we agreed that I am handling so much medication right now that there just isn't any point.  It's been 2 1/2 years since I just got the vials out and filled the pill box. 

I sent a card to my brother last week.  This week I was thinking about sending him some information about a way to earn some money online, until I realized it could be a temptation for alcohol.  It's part of the rapid changes that I'm going through with being furious with him and not wanting anything to change.  Sometimes I get it in my head that if I pretend nothing has changed that maybe this will be a nightmare.  Dr. Mind asked why I am wanting to reach out when I've clearly said numerous times that isn't what I want.  I have a whole thing about knowing that just because you disconnect from family doesn't mean you don't hurt.  But the truth is that I  don't want to be part of his punishment.

I never thought about that before, that when someone commits a crime and especially if they go to jail (which may or may not happen; innocent until proven guilty) part of the societal punishment is that they are separated from the people they care about.  I guess that sounds simple enough, but I didn't think of how much it would change a family.  And as I bounce between different emotions about my brother I either am glad that this is the way it is or I am hurt that the legal system hurts me even though I didn't do anything wrong or I am afraid that if I don't try to stay connected that I will lose all connection forever and I don't know if that is what I want.  Mostly though I don't want to be a pawn in the process of punishment.  I want to decide for myself what relationship there is and if he is incarcerated a lot of that is otu of my control.  Not just because of my fear of visiting jail, but because I'm only allowed for so many minutes on 2 days per week, I can only bring white socks or white underwear, etc.And letting them decide this is what the relationship amounts to means that I AM a pawn and I'm not ready for that.

I don't know what to do with this.  It's another place that I feel shattered and have no idea how I will feel tomorrow.  But I need at some point to figure this out and it is so hard.

I wish I'd never had a chance to find out how hard this is.  When it happened before and my uncle was arrested I was only 9 or 10 and I didn't understand.  This time I understand a lot more, especially because I know what happened with my favorite uncle; he lost all of his family and ties to home because it wasn't safe. 

So hard.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The first holiday

Today was the first holiday where one family member was purposefully excluded.  Honestly it didn't feel that weird because it is often my sister's family, my mom and I.  Last year though my brother was there and so that felt different.  My mom met him for a little bit yesterday and was really stressed by it.  She makes it look like it is easy for her to maintain a relationship and now I know it is very hard. I know mother's day will be MUCH worse though.  I dread it much more than I dreaded this one.   I dread vacation next month even more.  It wouldn't be bad if he hadn't been supposed to be there but he was.

Tonight my reaction was to want to sent him a couple pictures of the girls, just because that would be relatively normal.  I didn't, of course, but I almost did.

I nearly arrived in tears.  Just as I got close my iPod started playing a song that is great for Easter but not for me today.  It is from the perspective of the thieves who were hung with Jesus and is about how their lives got so off track.  Not ready for that one.  As far as tears go music is a hot spot for me.

Anne never mentioned it.  I was a little surprised by that but she was busy and he hasn't been a major player in her life.  I am not sure when she'll really notice he is gone.  She's been told but she'll have to see it herself.

So I now have a minor psychotropic sunburn (can't believe I never thought of sunscreen, I am always so good with that) and a tooth that needs immediate dental care (either I developed a huge cavity with no warning a clear xray 5 months ago in a few days time or I injured my tooth when I fell down the stairs, possibly with a smack from my laptop.  Regardless I am either going to be embarrassed if this huge cavity developed with my noticing (it's in a front tooth and if I missed it then one wonders if I ever look at my teeth, but I do...) or I am afraid of needing a root canal if it is injured and dying.  I really hope to get in tomorrow.  It will undoubtedly mess up my Dr Mind appointment but this week is full of appointments so something has to give.

Otherwise, one rough day down.  Many, many more to go.  It will be good when I can approach a "big day" (or a regular day) without the constant feeling of dread that follows me everywhere now.  Somehow I suspect that is a long time off since this won't be resolved for a long time.

One thing I am so glad of is that I had already told people from high school that I wouldn't be attending our reunion.  Guessing from the lack of any communication either they took me really seriously and didn't give me a chance to change my mind or the person or organizes them is ignoring me.  She and I don't get along so well and she tends to leave me out of things that I should be invited to.  Which is fine since I have no desire to do those things anyway, but I do wonder if I ever will be invited to any alumni function, ever.  But back to my point, the reunion would be bad because of gossip that I am not ready to face, especially the kind where people whisper behind your back just enough that you are aware.

Anyway, I came home and fell asleep on the couch, dreaming that I had passed out drunk in a public bathroom (I think b/c of how I had my head wedged under the cushions of the couch).  I've never been drunk so that part is odd but whatever.  I'm going to work on getting to sleep again now that I'm pretty sure the puppy is out for the night.  He ran and jumped and swam and ran and jumped and swam at my sister's and he's exhausted.  Huge blessing.

Semantics mean so much

One of the more difficult issues we have right now is that it is hard to define a sex offender.  I mean I know what it means, but it is hard to say whether or not all sex offenders are created equal. 

There is a lot that goes into this debate.  The way that the federal sentencing guidelines are set up it is actually common to get a longer sentence for child p*^n than for sexual assault.  That, I agree, is unfair.

But to me I can't feel that paying into the system that creates a market for children to be molested on camera is different than molesting them personally.  My mom disagrees.  I think I have so much empathy for the victims that it is hard to not care too much about the perpetrators.  Yet I care very much for one perpetrator and I wish that I could help him or at least think differently of him.  I wish I could feel ok about thinking that he wasn't as bad as other offenders.  But I do.  I haven't figured out yet if this is just because of my own past or if it is how I feel.  Dr. Mind has agreed with me but I'm not sure he would disagree if I went the other way right now.  I change what I think so often. 

So much changes in how I feel.  I sent that card and I'm glad I did.  It made him happy.  I have more and I'll keep sending them periodically.  He told my mom that he hoped someday I could see him.  I think I hope that too but I just don't see it happening.  My mom saw him today and she was not in good shape before or after.

I really want to feel like I understand this. But I'm restricted in what I am allowed to read by Dr. Mind for fear of having a terrible PTSD attack.  I don't even think that a book would help, if there were one, because it is too specific.

This is just......well, take one of the gentlest people you know and in 1 minute change that picture to one of the most despicable.  Or the most despicable actions, you will tell yourself because surely he isn't that bad of a person.  Begin to fear that people will figure out that you are related and know that some people will figure it out anyway.  Feel bad that you feel this shame but at the same time recognize you are living on anxiety meds because you are hurting so badly.  Be warned that if you are subpoenaed to testify at trial that your psychiatric issues maybe can get you out of it.  Begin to live in fear that you would be called, knowing that if your brother allowed that you would resent him even more.  Wake up every morning and have to remember again.  It is so hard and so strange; it is so far from what you ever expect.

And yet life goes on.  My apartment is pretty much ready to move in.  I hopefully will get a surgery date with this orthopedist I see Wednesday.  Tomorrow I should get to see my nieces.  And we have discovered that when nothing else gets me to sleep valium will.  It's not a good longterm drug but it is great for now because I usually have no idea what I dreamed and I wake up feeling good after 8 or 9 hours. 

And it is time for that to work now.....

Friday, April 18, 2014

Today I am angry

I saw Dr. Mind today and got rid of the guilt I've been feeling, I think because I didn't know what else to feel.  This time I asked some questions about various things.  Each time I see him he is preparing me that my brother probably either was sexually abused or was exposed to sexual abuse as a child in some way.  I have trouble accepting this; I'm not really sure why yet.  Actually I do know part of it; at this stage anything that makes him look less guilty is going to be brought out in court.  And so with a family with a history of sexual abuse as rich as ours he'd be stupid to not claim it.  And if I have to hear that I would like to trust it.  Yet I am not going to trust many things presented as evidence that is supposed to make him less guilty.  I can think of other things that they might as well bring up; he was in a severe car accident when he was a teenager.  So although he had no head injury that doesn't stop them from implying that he did.  Who'd know?  In trying to save him everything will be used and while I know that is the way it works it bothers me when it isn't something that is known before the need for excuses began.

I especially have trouble with the sexual abuse thing.  Partly I think this is because he never spoke up about it if it happened.  I know people don't always remember or choose to share but I also know the conversations we've had where he specifically denied it.   I know this doesn't mean it didn't happen.  In our family it was more likely than not. But mostly it is because I know that it happened to me and so I got help.  Lots of it.  And when just talking didn't work I did intensive PTSD treatment. When the usual 12 weeks of one session per week turned into 36 weeks of 2 sessions per week because it was so hard for me I still did it.  And I did it because I couldn't function as an adult without that treatment.  No matter what happens to you, once you are an adult you are responsible for dealing with it.  I don't know if I would have bipolar if nothing bad had ever happened to me.  But because something did probably contribute to it that doesn't mean I am not responsible for how i handle my bipolar.  I can't not take meds or see my doctors and then says it isn't my fault because I was abused.  If you don't take responsibility for yourself because of something that happened in the past and then you choose to behave in ways that are harmful to children then it is hard for me to find sympathy for you, even when you are someone I love and when I know a great deal about what abuse you may have faced.

Naturally once the trial part of this comes I can't have these opinions.  Chances are good that this kind of thing might make a difference between a relatively short jail sentence (say 10 years) and a much longer one that would be essentially life for my brother (20 plus years would make him pretty old before he was released).

This is why I'm asking Dr. Mind questions about the trial now when it is pretty distant.  I think it will be many months or even a year or two away.  Normally in these cases (please know I'm usinig "these cases" so that I don't have to type words that might attract people I don't want around here) they come with a search warrant and take your computers, drives, etc.  They search for paper copies, etc.  But you are usually not arrested for several months or sometimes a year or more while they search your computers and go through your things.  I think my brother angered the task force.  He eluded capture for a long time that he was on their radar.  And I think that in a bid for exacting extra punishment they did things a completely different way.  He was arrested when they came with the search warrant.  Only one computer was taken.  He was arrested on municipal charges then when he was arraigned they dropped those charges and leaked it to the press.  So at this point my brother is not charged with anything at all but the media has gotten his picture around as well as his name, he lost his job, etc.  They say he'll be indicted by a grand jury but if his computer takes the usual months to analyze (they go through all files and then retrieve all deleted files as well and then they have to organize it into how he is charged) then he will have lost months of his life sitting there waiting.  It's a sort of legal torture I think.  And while I do not feel sorry for him because he caused this I do feel bad for him living a very restricted life for potentially a very long time while all he can do is wait, even though he isn't even charged with anything. Innocent until proven guilty and all that.

Anyway, I started writing this last night and then my ankle gave out once again and I fell down the stairs and never got back to it.  I have lots more to say but since I think I may have broken something (it feels like it crunches when I step down unless my brace is on which will be all the time until I see the orthopedist the week) and this series of injuries is proving that I need to be very careful and limited in what I do until it is fixed, which gives me lots of time to think.  Just what I needed............

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Becoming who I am now

I am the sister of an (alleged) perpetrator of an ugly crime. This says nothing about me and yet it came rushing into my world like a flood and has transformed everything I know.  When you find out that the police have reason to believe that someone you thought was kind and gentle and safe is a monster you find that it is hard to understand the world in the way you thought you did before. 

The last 2 weeks (and I can't believe that tomorrow it will BE two weeks that we have lived with this) have contained a lot of hard lessons.  I am still shocked enough that I spend a lot of time talking about it all again and again.  I'm not ready to move on yet and the way the process goes that's just as well because we just don't know what happens next.  I've found that I have learned a lot about my own past and the past of my family through this new pain.  Yet the most confusing part of it all is that  see the people who hurt me when I was young as evil and it is very hard to see that same evil in my brother.  Yet they say it is there.

I have felt so much guilt because I can't reach out to him.  When he goes to jail I will not feel safe visiting because a place full of sex offenders is one of my greatest nightmares.  However it is entirely possible that I may never see him outside of jail again either.  I can't call him; the thought makes me sick.  And so after a lot of thought I decided to see a "thinking of you" greeting card, signed with only my name.

Did you know they don't make those for a target audience of someone waiting to go to trial on a heinous crime?  In the card aisle today it felt like they had cards for everything but "thinking of you while you wait for trial and a probably long jail sentence".  Even most of the blank cards weren't appropriate.  I don't want a message about how much I care or support him.  I don't want to re-establish our friendship.  Even sending a picture of a cat seems kind of mean since I'm going take his cats soon.

It took seemingly forever to find 3 sort of ok cards, all blank.  I scrawled 3 words and my name on one and tossed it in the mail.  I am glad I was able to do this; I needed to feel that I could reach out somehow.  I learned from evicting my father from my life (something that had to be done and which I am not sorry I did) that you can't ever really get completely away from a family member.  At least I'm not built that way.  I am sure that more and more anger and a period of hatred are coming and I think those things are normal and ok.  But I also need to know that I can show some grace and understand that this is not my shame.  If I can make 3 minutes of the agony he is living with while waiting endlessly and living practically under house just waiting for the indictment.  Someday I'll feel the same about jail. 

I will admit though that it was much easier when I was about 7 and he went to college and I would save up quarters and mail them to him wrapped in toilet paper so he could buy Mountain Dew.

Monday, April 14, 2014


It turns out that having a sibling who is likely to go to jail for a long time for a crime you find particularly horrific is a really difficult thing to balance.  See, I love Steve.  I can't say we are close but we did chat on facebook pretty frequently and got along pretty well.  (Although the last time I saw hi in person I yelled at him for yelling at me...great memory).  We just don't have a lot in common.

From the minute I heard what he was charged with I knew I might never be able to see him again.  In fact my mom had written it down and handed it to me on a notepad which I threw across the room.  Because the simple truth is that he could have murdered someone and I'd find it easier to cope with.

Yet as time passes I want to be able to be more than I can be.  I want him to know that while I am devastated and hurt and angry I do still care.  I have had all sorts of ideas about how to show that and none really work.  

One problem is that there is pressure from my mom, who is so sad about how alone he is now.  She is being a mama bear and while it was understandable that I couldn't handle this a week ago that's not true now.  She isn't purposefully pressuring me but I can tell what she wants and what she thinks about my inability to just pick up the phone.

Another problem is that right now I am hearing a lot from my mother's reports about how Steve is feeling.   And while he is very upset and lonely and aware that he destroyed his life I have yet to hear some of the feelings that would make me feel better, that showed he knows why it was wrong.  This doesn't mean he hasn't said it but it isn't being reported back to me.  Which makes me think that he hasn't developed the insight to feel bad about what he did (allegedly?  we don't use that word much but I should because we really don't know and without knowing the charges even he doesn't know what he did or didn't do) as much as he just feels bad that he hurt himself.

Dr. Mind and Dr. Brain say that contact is up to me.  I had thought that I would have this time just before his trial that I could see him.  But the way this is happening that may not happen.  I can't see myself being able to handle a visit to jail with all the sex offenders there.

Tonight I want to send him a card.  But I can't figure out how to send a card that says that I love him because he is my brother, that I miss him and always will, that I'll try to continue sending cards but that this in no way implies that I support what he did or that I can even forgive him for it at this point and that our relationship is different from here on out.  One thing that is so important to me that he know but which seems so stupid is that he has always called me his own little variation on my name.  I will vomit if I ever hear that name again.  It's the same as him touching me; it will make me ill.  Someday I'll talk to him again. I believe that.  But what to do now is a tangle of guilt, need, pressure, anger at myself that I can't make it all disappear, etc.

I wish there were a timeline that we had some knowledge of.  The word is that he'll be arrested again when the grand jury indicts him.  But we don't know when the grand jury meets, how long it will take to do whatever they do, or even when they'll start to meet.  The computer analysis can take a long time from what I've read.  And they have to have done that to know what to charge and how many counts.

I know things I never wanted to.  I'm not allowed to look things up and I've done reasonable well at that but it is impossible to go through this without learning things that you never wanted to know or think about.

At least now it is time for my valium and in about an hour I'll be sound asleep.  Sound asleep is my favorite thing right now because valium prevents the dreams and I just sleep.  I hate that I'm on valium but Dr. Brain says that it if works when so little else will that she's happy to use it and we'll just wean off when the time comes.  Which made me feel better but it's a little scary to know that I can't miss a dose or I'll go into withdrawls.  The same is true for klonopin because I'm taking so much of it.  But ultimately getting some rest and not being so anxious I'm climbing walls is a good thing.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sweet Meds

This is a particularly hard time for, as the most recent posts have noted.  Sleep was bad before and I was expecting to go to even more Seroquel or start a new anti-psychotic today.  But with the things that have happened anxiety is the key issue and so we are just treating anxiety.

I have been on fairly large doses of anxiety meds for years.  Mostly I took 2 mg of Klonopin at bedtime and then could take 1 (used to be 2) mg as needed during the day.  For the past few years I rarely used that extra one.  However as soon as the events of 4/4/14 hit I knew that I needed more than that.  The first clue was that I hadn't been able to sleep and had taken a day's worth of PRN 30 minutes before the call came at 5:00 AM and there was no way I would make it without help.

I asked for valium as it is something I've tolerated really well in the past and never had tolerance issues.  There aren't a lot of other options so that is what I was given.  It hasn't worked all that well, unfortunately.  I take it and 3-4 hours later sleep.  It should work much faster than that.   It works better if I time it so that it is closer to not only my bedtime meds but also my evening anxiety meds, but that means putting the afternoon dose of klonopin off which isn't easy.  I've been trying to not take it until midnight or so because I want to fall asleep without it if I can. 

I saw Dr. Brain today.  I wasn't sure if she'd let me continue with it.  Instead she said that she is ok with my using this for several months if it helps me get through the next things that will be happening.  So I'm on a bigger dose now and will keep taking that about midnight (3 hours after bedtime meds) with it hopefully working faster and wearing off faster too since I start my days pretty groggy.  It's a little weird to think that I'm on daily valium but it is the best choice so I'm doing it.  I just have to be sure to take it and not try to stop without tapering it under Dr. Brain's care since I'll be pretty tolerant to it with time.  If I wind up hospitalized I know the first thing that will go, but I intend to stay out of there.  This is so hard that it is hard not imagine winding up there but I'm doing ok for now and I think that's good.  Today I only cried randomly abut 5 times while driving.  It's amazing how many reminders are out there.  The worst was the prisoners on work detail picking up trash and the thought this could be the only way my brother sees sunshine, grass and trees and hears a car whiz by his face for many years, if he is fortunate to get to do that. 

This still just is as hard as anything I have faced.   Everything feels more stressful; money, almost moving today(and then the Ikea couch cover was an Ikea loveseat cover and I can't move the cats in until the cover is on or they might tear it so I have to wait for that to come), acquiring things I didn't really think about needed until now, etc.  We are supposed to go on vacation a few weeks.  I don't want to.  Mostly I don't want to spend money but I also don't want to go through the first big thing without my brother.

One day I'll make a list of things that would be easier. 

Just a thought

This little bit of an interview with Stephen Colbert is, I think, rather much like what it feels like to be my brother Steve (not his real name) right now.  From my perspective I am learning what a gift it is to be able to love and what a painful thing it is when you are no longer able to love someone as freely as you want to. 

Anyway, Stephen describes "Steve's" lesson:


Friday, April 11, 2014


I don't have television when I'm on my own so if I can't stream it I don't watch it.  Here at my mom's I watch the news and she often puts on what counts as local news for us.  (We're so far from a city that a lot of the local news is fairly meaningless).  When I'm here by myself I only watch the national news, if that. 

Yesterday my brother (we have got to start calling him something......he is now my brother Steve, a name that took me 5 minutes to come up with that has no relationship to anyone in my life or family at all) was a lead story on the news.  I didn't happen to watch the local news (thank God because the clip was pretty hard to handle) before I got a call that someone had seen it.  Thankfully it was someone who already knew.  I found out more about how Steve allegedly committed this crime and it hit really hard to realize the extreme lengths he is accused of going to in order to not be caught.  If this happened as the police say he planned very hard for this to happen and eluded arrest for a long time.  Which is just another reason that it is hard.

I think that I can actually safely say at this time that he was charged with (redacted until after trial although I will say that he did not molest a child but created a situation that brings many memories and feelings back up) charges.  At this point he is waiting for the grand jury to indict and the real charges will be filed.  That day is going to be really hard and we have absolutely no idea when it will be.  Could be Monday, could be months.

Our extended family needed to be told after the news report.  Reactions have varied from a cousin's wife who is now on my list of people to ignore at all times to having someone really understand what I'm going through.  This was surprisingly very good for me because a cousin who was molested as I was had much the same reaction and was up very late talking to me.  It helped to hear her say and feel the same things I have felt.  It's hard to not feel like this was done to me when it was done by someone who knows perfectly well what damage was done to my life by child abuse.  And while he hasn't done that he has created a market for it.  Which is the same thing to me.  But I was up all night last night and it took 2 valium to knock me out for about 4.5 hours.

The report itself was hard to take.  The written part was only somewhat bad; it just made me very angry because it contained information that Steve hadn't shared with my mother after promising to share everything.  (I don't trust him at all but she still sort of does).  But the video was terrible; they adapted his mug shot, where he clearly looks drunk to be a background while they talked about what he did.  It was creepy and it was meant to be.  Thank God that something happened today that was bad enough to knock it off it's place of honor.  I'm also thankful because only 2 people left comments and both were not cruel.  One person just stated he knew him from another employment and he was a normal person with some social quirks (Asperger's per my diagnosis) and the other knew him and commented just disbelief.  The report also made it much more real. 

I keep having surreal conversations.  We have talked several times about the possibility of him killing himself.  To my experienced ear the reports I hear aren't that concerning but there is still so much to happen.  I don't know if he'll be back out on bail after the lengthier charges are filed and I can see that being the risky time.  Right now he's trying to finish loose ends and I think appreciate his last days of freedom for a while, maybe a long while.  If various things happen and there are enough charges that are proven guilty he could theoretically spend the rest of his life in jail.  I don't think that's likely but I didn't think Steve could ever, ever do this either.

We're trying hard to get me into my apartment.  We thought it would be tomorrow but we go the couch partway together (it's from Ikea) and discovered we got a loveseat cover for a full-size sofa.  I was able to order it but the wait time is about 10 days.  That's frustrating because I'd like my cats settled before I get 2 more.  I know that transition will be tough and I really want to reduce the stress involved as much as possible.  But it can't be helped.  The sofa came from Ikea and it's too far to go with schedules as they are right now (see no cities nearby).

I heard Steve's voice today when he talked to my mom on the phone.  It made me sick.  Clearly I'm not ready to see him or talk to him yet.  I keep being afraid he will call here when my mom isn't home and I'll be forced to answer because we have to know when he goes back into jail so we can get the pets and probably other things that I don't know about.  I even took down pictures of him that were hanging with other family pictures outside my room at my mom's.  I couldn't stand to see them.

I really don't know a lot of things.  I'm getting information when I feel like I need it or when it becomes necessary, like the things revealed yesterday.  It is just so overwhelming.  My sister talked to Anne today about not seeing Uncle Steve anymore for a long time.  It sounds like a rough conversation and I'm sure she'll be asking hard questions for a long time.  She has a concept of jail so a little understanding of that part but still, it's rough.

And life goes on in other ways too.  Yesterday I had PT.  I'm really impressed with this place.  They do good therapy and it is very individual compared to my last cookie-cutter, didn't notice my ankle issues PT.  I was pretty sore after I left and so when I walked down an outside staircase my ankle gave out again.  This time I toppled completely over so I have skinned knees and big bruises along with more ankle pain and so now I've missed a day of PT exercises because I'm too sore.  I'll do the stretches still but for at least today I am thinking that PT just made things worse by angering the ankle.  So I've now had 3 sprains in less than a month.

I'm seeming to get sleepy so I need to try to take advantage of that if it is real.  I have Dr. Brain tomorrow and it will be a tough time plus a long day.  Chances are slim that I will get to sleep now but I didn't sleep much last night and I worked really hard all day so perhaps.

More to come in the sad saga of watching a family implode.