I am blessed to have Natalie in my life, even though, she is not “blood” related like our other grandchildren. Somehow I feel that I was meant for a purpose in her life, especially now. Sometimes I feel responsible for what has happened to her, although in reality I am not. I wonder if her mother feels any responsibility at all? Maybe it is her guilt that prompts her to allow Natalie to still be a part of our lives. That somehow Natalie is her trophy child who can somehow redeem the devious act of jealousy and murderous influence she had over my son. There is a slim chance she even thinks at all. Perhaps it is to get rid of the child, if even for a few days, who is in the way, who is a moody teen, filled with angst over the death of her father, her alcoholic mother, …over her entire situation. Natalie is powerless to do anything but react. I wonder if any of this relieves that guilt M. must certainly have over her involvement in my son’s death. I am not looking for blame or to assign fault to some innocent. I know firsthand how this woman who came in the backdoor to our lives has operated from the very beginning.
This was the day when Natalie was officially made our granddaughter. She was 21 mos. old. Brandon was eager to take on the new role as father but I was always a little concerned that this would be an overwhelming task in his role as a new husband. His only experience with little ones was with his nephews. “The things we do for love.”
Brandon was attentive and serious about being a father to Natalie. At the same time, he was easily frustrated when it came to dealing with the normal misbehavior of a child. He would raise his voice but never his hand. He shared with me that frustration when any of his efforts didn’t work. Time out was always used but we would end up laughing at Natalie who would make the best of the corner by dancing and singing….happy all the time, even in time out.
It was Brandon who was very involved in Natalie’s schooling. It was he who went to teacher/parent conferences alone, who worked diligently with Nat on her homework. Many times I would call Brandon to find out that I had interrupted their homework session. Brandon also assisted in coaching Natalie’s soccer team. Whenever I would babysit Natalie, it was Brandon who would bring her to me. Whatever concerns I may have had about Brandon being a father was soon put to rest. I had more concerns about the natural mother’s mothering skills than I had about Brandon’s ability to be a “step” parent. BTW, we have never used the term “step” in referring to Natalie. I only do it now so that people will understand my son’s and our relationship in Natalie’s life.
We had many good times as a family. The memories are still very vivid. Now, making memories without Brandon is something that is almost unthinkable and yet, I still feel like we should. We have all been scarred by his death, impacted in ways that are still yet to be seen. Smiles have been slow to return and some days we feel guilty for those smiles. The evolution of grief is constant.
Now, a more pensive child has emerged from the smiling, carefree, days of childhood when there was the presence of a loving father and mother. Sadly, it has been the “step” father who has made the most of being a parent and made the most impact with his leaving.
So how could a loving parent recklessly take his/her own life to leave a sweet child to wonder forever WHY or HOW COULD HE? I have satisfied this question with relentlessly seeking answers from all the info I have gathered here on this blog. I have found out that it was never Brandon’s intention to leave as he did…that he suffered a serious emotional disorder, that his ADD could have affected his moods and eventual death, that he could have been murdered or driven to his end by the loveless woman who cheated on him and drank like a fish, that she is a narcissist (thanks M. Mc) who thinks of only herself, that brain chemistry and mental illness can and does affect behavior….brain injury can now be imaged and recognized as the reason for negative behavior. That no one who loves so much and be so caring and sensitive would willfully engage in a death so tragic and stigmatized…to leave a child behind to always wonder and be consumed by anger and sadness. While questions will always be about Brandon, I have never thought, “How COULD he?” Instead I wonder how could SHE? (the mother)