Two years after the death of my Stepmother I found myself weeping with joy. She’s gone. She’s really really gone. The woman who left my half sister in a bathtub face down (and I had to revive with CPR) and then punched me in the face for telling her that she had nearly killed her own little girl is never going to hurt me again.
You can get mad at me if you want for being happy over someone’s death, but if you are, perhaps you’ve never been hurt and abused by someone to the point I was. I’ll share some of my memories of her since I’m sure that my half-sister will be telling the world how sad she is that the mommy who nearly killed her on repeated occasions is finally out of this world.
Lets start with the basics. My stepmother was an abusive alcoholic who made me run away from home when I was fifteen. She abused my real mother and smeared her name and did everything she could to hurt the woman whose husband she had stolen. She had her daughter taken away from her repeatedly after I left home. One time for going on a drunken bender and leaving her daughter naked and screaming behind the toilet until the post lady called the police when she heard the little girl crying.
That little girl grew into my half-sister. My half-sister damn well knew what her mother was like. Katy would routinely call her mother up when she was living and yell and scream at her for how she acted when she was drunk. She even warned our dad not to sleep with her sainted mother because she was worried he would get an STD because Judy slept around so much.
Now that her mother is dead though… my goodness, her mother was the most amazing person in the world. Let no one ever speak ill of her mother at the risk of angering Katy.
Well Katy, your mom was no saint. She hurt you for years after I ran away and I understand that you can’t face it. But it’s the truth. She was a bad human being and I know she was a hell of a lot better to you than she was to me but to celebrate her as a human being is a fraud. You can remember the good times she gave you, and unlike me I know she gave my sister some good times, but you DO have to acknowledge the evil she did in the world and in your life. You have to acknowledge the damage she did to you.
My dad stayed with Judy because when Katy was a little girl she saw an old woman crawling into a dumpster and she said, ‘Daddy, is mommy going to end up like that?’ and my dad felt so bad that he swore that he would never let that happen to Judy. It was a promise that my dad claimed to have deeply and heartily regretted.
I had never knowingly seen ANYONE drunk before my stepmother. I remember when she was about three months pregnant with my half-sister, my dad getting a phone call. He cursed and told me to watch my brother. He came home about an hour later and opened the door. He said, ‘You go upstairs and you shut the door and don’t look out. You keep that door shut until morning.’ His voice was rough and angry. Without a question I fled upstairs and tucked my sleepy brother into bed.
But I was a curious little thing and while I had been obedient to a fault until the divorce my parents had lost a lot of credibility since then. So, I crept out to the stairwell and peeked around the corner. My dad opened the door with a kick of his boot and carried in a figure that at first I couldn’t make out. All I could see were stiletto heels, black nylons and an animal print mini skirt. He swung around to shut the door and I saw my stepmother’s face lolling in his arms and laughing while my father cursed at the door and her drunken giggles.
That probably explains why my half-sister doesn’t get this. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is not a kind fate. Judy knew that she was pregnant when this happened. She was so happy and excited that she just had to out out in her ‘guy hunting’ clothes to celebrate. My stepmother had come from a truck stop and jumped into my dad’s truck with him and headed to Mexico. She latched onto him like a leech and never let him go.
Judy went to her father’s funeral and, of course, got wasted. Her family took her to a hotel outside the city limits and left her there with a bottle of whiskey, they called my dad (who was currently having a ‘break’ from her) and told him: If you want her, come and get her but we’re done with her.
This is the thing with Judy’s death in particular that is hard for me to swallow. Her family who was sickened by her behavior and washed their hands of her now talk about how she was a wonderful person and she did ‘so much good’ and that everyone loved her. These are lies. Katy isn’t the only one to posthumously attempt to glorify Judy and I think it’s a natural thing to do, to try to reclaim some good out of a wasted life.
She and my dad fought physically, the police were called, Katy was repeatedly taken away. Judy was put in rehab and came out and got drunk. She was put in the hospital near death again and again and would get drunk again and again. Even at the end she couldn’t easily admit that she had a drinking problem. Her entire life she never got as far as step one: admitting she had a problem.
Occasionally she would gust to an admission. When Katy contacted me and cried about how much she wanted me in her life, my dad and Judy both contacted me with elaborate apologies as well. Judy gave me gifts and a card and I told her the truth: I had lived for years without them and made my own peace with them. I wanted to forgive them all for everything and have a family.
It wasn’t to be.
My forgiveness of Judy sent her into a tailspin. She was convinced that I had forgiven her to mess with her head. She told me that after everything she had done to me that no one could ever forgive someone like her. I told her that she was wrong, I had forgiven her and that she had a chance to start fresh.
Judy responded to my assertion that she was forgiven by drinking. She had asked me to come help her at the second hand store she ran in Dawson and she stopped paying my wages. I told her that I trusted her, that I knew she would pay me as soon as possible. One night, I don’t know if she was drunk or sober, but she started to get more and more agitated about the fact that I had forgiven her. There were customers in the store and she started to yell at me. I went into the back room to try to keep the scene down and texted my husband, ‘Come get me, I’m scared’.
He came running from work in time to see Judy with her hand around my neck and her getting her fist up to punch me. It was just like when I had left home. I had been plunged into a high school nightmare all over again by forgiving her and letting my family back into my life.
Tony, my husband, yelled her name and Judy lowered her fist to her side. He had to confront her face to face to get her to drop her hand from my neck. We made a police report and I had to take Judy to the Employment board to get a portion of the wages she owed me. She was drunk when she talked to the Employment board according to my dad.
What did my dad do during all this? He threw up his hands and said it wasn’t his fault, that if ‘you two want to fight, I’m not getting involved.’
I did not want to fight with Judy. I had wanted to have a family. But despite my dad’s many prolific promises that he would NEVER believe Judy over me again like he had in high school and that he would never let her hurt me again. That was a lie too. They were like a pack of dogs and Judy was the meanest dog and the other dogs fled from her target: me.
More memories: her chasing my little brother and hanging off of the driver’s window while he punched her to get her to let go of his arm as she drunkenly pursued him.
Grabbing the wheel of the car while she laughed and laughed while a semi truck barreled towards us and we skidded on the winter road in the wrong lane of traffic and Katy cried in the back seat.
Her breath stinking of booze while she ‘gave me a makeover’ that made me look like a drunk clown. Her telling me how pretty I looked and looking at myself in the mirror, black eyeliner drawn messily around my eyes, rouge plastered on my cheeks, bright pink lipstick jaggedly applied around my mouth, mascara caking my eyelashes and brushed onto my cheeks.
Her and my dad standing me in front of the mirror and telling me that I was fat and that my thighs had to be able to see daylight between them before I would be given lunches to take to school anymore.
Her chasing me with wolf spiders and laughing like a maniac while I tried to hide from her. Finally, when she ‘fell asleep’, calling my dad who was on a long haul load across the country. I thought she just hated me, that was the first time he told me she was drunk. I didn’t know. You see, I hadn’t been raised around alcoholics, I had been raised in a Christian home where neither of my parents or my living relatives drank.
My dad told me to go look in her closet for some sort of bottle. I went and I found a mason jar full of a clear fluid. I took it back to the phone and told my dad about it.
“Ok,” the sound of the lid unscrewing, the phone tucked between my shoulder and ear, trying not to cry, but I was so scared. I had never seen an adult act like that before!
“What does it smell like?” He asked with baited breath.
“Like something you clean a cut with,” I said, recoiling from the smell.
“I need to tell you something about Judy, she’s very sick. She’s an alcoholic.”
“I’m scared, please come home daddy.”
“She’ll wake up in the morning and be just fine,” he assured me and paused and his next words were muttered. “At least I hope she will be.”
This was my stepmother to me. As an adult, my husband and I invited her and my dad over for thanksgiving and she showed up drunk. She shoveled turkey and potatoes and gravy into her mouth with her hands and sprayed food over the table when she laughed too hard. My dad hid his head. She forgot her purse and her cellphone at my house she was so drunk. I was so angry that she had ruined Thanksgiving that I looked at her cellphone and saw everything she and my half sister said: mostly gossip and vitriol about me and Tony. How they hated us for being ‘the good ones.’
You can judge me how you wanted for looking at her cellphone, I’m glad I did because she was a good liar and finding out how much she and Katy hated me was good to know. It protected me from further harm and that was one of the last times I ever saw Judy. I don’t pretend to be perfect, I defended myself as best I could. I did things to protect myself the year before I ran away as well.
Judy sitting on my dad’s lap during the Canada Day BBQ, dressed in a flimsy nighty she moved her head to block my every word to him. She put food in his mouth and called him, ‘Daddy’ and smirked at me.
Her sitting outside of my house with her truck idling for hours on end. Her phoning my landlords, anyone she could think of and telling stories about me. Making up emergencies to force people to give her my forwarding address so that she could continue stalking and harassing me.
This was my stepmother to the world: passing out in the secondhand store on one of the beds drunk while people came in and out and left money on the counter for her for when she woke up again.
The doctors and nurses saying: There’s nothing we can do, she doesn’t want help. She’s going to die if she doesn’t stop and that’s all there is to it.
Being picked up in a snowbank where she died, in the end, no different despite all the enabling my dad and my half sister did as the woman climbing out of the garbage bin. She died on the street, alone and cold and disoriented and drunk. She died the way she lived and no self congratulating lie after her death will ever make her life any better than what it was.
There is no shame in being relieved, even euphoric when someone who harassed, abused and did everything in her power dies. She was, in everything she did to me, the most wicked witch that ever was. People can deny what she was, but there is extensive documentation of police reports, social services report, orders for her to seek therapy, more and more police reports. I have documented evidence of her crimes, no one has documented proof of her being a good person, only wishful memories of what they wanted her to be. I understand, I did the same thing when I forgave her. The difference is that I never ever ever forgot the horrible things she had done to me. People don’t realize that forgiving is far different from forgetting.
Ding dong the witch is dead. Thank God, I won’t ever see her again.