Towards the end of the school year, Imogen passed the Virginia History SOL for 4th grade and we were all really excited because she really struggled with history. I thought a lot about mom and how happy she would have been so I decided to call Bill and tell him. She’d also had a big shift in her pain levels and was feeling a lot better and I wanted him to know that as well. So I did, and we had a nice conversation.
A while later Rita was in town and Bill called and left a message on Francis’ voice mail that basically said that he was calling Francis because I never returned his phone calls and did we want to come and see Rita. This has been an ongoing thing will Bill, telling everyone I don’t answer his calls, and it’s not true, but I just ignored it and called him back and we went over.
Hi Deborah and Charlotte,
I wanted to tell you about my conversation with Bill and also to tell you that I had a realization the other day after I got your email, Charlotte.
I had told Charlotte that two years before she died, Jonathan and I had accidentally found out that mom had been managing our relationship and keeping us at odds by telling us lies and twisted truths about each other. From what I can tell, it went on our entire adult lives.
There are a million examples, but one is that as we were leaving my father’s funeral, my mom came up to me and told me that everything my brother had said during his eulogy about my father was a lie. She then went to my brother and told him I was angry that he’d stood up and lied at our father’s funeral. One time Jonathan was staying at the Homestead and mom and I went up to see him but she told me she didn’t want to stay in that ridiculous place and we were going to get a hotel nearby. She then told Jonathan that I refused to stay at the Homestead and insisted that we get a hotel.
A few days ago, after getting an email from you, Charlotte, I was sitting in my van in the parking lot at Micheals while Sophie and Imi were inside shopping and I thought about all the horrible things I thought about Deborah, and I realized that 99.9% of those things I had not seen myself, but rather had been told by mom. What, I thought, if mom was lying about Deborah?
I’m sure you guys aren’t aware that after you gave that email to Bill, Deborah, I was told by mom that you were basically a Judas and now she was going to act like she hadn’t read it and that I should do my best to keep you away from Bill after she died. She told me, as she had been telling me for more than two years, that Bill liked her weak and dependent. She told me that they had the same issue after the car accident and they’d had numerous arguments about it, one where she screamed in his face that he didn’t want her to get better.
So, all along, I had thought it was you, Deborah, who had hatched this plot against me, and despite how much it would hurt him, you showed him what I had written to you in confidence, with mom’s OK, asking you for help. I assumed that afterward mom was in this horrible position of having to lie about the email while you were then doing all these horrible things. Sitting there in the parking lot, I realized it was probably mom saying horrible things about me, not you. I’m sure she had help, but I’m guessing she wasn’t innocently standing by, a victim of your cruelty.
Then I wondered if she’d been lying to me about Bill. I felt wave after wave of nausea. Bill and I have never gotten along and again, a big part of it is not actually things I’ve seen him do or say, but rather things mom’s told me about him. Mom has told me awful things about Bill since forever, using me as the confidantin her marriage, triangulating me with Bill and my brother.
I thought about this experience I had when I first got to Richmond from New York where I was sitting on the back steps of my parents’ house, I’d only been here a few days an I was out of my mind with despair and trauma. My days were spent not driving to the gun store on Midlothian to buy a gun to kill myself. One of these days mom came out and sat down next to me and said, “You know, Bill doesn’t think you’re grateful enough about that money.”