My life with my idiot family
Lives are not always perfect, and some take tragic turns even at an early age. When a mother turns a blind eye to her child’s unhappiness and strife the result will cause the child lasting pain not just physical but mental too. S mother who lied about the child’s real father keeping him away and what she hoped at permanent distance. Kathy learned at an early age the definition of survival in many ways. Marrying another man and have twins , her mother tossed her aside and her sisters were not her best friends. With her mother at work and her stepfather who she thought was her real father, she endured the most horrific sexual abuse. No one heard her cries and she was warned to never tell yet when she did tell one person you won’t believe the response. Defending the actions and placing her fingers over her lips , Kathy learned she did not have an ally or someone to defend and help her.
As she creates a mosaic picture of her life, Kathy relates her way of dealing with her situation, hoping to stay at her aunt’s house for a weekend and dreading going Bob’s k home. His nightly visits terrified her and her ingenuity to get money and earn it to go to camp to escape him was temporary. High school brought on a change and finally she rebelled back and said no. When she finally stood up for herself , moved out and then we experience her jobs, her hopes and the changes she incurred we realize all she wanted was her freedom, stability and love.
Mass Mutual seemed to be the one company that she went back and forth to many times. Liberty travel gave her greater mobility for a while and different boyfriends taught her the dangers of dating and commitment. But the one thing that changed her life in a different direction was her sister’s wedding and finally meeting her father and telling him her story. He did not react in the way she thought, or most would but instead introduced her to her new family giving her special roots.
Things take on many turns as the years progress and something within her makes her snap as her sister loses custody of her young daughter and Roxy would face and endure the same fate. No matter how hard she tried to help her and interfere in her favor, she was forced to back off and her mother’s family and her mother refused to allow her to see her niece. When she was in high school, Kathy tried to connect with her, but the result was more lies and roadblocks. Roxy ran away sent to two halfway houses and when her sister went to court to get visitation rights it never happened. But although she tried even her sister wanted her out of her life and she became an easy target fir her family to take advantage of her ignorance.
Kathy wrote letters for years and eventually she was able to speak out and share her story but her goal was to take her stepfather down but the statute of limitations expired and with the help of political figures she tried to have a law passed that would extend it in sexual abuse cases.
Things took in more difficult turns as Gary had to change jobs after 11 years and they realized that children were not in their future.
Becoming an advocate really changes her life and with Gary to support her things started to really fall into place. Politicians and people trying to pass legislation and then receiving a letter that she was getting a special award for her work. That turned her around even more and her self-esteem rose, and she began to realize that staying silent was not the answer to helping so many others who endured what she had to at the hand of her stepfather. The sad part is he was still out there and who knows besides Roxy that he might have inflicted his pedophile charms.
This memoir spans many years as the author tells her story over time so that readers understand what she endured, how she managed to survive and the focus her life took throughout the different time periods. With her Aunt Judi who guided her and took care of her yet did not want her telling her family about what was done to her, and losing her just when she needed more support, Kathy finally started to turn herself around and would no longer allow herself to be the victim.
Throughout the memoir Kathy received mixed messages from her sister Keri who tried to manipulate her into believing she was on her side and wanted to help her against her stepfather. Her mother had her own agenda and even contacted her real father after years and brought pictures and other things that would help her create a scrapbook and of course writing this book. Abusers lie and don’t want to face their accusers. Some even deny what happens Kathy fought for many young children, understand how to plan rallies, speeches and dealt with many organizations and politicians until the Governor signed the one bill that will set in motion protection for anyone that faced what she did. It also extended the statue or limitations and her lawyer was ready to take her stepfather on in court. It took her years of abuse, traumas within her mind, difficulty sleeping and then finally after a sexual abuse scandal that she relates in the Boston diocese of the Catholic church in 2002, she broke her silent. She had told her aunt and her grandmother of the abuse but neither spoke out. It is not just priests but her stepfather that used her for his own pleasure and purposes. For 12 years he fought to raise the age limit increased finally paid off in 2014.when the age for civil prosecution extended to 35 yea5rs after a victim’s 18th birthday or until the age of 53. She has been recognized with several wards including Unsung Heroine and the William Pynchon Award of which she was the only recipient.
Many people along the way came to her aide and she describes the rallies, the events and the friends she made along the way and the trial was quite interesting as her stepfather decided to foolishly defend himself. Her uncle took the stand and you can tell he was nervous but why did he stay silent so long? Her sister Keri spoke out but in favor of the stepfather and then her stepfather testified as she did too. These testimonies and the notes of both authors Gary and Kathy you can read to understand their thinking processes and more. The final verdict will astound readers as in any mystery you want to know if he was found guilty and if she won an award.
This is a compelling story told by the author and you at times can hear Gary’s thoughts and words as Kathy Picard told in story of her life to everyone hoping that no one else would have a similar life as she did having a Life With My Idiot Family. It took true courage, research into sexual child abuse and connecting with many agencies and years to finally have her voice heard by so many.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews