Jen asks me why the parenthesis around Badamo(?) and I give her part of an answer in words then spend the rest of the day thinking about how inefficient it is to attempt to distill rage, grief, voicelessness into a slim set of punctual marks.
There was a moment (or a million) after I lost my foster daughter (Veronica Celeste Badamo) when I thought, baby mills (they never cared who they were hurting, I was just a care-giver placeholder, God, how much this hurts)…
I was (just) a foster mother. Just a bystander, unless heartbreak were a thing objectively quantifiable.
Not just the way they lied to us.
All the children who got taken.
All the voicelessness
Still just editing:
Went to Gram’s, the window was busted, my brothers in the yard…the cops asked what I wanted to do. Didn’t want to make trouble so I went with him to Florida for a year until my mother had him extradited.
When we came back they got back together!
Later he was in the kitchen washing out a coffee pot and he collapsed. We had a Ouija board on top of the refrigerator. Mom said that was what really killed him.
We waited 45 minutes for the ambulance. Tara tried to give him CPR….
just the (minimalist) editor here-
I miss her.
She’d call me Jennybug. She was sexually abused by her paternal uncle. They made my brother watch. Devastating. Terrible monsters.
My father had been exposed to agent orange in Vietnam. He got cancer. It was bad…before he got sick…he stole me when he was in remission.
My brother had just gotten out of the army reserves and needed socks so we were living at my Pap-pap’s. I was only eight. I had a bad feeling and I begged and begged my mother not to take him to the store.
They left me at the laundromat to get the socks from the store. As soon as they left my dad showed up and took me.
End Part 2
My friend wrote a story– hit me in the gut. Here it is. Not my words, hers:
We used to hide in the closet not knowing if our mom was dead or alive. She had a scholarship but my Pap-pap got sick so we moved in and she hung out with the wrong people.
She wouldn’t go to school because people would make fun of her. Her stepmom used to lock her and my brother in the basement, crack eggs on their heads, beat them…
She raised me, never had a minute without me unless I was with my Grams.
We had a boat. My dad loved her as his own. We three were always on the boat. We used to have to go chop wood and drag it and it was cold.
They were cheap so they used the fireplace, ugh-deer meat! They made us eat deer meat. I refused to eat it. She did dishes, so I would spit it in a cup and she would throw it away for me.
End Part 1
a word we take for granted, bridge between a and b, here and there, our history of words, words on paper, the belief that hereafter matters
Because you were there
Even when I did not hear your voice I took for granted
You were out there somewhere
Waiting for, fighting for,
Happily ever after
When I met Tara she was prettier than me, younger than me, and in most ways far more disenfranchised than me. In fact there was just one area of our briefly conjoined Venn diagram connectedness where the power was ostensibly hers and definitely not mine: she was the real mom to a baby I loved very much. In that (I had been told by at least 2 lawyers) she had the legal edge. She should have been able to designate a capable guardian for her children. The law favored the biological mother. And at that time, at the end of 1998, it gave no credence to the foster mother.
A fact I can accept now, after most of the unbearable losing of Tara’s beautiful child has scarred over.
What I can’t accept is losing Tara