Fourteen years of Elle's life she spent half her weeks at Dick's household. Now, all that's left are six neatly packed boxes sitting untouched in Elle's studio. I find Elton John's "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word" song rolling around in my head.
What have I got to do to make you love me
What have I got to do to make you care
What do I do to make you want me
What have I gotta do to be heard
What do I say when it's all over
Sorry seems to be the hardest word
It's sad, its so sad
It's a sad, sad situation
And it's getting more and more absurd
It's sad, so sad
Why can't we talk it over
Oh, it seems to me
That sorry seems to be the hardest word
Two years ago, Elle did what no other adult close to Dick was willing and/or capable of doing; exposing his dangerous behavior, telling him he had a drinking problem, anger problem and demanding he get professional help. If he wasn't sure what that meant she listed specifics. Instead of the adults close to Dick, supporting Elle, joining her in applying pressure on Dick to get the help he so desperately needed they turned on her or worse did nothing.
Malus, called non-stop demanding Elle stop doing this to her and Elle's Dad. How could she throw away the life she had with Malus and Dick over something so minor. She went so far as to call Elle's therapist and blame the entire situation on Elle and teen depression. With each call, I realized how embedded this abusive lifestyle was in their home. Malus had convinced herself that there was nothing wrong with the situation. Of course she new at some level that it was wrong because she tried to cover it up and blame others, ask Elle to keep it a secret. She never once had a second thought of having my child come back into that home. That's when I knew that Dick wasn't going to get help anytime soon. They considered it normal.
Elton John's words "It's a sad, sad situation, What have I got to do to be heard and What do I have to do to make you care" summarize the last two years. The adults couldn't hear what Elle was telling them about Dick. As such it seemed as though they didn't care. After the dust has settled, Elle is safe and moving on with her life, I realize that the reality is more likely that they just couldn't face the horrible truth. Ultimately it's a very sad situation for everyone.
Dick started a new dialogue this week with Elle. I heard you, I do care, it is sad, but I'm working on changing that. He sent this text late last night:
Hi Lis, Elle. You are both very welcome. I am very glad that her prized possessions are in the right hands. Thanks Lis, it is very comforting to me.
I don't know that he is changing his life, I'm assuming, hoping, praying he is. He's been to numb before to see the hurt he has caused Elle, let alone acknowledging her needs. So with these simple, thoughtful gestures this past week, it gives me hope that he's no longer numbing himself with alcohol. I hope that someday he will be able to be able to say to Elle with his words and his actions:
I'm so very sorry! Thanks for giving me the tough love I needed when no one else could! You gave me more love than I was able to give back to you. I hope to change that in the future.