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On August 29th my Vietnam veteran brother died. The last couple of months have been hell on earth for me. This is my second trip up to Greencastle, Indiana. On the first trip I came up with Mike’s daughter, son-in-law and two of the three grandchildren. I walked into a disaster area. I didn’t realize how much pain I was going to suffer. Follow me below the orange squiggle to find out why I am leaving and not coming back.

I was my Mom’s caregiver for six years. We lost her on May 26, 2010. She died in her sleep. I had always said that after Mom went I wanted to move. The two places I was thinking of were Chicago, a town I lived near for six years and loved, or Winston Salem, North Carolina to be near Mike’s daughter and grandchildren.  I had helped to raise Bernadette and she has always called me Mom. She calls her biological mother T.O.M. the other Mom. Eventually Winston Salem won out when I realized what a thriving arts community it had. My plan was to work until I was 65 and when I got Medicare to retire.

I have always known that I never really fit into this small town. I am a proud liberal Democrat. I lived in Illinois when Obama first came on the scene running for Senator. I have always been and will always be a staunch Obama supporter. I am a strong supporter of the LGBT community and equal rights. My life was saved when a gay couple moved me from California to Illinois when I was warned to get out of an abusive marriage before my husband killed me. My brother was a tea party, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News addict. He fit in with this small town mentality.

This little town is a hotbed of tea party nuts. I have heard more prejudice on all fronts. I am part Cherokee and I’ve heard that Native Americans had no right to their land and are nothing but drunkards. I have heard that gays destroyed the image of the rainbow. I have heard that poor people should be allowed to die. I have heard every stereotype against blacks, Hispanics, Orientals, and women that are out there. This town is hatred personified.

I was let go from my job not because I wasn’t good but because I was too good. The old boy’s network couldn’t stand an intelligent woman. Other women in the office hated me because I was an independent woman with a brain. They actively sought for the six years I worked there to have me fired. They lied about me and finally they got their way.

Right after Mike died I walked into the house and it was trashed. Mike had been suffering from deep depression yet no one contacted me so I could come back up and try and help him. The Pastor of his church knew something was wrong but wouldn’t stop by and talk to him and try and help. His so called friends took advantage of him to get money from him for their business. He took money that should have gone to his daughter and squandered it. He was drinking heavily. They didn’t contact me because I would have come up and got the house ready to sell and him down to Winston Salem which is where he wanted to be.

I walked in to a kitchen that had wine spilled everywhere. The cabinets were wall to wall empty wine containers. Nothing had been cleaned since I was there in October of last year. Where he fell in the bathroom and lay for three days with a broken back was wall to wall blood and feces. His room was covered in feces. There was feces on the family room rug. I have scrubbed and cleaned and made sure his daughter never saw that mess. He had depleted the account that was set up to pay for the household bills. I had to take out all of my retirement to keep things going.

Mike’s death certificate was held up because the Marion County Coroner’s Office was not satisfied. They wanted to know why he fell. I am trying to get a copy of their report but from what I’ve heard an incompetent doctor prescribed the wrong medicine for my brother. I have heard of several people who had problems with this doctor but no one will do anything about him because he is a native of this town.

When my Mom died 98% of the sympathy cards were addressed to my brother. I was her caregiver and I was ignored. When Mike died I received zero cards or words of sympathy from anyone in this town except for my two friends and our handyman. No one cared that I was hurting.

I cleaned and went through this house like a tornado getting it ready to sell. Because I couldn’t handle Mike’s affairs until 45 days after his death  I went home for three weeks. I came back up last Monday and have been going like a tornado finishing things up. I have an auctioneer coming next week to move everything out that I want to sell. I have a moving company coming next week to get the few things that are going down to North Carolina moved down there. I have a real estate agent who will have the house up for sale by the end of next week.

This is a Republican town. The Council is Republican. The Mayor is a friend of my Mom’s and a Democrat because no Republican wants the thankless job. The judiciary is owned by the Republicans. The family of the town Judge owns a storage facility that is rat infested. I paid over $7,000.00 in fees and had over a $1,000.00 in damage that I cannot get reimbursed for. A crooked loan company took my brother’s car before we could even try and get the finances worked out. The hospital and their finance group screwed me out of $7,000.00 in retirement by cooking the books to make it looked like I wasn’t vested at all.

This town is rapidly dying. The hospital is mismanaged and will not survive. The industry that was here had dried up and closed their doors or gone elsewhere. The small town mentality drives people away. The only thing this town had going for it is the University which is primarily known for their partying.

Next Saturday I am leaving for home. It is sad because my Mom, Dad, and oldest brother are buried here but I will never be returning again. This town has caused me too much pain. I don’t regret coming here to take care of my Mom. I was trying to get my brother away from here and down with his only child and grandchildren. If only someone would have called and let me know they suspected there was a problem with Mike I would have been up here in a flash. No one wanted me back because they would have no longer had the soft hearted Mike to deal with. They would have had his spit fire sister.

I’m leaving and never coming back.

Originally posted to michelewln on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 05:16 PM PDT.

Also republished by CareGiving Kos, Street Prophets , The Grieving Room, Personal Storytellers, Military Community Members of Daily Kos, DKos Military Veterans, and Shamrock American Kossacks.

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