Saturday, October 6, 2012

Elder Abuse

I have given this alot of thought and have finally come to grips with it. It is something that has happened to me personally and now I think it is time to share my story. It has to do with senior abuse. This is quite an ugly subject, it is one that makes a person uncomfortable, but when it is happening to you it becomes dark as dark can get. I will try to trim this story not to make it a droning, whining, victim story but I believe unless you have had it happen to you there is just no other way to see how horrible this can be when you have only your words to prove you are a victim of abuse.

Two o'clock in the morning my eyes opened wide as I awoke to the sounds of music and laughter. The voices seemed so close as the fog lifted from brain, I was fast asleep with the fan above me keeping me cool on a hot summer night. I got up from my bed walked over to my bedroom window which faced my neighbor's kitchen and front room. Pushing back the blinds as I reached for the edge of the sliding window I could see so many shadows in my neighbors front room and kitchen. Some of them walking through the house and now their voices could be heard in the backyard, which I could also hear from my window.

Now with my window closed I slowly slipped back into bed. The incessant beat of the music droning I pretended it was my favorite song and let it lull me back to sleep. That is until someone screamed something about a skunk being outside. After about ten minutes of that I tried to find the beat of the music but it was not there. Instead taking its place was the roars of laughter and pool games. Rolling over I resigned myself to turning on the TV for awhile. Does anyone really know how long a while is? Well, this night it was from 2:30 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. After that I fell fast asleep.

This went on every weekend, sometimes on Friday or Saturday, but never Sunday because that was the day to recoup one's energy for work on Monday, at least for my five male neighbors who lived next door. Right before the fourth of July the fireworks started to accompany those parties. It usually ended with the local police department sitting in front of my neighbors house two cars at a time. I guess the police thought their presence was enough because according to the neighbor across the street the police never got out of their cars when they called to complain of the noise.

One night my mother who is elderly was having problems with chest pains but didn't want to get it checked out in the ER. I sat and talked with her at her bedside until she felt comfortable enough to go to sleep. Rising from the chair I went to my own bedroom and smiled at the sight of my sleeping puppy at the foot of my bed. I don't think I've ever seen an animal jump that high from a laying down position when the loud explosion went off. My bedroom window rattled as I tried to calm the puppy down. I heard my mother in the next room moan. Asking her if she was alright she asked me what the loud noise was. I explained it was the boys next door lighting fireworks again.

My anger got the best of me as the thoughts of my mother's hands at her chest. I reassured her everything was okay and walked into my bedroom throwing back the window and yelling as loud as I could because I wanted the idiot neighbors to hear every syllable, "Knock it off!" There was a five minute silence while I closed my window again followed by uproarious laughter. The party got louder and louder. I turned on my TV and watched it until the party was over at 4 a.m. before trying to go back to sleep. This was as I said before happening every weekend.

The following day I my oldest son raced in the house, I thought because he was in a hurry and wanted to borrow something he needed and be on his way again. Wrong. He asked me if I had seen my car that morning of which I hadn't even though I had strolled outside to get the paper for my mother, passing my car along the way. I followed my son outside with my stomach in my throat that led to tears when there was my rear window all over the driveway. The pain in my heart was immeasurable. Of course when my son went next door to enquire about it no one knew what had happened.

I called the police to make out a police report then called the owner of the house next door, but not before I called a glass company that would come out and replace the rear windshield for $190.00 of which I told the owner of the house. He is a nice man and was outraged at what had taken place saying, "You are my neighbor, not theirs." Then he gave me the phone number to the management company for his rented house and his cell phone number saying he would follow up in a week to see how things were going and apologized again for the trouble. The female police officer that showed up took the report and when I asked her if she would talk to the boys next door she stated it wasn't a good idea.

Two days later a woman from the management company called me. At first she wanted to know how come she had not gotten any complaints before about the noise these neighbors were making and how long had I been living in the house I was living in. The boys she said lived there for five years. Unbeknownst to her this was about the third group of boys that were living there because I had been living in the house for eight plus with my mother, who had been for four more than I.

The manager went to ask how many people were at the party. I simply answered, "Did you want me to count heads?" She retorted, "Well, were there fifty people in the house?" Continuing with her rant of smart aleck inane questions I found I couldn't take it any more and announced that if anything else happened to my car, any more beer cans found there way on our property, or any more parts from fireworks they set off next door I would have an attorney take care of it and name her in the harassment suit. Just as I was putting my finger on the receiver to hang up the manager said, "Wait a minute, wait a minute. Maybe I could talk to the owner and if I find out there have been other complaints to the police the rent will be raised $200.00 with a statement that they could move out if it didn't meet their satisfaction along with the info of complaint from neighbors to police.

That was on a Monday and needless to say Tuesday was very quiet. But of course Wednesday was the fourth of July and they had to have one last say by setting a firecracker off and laugh. But I noticed it was only one of the boys and a girl. I wondered if he was the instigator with the rest following.

The next two months parties were off and on with one party about three weeks ago. The boys intentionally talk loud by open windows. When I would get into my car one of the boys would stand by the kitchen window and call me another word for a female dog or bad word. I would pretend I didn't hear them. Of course the neighbor never said these words if anyone else was around. Sometimes it was very hard to convey to others what I was going through because they or he would only do it when I was around or if I was in my room.

Anyway, three weeks ago between 1:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. the music and laughter started. My bedroom light was off and I only had the light from the TV to show the way to the window so I could slide it shut. I overheard one of the boys telling the loud one, "She's gonna call again, keep it down." The loud one answered back, "I don't give a f***, I'm getting that apartment!" Then the voices got further and further as if they were moving to another room.

I am happy to report that the noise level is zero and there are no more parties or calling out at the kitchen window. Of course I hear the occasional banging of pots or clinging cans, but at least this is during the day and I find myself praying that the boys have finally come to their senses.

It did take quite a bit out of me in the way that I was deeply hurt by my neighbors actions. They were friends of my two sons but neither one of them associated with them and now I see why. They knew them in high school. I met all of my sons friends and they were quite nice and mannerly. I don't they remember these boys and I am quite sure there was a reason or so I do now. Maybe one day they will think back one day and ask God for forgiveness for acting so hatefully. As for me, I am working on forgiveness.   

 

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