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{below written April 6, 2007 entered verbatim from the Dr. Dris personal files on her laptop...}


MY DEAR FAMILY,

I have many things I want to share with you before I get any older when perhaps I will not be able to find the courage to do so. I’m not the type of person who ignores making a mistake, but if I do, it is usually a really big one. So I am decided to write down what I am thinking because I have made a decision.  And that is – where and how do I spend the rest of my life.  I did not want to be a burden to any one of my children who have their own families to care for and support. Especially I WILL NOT even consider joining any household like Granny Roberts joined mine. She really didn’t have much choice – her son insisted. Fortunately, Rob wanted some time with his mom, so here I am {...in Hawai....} and I’m very happy to be here with him.

During the past few years I had hoped to make it up with those of you whom I caused to have problems because I left my husband and my home. It was obvious to me at the time that some of you may have thought I was selfishly only thinking of myself. Surely, my life has never been an easy one. I ran away from my own family to marry the man I loved and it caused my whole life to change dramatically.  I was almost 18 and had to grow up fast. As I look back, I always felt that I was the only one responsible for my life.  I had learned to never take anything for granted. Unfortunately, when I left home, part of my burden of helping support the Paine family was moved over to my older sister, Edythe, and caused her to postpone her own wedding. So it is no wonder that I felt I had to pay her back. It was important to me. So I was very glad that I stayed with her for a while for it made me feel a little better about causing her to put off her wedding plans because of our mother’s demands, which as I look back at now, were all very unnecessary.

Before I moved back to New England, I had been staying with Karen and her family. She had driven to San Diego from her home in Washington State to where I was living when I lost my military pension. I was very upset and almost in shock. Fortunately she took me back to her home and assisted me in receiving the social security benefits due me. At the time I also had to go through bankruptcy so I was very much in a state of shock. Being an ex-military wife with no permanent home, I did not know what to do next. But I am not about to write the full, sad story of my past. Except to admit that I felt that I did the best I could under the circumstances I found myself in. I am deeply sorry if I may have hurt anyone in my family in any way at the time by having to make my own decisions and by not consulting with any of them.  I have done my share of not being available when I was needed or doing too much when I shouldn’t be. I wouldn’t wish me on anyone.

So the bottom line is – I am no one’s idea of the ideal mother or even sister. I can only hope that each of you can forgive me if I have hurt you in any way. It surely was not deliberate. Please know that I have always loved each of you very much and always will.

I came back to Hawaii because I had unfinished family business with my son, Robin. I know Rob felt that I forgot about him when I moved back to San Diego. So far, I have discussed with him about helping pay expenses and that seems to be okay. But I realized recently when he had a few drinks that he still thinks that I deserted him when I left San Diego. I clearly recall asking him to come with me but he did not want to be separated from his girlfriend at the time.

Sometimes I do have trouble with my memory when I’m flustered. When he accused me of deserting him I felt incapable of defending myself.  Rob obviously did not know what it cost me to live with an alcoholic husband whose mother lived with us, also. Granny Roberts sat and drank wine and smoked right along with her son, but she never interfered with our relationship as far as I know. They were very good company for each other.  I had to go to work. It was good for me. It stopped me from feeling too sorry for myself.

When I left my husband, I remember asking Rob if it might be best for him if I was out of his life, also. He had a girlfriend then and did not want to leave her. So I left all alone. In my favor today is the fact that I have some savings and there are some choices I still can make – especially if it comes to my moving on alone and taking care of myself. I will not be a burden to anyone any more in my life…that includes all my children who now have children of their own and my own sister and brothers. Surely the best thing I can do for all of them IS TO NOT BECOME A BURDEN, but just how do I do that? That’s the issue that requires a solution so that I will never be a burden to anyone, anymore.

Unfortunately, I do not want to be alone by myself in my last few years of life…I am not a bad person, but I do feel that I come up short when it comes to making sure I can take care of myself, especially when I have to make the right decisions when it comes to my own interest. This feeling must go back to my own childhood... 

What I do realize about my life is that I am a very sensitive person. It comes wrapped up in a package called “What is this thing called LOVE?” ...                                                                                                                                                             

August 2007

"In a few days I will be 74 years old!  When I think about it - it is difficult for me to realize how old I truly am, "Holy Moly".  I am fortunate to be here in the great Northwest, being looked after by my daughter, Karen.   I must admit I don't feel like I am that old...but TIME marches on - - -.  (And she is able to tolerate me very well.  Thank God!) 

Who would ever think that a little dark haired girl (me), who was very shy, would ever end up marrying a Naval Academy graduate who chose to join the Air Force as a 2nd Lt - so he could fly!  We had a great & interesting life until he experienced the war in Vietnam." 

..."He was never the same and I ended up having to leave or live in "hell" with him literally destroying the man I loved - so I left.  I hoped he might then realize what he was doing - but unfortunately - he was too far gone - ..."

        -excerpt transcribed verbatim from my mother's journal,   Wendy