Dr. Phil called.
Okay, it was actually Dr. Phil’s employee.
On December 7th, I received an email from Kristi Hall, a producer for Dr. Phil. She was trying to call me to potentially arrange for Amanda and me to appear on his show. We were to discuss our book, The North Side of Down, and issues concerning guardianship for people with disabilities.
If we are given this air time, it could mean tremendous exposure for the issue of guardianship, and the civil rights of disabled individuals.
Naturally, this interview would involve the cooperation of Amanda’s current guardian, and would require the discussion of problems with Amanda’s situation.
Well, why not? Other families are going through similar issues. A visit with a mediator of Dr. Phil’s stature could pull the cover off a huge problem with the American judicial system. And, heck, it might even help us. I would love to be able to put it all on the table, to learn ways I can make Amanda’s life better, as well as allow her to air her grievances.
Presumably, producer Kristi reached out to our brother, Amanda’s guardian Ted Bailey, who has not honored us with a response.
Amanda would certainly be open to the opportunity since Ted admitted to me a couple of years ago that she had actually suggested we contact Dr. Phil.
The show pays travel and accommodations for its guests. Travel to LA wouldn’t be much of a jump from where Ted and Amanda currently live in Mesa Arizona.
This is an invitation in good faith. What is the worst that could happen? The sibling troubles are no secret. For crying out loud, I wrote a book about the dispute following the death of our parents. I have been blogging about Amanda since Ted refused to let her come and stay with me during her visit to Michigan last summer. Our dirty laundry is airing for all to see! If family members would have the courage to come forward, to face an opportunity like this, maybe we can make the world a better place! There is no shame in airing problems. Every family has them.
This is aside from the fact that it would be great book promotion for The North Side of Down. Amanda earns half the royalties. She could only benefit in that regard.
So. The gauntlet is thrown. What are you so afraid of?
Amanda didn’t call me on Christmas. December 27th marks five months since I have spoken with Amanda. This is the longest we sisters have ever gone without speaking, and the first Christmas in our lifetime that we did not speak.
This is a legacy for any guardian to take pride in, eh?
Amanda was allowed to send me a birthday card, and a Christmas card. Notes were brief, and totally unlike her. In October, she sent me a bill for postage due for a small package I had sent her. “You owe me 23 cents Nancy please and thank you.”
This note is in her handwriting, but it is not something she would ever elect to say or do. It made me wonder what they did to force her to write this!
I sent her a buck and told her to keep the change, and not to worry about it, I understand. I write her letters faithfully every week. I have no way of knowing whether she receives them.
They don’t have to let Amanda call me and tell me if she saw thw new Star Wars movie. She can’t confide in me anymore, or tell me about her day. She can’t thank me for the watch I sent her, or the writing journal, or the make-up bag. In fact, I don’t even know if she received my gifts or got to open them. I don’t know if she is getting all the cards and letters and photos that I send her every week. I just keep on sending them.
Other family members and extended family, relatives, friends, whomever, who are enabling this isolation with their silence, are just as guilty of abuse as Ted and Ruthie. You are all accountable.
Amanda will not be touched by the ugliness surrounding her. She cannot be changed. She will remain loving, affectionate, forgiving and fair. They can try to brainwash her, but if they expect her to become as hateful and childish as they are, they are going to wind up disappointed. She will remain forever without guile. They can keep us apart for as long as Ted remains guardian, but they will never tarnish the love between us. They cannot change her past, or force her to forget me.
They can, however, cause her great pain and stress for the duration of the guardianship. This may be a side effect of whatever their goal is, but is an inevitable result of their actions. I know how much this is hurting her. She might not show it, but if they think she is okay with all this, they are lying to themselves and others.
Or, maybe, they just don’t care.
The greatest irony here is, despite having an extra chromosome, Amanda remains the only adult in the room.
Happy Holidays, dear Blood Sister. Sending you all my love across the miles.
I don’t know what else to do for Amanda other than just keep blogging and putting the word out. We need a mediator. Dr. Phil would be a good solution.
Suggestions are welcome.