Guardian abuse is becoming an epidemic. Well, perhaps “becoming” is the wrong word. It likely has been happening to families for many years.
I had a conversation with Catharine Falk the other day. She is the daughter of Peter Falk of the TV show Columbo. As her father was developing Alzheimers, she was attempting to visit him and the guardian was preventing it. She finally did get to see him before he died, but she had lost precious time. She spearheaded the effort to start a bill that would stop guardian abuse.
So it begins. I’ve resolved to produce one Amanda painting or drawing per day until I have an actual conversation with her. This is a quick watercolor of Amanda as she looked before they took her in 2013. It has been nearly 9 months since I have spoken with her.
Here’s the thing: Try to imagine yourself in a state of helplessness. Your requests for help go ignored. You might be doing okay, but you might not. You can’t tell your closest sibling or best friend how you feel. Your parents are dead. You can’t reach out or communicate with the one person who has been through everything with you, who knows you better than anyone else, who will explain what you’re trying to say, who has your back. You live each day hoping for a break in this state of being “grounded” — or whatever it is.
Meanwhile, your other friends and relatives behave as if nothing unusual is happening. Would you think you were going crazy? Would you look for validation? Or would you just spend day after day hoping, and wishing, with no one to vent to or talk to? Because when you do bring it up, you are told the subject is taboo.
I have lost virtually every family member over this deal, which in my book is the same as a kidnapping. Even the nephews are gone. They are embarrassed by my public airing of the situation. I am not going to hide what they are doing to her. This is a DISABLED WOMAN. This is wrong. If this were happening to you, would you prefer everyone to just ignore it, or would you want someone like me on your side?
Better think about that — someday you too may need a guardian. A large portion of people who are abused in this manner are elderly.
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