My brain categorizes or files by date. Scott thinks it's cool....or weird, I'm not sure which.
May 16, 2015
The date that everything in our world started to spin out of control. Even as that day ended, we didn't know that the life we had come to know would never be the same. As a matter of fact, it seemed like it was going to be just like many of the days that had passed these last months. After receiving a call from Ashley letting us know that Kari was in trouble, it was filled with; arguing, yelling, three kids and one male adult finding a corner to hide, and everyone going to bed sad, hurt, and tired of the drama. I don't think we've ever gone to bed as unresolved as we did that night. Scott was furious, I was grateful that Scott was feeling the weight of the struggle too, and Kari seemed exhausted by the long hours of pain-filled screaming on both sides. Ashley had said that something very big had happened and Kari spent the entire day deflecting & denying. It was another exhausting day.
May 17, 2015
Sunday morning I woke early to take Kevin to the soccer field. Greg was up and fully dressed so I invited him to join me at the game. Scott & Jaden would leave soon after us for church, and the teen girls were left to get themselves to church a little later. Nothing about the previous day and night of fighting was certain. What was real? What was made up? As I stood over Kari watching her sleep, I decided to let her sleep and that we would have to deal with it later. In that moment, there were places to be, kids to attend, and a worship set to prepare.
As we arrived at the field and Kevin made his way out of the car, I noticed that Greg was crying. Really crying. He had been mostly hidden the night before; unengaged as we took Kari's hate filled rant and she attempted to blame us for everything that was wrong in her world. We were sure Kari's words were a huge smoke screen to hide that all of what Ashley had said were true. Or, were we wrong? Had Kari really made up such an astounding lie in order to gain attention, as she was saying? If so, she could ruin this adult's reputation!!
"Greg, these fights happen with Kari. I know it's hard, but we lost her heart awhile ago and she just won't communicate with us anymore. It's become impossible and she doesn't want it better it seems."
He choked back his tears, "Have you ever felt like you're in the middle?"
"Greg, if you know something then you had better tell me!"
He looked at me with those piercing blue eyes and slowly said, "It's all true."
"It's all true. What Ashley told you is all true."
"How long have you known?"
"Since a couple weeks after I started coming to your house."
"GREG!!! You've known for two-and-a-half months?!?!"
I sent a text to Scott letting him know and then handed Greg the phone. "You call Dad and take whatever it is that he's going to give. In the end there will be restoration and love, but you take everything before that like a man."
Greg and Scott talked for close to a half an hour. Scott teaching Greg what it means to love in a family. Teaching that it is betrayal NOT to tell and that keeping that kind of secret can destroy lives. I heard a lot of "Yes, sirs" from Greg's end of the conversation. Later that evening was the last time that we saw Greg. I miss what could have been with him in our family. He's a sweet guy that wasn't taught any different than what Kari was living. We wish we had the time to show him a different way.
We grew to love him and wish that he had made a different choice for himself, Kari, and for our family. Not calling him now, one month later, is complicated. He believes everything she has said and he's still FB friends with the people that were involved in this sick & twisted mess. He's loyal to Kari and can't allow himself to learn from all that we could teach him. We could help him have a better relationship with Kari long term, but he just can't believe that she's anything more complicated than what she wants him to think. There are other people in our lives that are the same. We are going to lose a lot of people, family even, but those who are in our lives every day know the truth. They've been apart of this from the beginning and know the whole story. Some only know what Kari wants them to know. Trauma is difficult to understand and teaching someone that is focused on being loyal to the one suffering is a losing battle. We wish you well, Greg & everyone else that needs to believe Kari's words. Thanks for making us smile for all of those weekends.
After Kevin's game, we headed to church. I let Kevin know what I had learned from Greg and that I had one expectation when we arrived at church. Kari was to sit next to a parent. I didn't care who sat on the other side, but I wanted her near a parent in case the Holy Spirit moved in her heart during service. Her heart was hardened to us, but I knew that it didn't want to be and if there was a chance to find a bridge we wanted to be near.
Kari had a chance to move away from us during the service, but she didn't. Maybe she knew that I would move right with her or maybe the spirit moved....I don't know, but I saw that as a small win at the time. Now? Yea, it seems really silly, but we were shooting blind.
After service Kari and Greg took off. I followed them and pulled Greg aside, "Do not get between us and our daughter! I mean it, don't cause more division."
"I won't. I promise."
I went back into the sanctuary to Scott and prayed with he and Tom. In the midst of that Kari came up behind me. "What do you need, Kari?"
I held her tight. I have only had a couple of hugs since that one, but this one will be the one I remember. There hasn't been one since that felt that sincere.
"I need to talk to you," is what she said in my ear.
Scott, Greg, Kari, & I moved into the food pantry closet with chairs. It took awhile.....a long while, but she finally admitted that it was all true. She didn't tell us a lot, but did admit that all of what Ashley had said was true. By this time, we were ready for her words. We hugged her, told her that we loved her, and invited she and Greg to join the family for lunch. We went about our post-church Sunday as if everything were normal, but absolutely nothing was normal. A serious crime had been committed and our kid was hurting.
So many questions......
There is no way that this could have happened under our noses. Scott & I were at a loss for HOW this could have happened.
After lunch we took Kevin & Jaden to friends' houses. We weren't sure what was going to happen, but we did know that things were about to get messy as we figured out what to do.
We took Kari, Greg, & Valerie home and told them to enjoy movies. After dropping the kids off we went to our friend's house. It was there that we spent several hours doing our research. We spoke to a Dayton PD detective that helped us navigate our next move. She was texting with a Montgomery County Assistant Prosecutor and a Miami County Assistant Prosecutor to help us. These kind people helped us to file a police report in the right jurisdiction, among many other things. So grateful!
The part that didn't make any sense that night was that Kari readily went to Xenia to file that police report. I didn't understand it then, but came to maybe understand it as the days and weeks passed.
We were told by the investigators that before the teenage girls left for church on that Sunday, Kari used Valerie's phone to give a heads up to those involved. Maybe she did it in the middle of the night. I don't know. She called to let her know that Ashley had told Scott & I and that we were trying to get to the truth. It is assumed that Kari was hurt by the results of that call and decided to tell the truth in response to this. We may never know the whole truth about this or many other things, but that's the speculation of the investigator.
Late Sunday night we took Kari to the Xenia PD to file a police report. She gave a quick sketch of what happened to a uniformed officer and then we went home. During that trip Kari went quiet with us and I've never heard her open up again. She had to put up huge walls from the very moment that she filed the police report.