Stepfamily Issues

Personal stories about stepfamilies, childhood and general family issues.

January 08, 2007

a stepfamily killer

It was a tiny column in the newspaper, just a filler, and Erica only noticed it because her eyes were drawn by an unusual but familiar name. It was her ex-stepfather's name and the grandma who had been murdered was his mother.

"I was having a coffee break in the canteen at work when I saw the article," says Erica, "and I was absolutely frozen with shock."

"Not just because I knew the women who had been murdered - but because she had been murdered by my ex-stepfather's nephew - her cherished grandson. It wasn't a total stranger who had murdered her, but her grandson."

"My mother had only been married to this guy for a few years," explains Erica, "but of course I knew the boy and their whole family."

"This was her golden-haired boy," explains Erica. "He was the grandson she doted on and lavished with gifts as if to compensate for the fact that the boy's father - my ex stepuncle - had refused to marry his mother."

"Boy, am I glad my mother got out of that awful family!" exclaims Erica. "I think she only married to give my brother and I a father - albeit a step-father - but there was so much stuff going on that family that she decided we were better off without them, and so we were!"

"Murder is terrible in anyone's book," says Erica, "but when a grandson murders his grandmother - and the newspaper gives a passing mention of it - what does that say about our society?"

"How many other grandmothers out there are being murdered by their grandchildren and nobody cares?" asks Erica.

"On the front page of the same newspaper prominence was given to a story about a soldier who had been killed by snipers in Iraq," says Erica.

"That soldier's death is a tragedy - just like any killing is a tragedy - and yet that soldier's business was killing," explains Erica. "He had been trained to kill and he had chosen to join the army and get sent to arenas of war where he risks being killed."

"An old woman sitting at home in the suburbs is not in the same league as that soldier."

"She may be at risk from a neighbor going berserk with a gun - or a drug addict on the prowl for easy pickings," explains Erica, "but you wouldn't think she would be at risk from a visit from her grandson, would you?"

"The story of her death in the newspaper was, in comparison to that of the soldier, short and sketchy."

"I do not know how she was murdered or why she was murdered," says Erica, "and I have no desire to find out. I am not part of their family any more, even as a stepdaughter, and I am so glad I'm not."

"My concern is simply that she was murdered - and murdered by her grandson."

"I look at my brother - now 15 years old - and imagine whether he would be capable of murdering our grandmother?"

"I wonder whether my future grandchildren would be capable of murdering me?"

"If I had been an old lady reading that story I would be scared - very scared," says Erica. "Maybe that is why the newspaper editors don't publish similar stories - or choose to publish them in tiny filler columns on page 6 where hardly anyone would read them."

"Either nobody cares, or we're just too scared to face the terrible violence that is now so common place in family life."

"I am so glad that my mother didn't make us change our name to that of our stepfather," sighs Erica. "But even so, someone else did notice the story and asked me whether the murdered woman was related to my stepfather."

"I just died of embarrassment," says Erica. "Why should some guy my mom married for a while be anything to do with me?"

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