Always The Good Wife - Until The Ultimate Betrayal And Then My Mother Shot My Father
The Good Wife Guide:19 Rules For Keeping A Happy Husband! Be All The Wife He Needs!
The Good Wife Just Didn't Die Soon Enough
My mother was born in the 1930's and was always raised to be the good wife and mother, nothing more, nothing less. She married a young sailor. They were both 18 and I was born when they were just 19. My mother spent her life catering to her husband, going to church and raising her children. My father had his first affair when she was a young wife and as all good wives did back then, she accepted it. He was overseas, in Barcleona. I was probably no more than 3 and though my mother never spoke of it, I heard things from my uncles and my grandmother. My mother stayed with him, in spite of the fact that he was always distant and disinterested. The only thing they ever seemed to have in common was him; his needs, his wants, his ego, his career. And she said she loved him. I will never know why, but she loved him until the day she died.
I was 14 when my father left for another one of his never-ending cruises. He was on the aircraft carrier Enterprise, just off the coast of Hawaii and during one of the training exercises, the flight deck blew up. My mother got the call, was told that he was dying, and within a few hours was on her way to be by his side.He was pronounced dead three times, lost a leg, had shrapnel lodged in multiple places throughout his body and almost every day begged the doctors and my mother to kill him. She stayed by his side for the many years that it took him to recover. She never thought of leaving, of not taking care of him, or of killing him. She bathed him, cleaned his wounds, fed him and continued to love him. She was always the good wife.
My father, on the other hand, was not the good husband. Many years passed and I had just lost my own husband. I was in my early 30's and got a call from my father. He and my mother were both in their 50's, he had retired from the Navy and was working civil service, still teaching the top secret radar equipment that he had taught in the service.
My father told me that he had rushed my mother to the hospital She was in the hospital, dying, he told me,very matter of factly. They had just diagnosed her with metastatic breast cancer and had given her 2 months to live. One of the cancerous tumors had developed into gangrene. After several surgeries, she came home, where, to everyone's surprise, she seemed to get better. In fact, a year later, she was doing well. Out of the blue, my mother found out that my father was having an affair. He left for a few weeks, only to return and tell her that he had broken it off and was coming home. During the few weeks that my father was gone, the good wife convinced herself that the affair was her fault. She was sick, after all. She was not paying enough attention to him, not cooking his favorite things, not pretty anymore...So, she decided that she would make some changes, to herself. She would make things better, so that he would stay.
What The Hell Is Wrong With Your Family? Your Mother Just Shot Your Father!
I remember the call as if it was yesterday. Both of my parents had the same doctor, who was also my boss. I was sitting in my office doing paperwork and my boss was on the line. "What the hell is wrong with your family? Your mother just shot your father and I am in the ER waiting for him. No one knows where your mom is. Go find her and hide her until we find out what is going on! And get her a lawyer!" I thought he was kidding. Quickly, I realized he was all too serious. Find my mother?
I knew exactly where my mother was. I drove the mile and a half and there was her car, sitting in the church parking lot. How did I know? Whenever my mom had a problem, she went to church. There she was, sitting with the priest, crying. "I've done something terrible, Jillian. I shot your father. He only came back because he wanted to clean out all the money. He told me I wasn't dying fast enough, that he was still with his girlfriend. He mortgaged the house, cashed in all the retirement accounts, he was packing his clothes. He was going to leave me with nothing, to die alone. I didn't mean to shoot him. I just wanted to scare him, to make him stay."
So, there it was: the ultimate betrayal. She wasn't dying fast enough... I hid my mother at a friend's house and sure enough, when I got home, there was my father, waiting for me. He had a minor gunshot wound to the arm. He told me that he had come back to clean out bank accounts, that my mother was in his way and he never intended to stay with her. She just didn't die fast enough. I walked up to him and punched him, right in that arm. I told him to get the hell out of my house, at which point he told me that he would see to it that my mother died in jail and if I stood in his way or tried to help her, that I had better watch out for my kids and myself. Did this man really think that I was afraid of him? That I would abandon my mother? That I was still that scared, little girl, afraid of my own shadow- and him?
He had no idea! While he was wrapped up in himself and never his family, I grew up. From the time I was a little girl, I knew what he was and even though my mother loved him-forever the good wife- I didn't even like him. He never realized that even though my mother never stood up to him for herself, she stood up for me. All that time he spent overseas gave her plenty of opportunity to teach me all of the things she knew, but never practiced. She always told me that I was smart, I was worth something and she taught me how to stand up for myself and others. She told me that I could be whatever I wanted to be, that I could think and believe anything that I wanted and that I should never allow anyone to control me. I will always remember her telling me that people were not born survivors, they were made into survivors and that she was going to make me into a survivor.
So, did I fight for my mother? You bet I did! Did I stand in his way? You bet! My mother was charged with attempted murder-she barely scratched him...My lying father told the judge that my mom's family was Mafia and that they were going to kill him. He lied- over and over and over. He was the good husband, swore that he always doted on his sick wife. He had no idea why she turned on him. It must have been the cancer. It must have spread to her brain...He showed up in court on crutches, minus his artificial leg. Yes, he was a wounded veteran, he told the judge. Well, the wounded veteran had not been on crutches in years. He was never without his prothsesis, not since I was a teenager. I almost threw up when I saw how easily he manipulated. The district attorney took me outside and we talked. He said that he wanted ro know, even though I wasn't a witness, what had happened. I told him about finding my mother, what she had said and then what my father said. He asked if I thought my mother would be willing to plead guilty to battery; he wasn't convinced that this was attempted murder and that there was just something that he didn't like about by father. He asked if I would be willing to supervise my mother's behavior if he could get her released to home wearing an ankle monitor.
My mother pled guilty to battery, and in spite of the fact that the district attorney agreed to and pushed for house arrest, the judge wanted to send a message to all good wives who might stray. He sentenced her to a year in county jail even though he knew that would be a death sentence. The district attorney explained to the judge that my mother was near death, now even legally blind due to a blood clot that had traveled to her eye. The judge refused to listen.
It took her doctor and myself 5 weeks to have her sentence modified to house arrest. The county jail did not have the medical capabilities to treat or care for her and I made sure that the media knew it. For that 5 weeks, every day, the local newscasts would run a follow-up on her deteriorating condition and the inability of the county to care for a critically ill woman. Five weeks into her one year sentence, my boss received the letter we were waiting for. The Medical Director of the County Jails sent a letter stating that the medical care they were providing had compromised my mother's health and was hastening her death. He had overruled the judge and ordered that she be released immediately.
I picked her up and brought her home that night.
The Divorce, My Mother's Death, and Karma
The divorce was ugly. I found an attorney for my mother through the National Organization for Women (N.O.W.). I highly recommend them! My father was ordered to pay my mother her half of the money he had stripped from their joint accounts. The home was sold and the profits split. My mother vowed that she would not die until the divorce was final. She died the day after the final papers were filed.
Prior to my mother's death, my mother had told me that my father would come after me, to exact revenge for helping her. "Don't be silly, mom!" I thought. It is over. He had moved across the country, retired from civil service and started a new business. She insisted that she knew him better than I did. She gave me 2 plastic shopping bags from her favorite store, each full of some books. She then told me that these would be the only weapons that I would have to fight my father when she was gone. Okay, mom... I put them away without even looking and forgot about them until a few months after my mother's death.
My kids and I had decided to close a long, hard chapter in our lives. We moved from our home in California to Olympia, Washington. It was beautiful, maybe the most beautiful town I had ever seen and it seemed the perfect place to start over, until the day that the mailman came to my door.
A certified letter from my father. He was living on the east coast and I had no idea how he found me. I opened the letter and it began:
I know where you live and I know where your kids go to school. You have some personal property of mine and I want it back or I will come for it...
I had no idea what he was talking about! Personal property? I ran for the phone to call my mom. I was half-way through dialing her number and hung up the phone. I really was alone...Then, I heard my mom's voice in my mind, "...Your father will come after you. These will be the only weapons that you have to fight him..." I ran up the stairs and opened the bottom drawer of my dresser. I opened the bags and started pulling out books. They were military training manuals, all marked "TOP SECRET: PROPERTY OF U.S. GOVERNMENT".
I was afraid to even open them. I called the Seattle office of the F.B.I. and within an hour and a half, an F.B.I. agent was sitting in our living room. She took the letter that my father had sent and she took the books. She told me to keep the kids home from school until I heard from her. She made a call to the local police and I heard her giving them our address.
Early the next afternoon, I got a call from my mother's divorce lawyer in California. She told me that at 8 AM that morning, six "G-men" (that's what she called them) served a search warrant and raided her office. They took all of my mother's files and paperwork with no explanation. Did I know what was going on? I told her about the books and the letter.
I then received a call from our F.B.I. agent. She told me the kids could go back to school; that we would be safe now. I would not see my father again, and if I ever heard from him again, I was ro call her immediately. That morning, the F.B.I. took my father into custody. They had conducted simultaneous raids on his lawyers' offices, the office of my mother's attorney, my father's home and my father's office. My father was ultimately stripped of his military retirement, civil service pension and all of the government contracts that my father's business held.
He had taught top-secret radar equipment while in the military and when he worked civil service. When he retired from civil service, he started his own business doing the same thing. The training manuals that he had taken from the government? Apparently, he stole them to create the training programs and curriculum for his business and then sold them back to the government, in a manner of speaking. I guess the federal government doesn't like that sort of thing.
A few years later, my mom's lawyer and I were talking and she said that she had always wondered why my mom didn't tell anyone sooner about the theft of the government property. She said that she thought it would have shed an entirely different light on my father. I don't know, I just think that she never wanted to get him into any trouble and that the only way she would ever betray him was if she had to protect me.
Being The Good Wife
This is reportedly from a 1955 House Keeping Monthly magazine, although many who have read it believe it to be a hoax...
- Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.
- Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so that you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with alot of work-weary people.
- Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.
- Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dustcloth over the tables.
- During the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift, too. After all, catering to his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
- Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet.
- Be happy to see him.
- Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
- Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
- Don't greet him with complaints and problems..
- Don't complain if he's late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through at work.
- Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or lie him down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
- Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
- Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remeber, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfullness. You have no right to question him.
- A good wife always knows her place.