I’m afraid my mom will get shot

She manages Section 8 housing. The place is full of violence

Topics: Since You Asked, Family, moms, Mothers, Gun Violence, Violence, Public Housing, Section 8,

I'm afraid my mom will get shot (Credit: Zach Trenholm/Salon)

Hi Cary,

My mom manages a Section 8 housing complex in our hometown. It was the only job she could find after being laid off a few years ago. While she’s never been threatened by a resident, the things she tells me about her work make me fear for her safety. Many of her residents have restraining orders against exes or family members or have otherwise abusive/unhealthy relationships with people in their lives. Because of this, my mom is on a first-name basis with all the police officers in town and lives in fear of an “incident” happening on her watch. Known drug dealers and other unsavory locals frequent the complex as well. Case in point: Recently, a former resident whose mother still lives in the complex was shot in a drug deal gone bad.

I am terrified that my mom may someday find herself in the literal crossfire of one of these domestic violence situations or might be assaulted by an irate resident. Oddly, she seems to have no worries about her own safety. I’ve asked my mom to quit her job multiple times, but she insists that there are no other local jobs to be had. This concern is somewhat legitimate because my family lives in an economically depressed region. She’s also close to retirement age but told me that if she were to quit tomorrow, she and my dad would lose their house. So she seems somewhat content (or shall I say resigned) to staying at her job for a few more years until she can retire, but she also complains about her work incessantly, says she’s always tired, etc. I don’t think she’s been happy for a very long time and a number of recent family deaths and other unexpected life changes have thrown both my parents for the proverbial loop. I hate to see them entering their “golden years” in such misery and consternation and, yes, possible danger. I feel like I can’t get through to either of them on these issues. I’m at the end of my rope and I’ve even started having minor anxiety attacks whenever I think about my mom’s on-the-job safety. Please help.

Worried Daughter

Dear Worried Daughter,

Your mom is working a hard job and having a tough time. You care for her so you fear for her safety. You would hate to see her harmed. So would I. You love your mother. We all love your mother. None of us wants to see her harmed. But what can we do? Mothers are hard to control. They don’t listen to us. What can you do today to help her have a better day?



What about doughnuts?

Doughnuts are high in fat and sugar and white flour but they are delicious to eat in the morning before work. Can you bring your mother doughnuts? It is hard not to smile when eating an old-fashioned glazed doughnut.

In the end, we will cherish our parents for the moments we were eating doughnuts together. We will remember pointing fingers at them and telling them to look in the paper for a safer job but we won’t cherish those memories. We will cherish the memories of eating crullers together. So bring her doughnuts and tell her you are not worried even though you are. Tell her you think she will be safe. Take pictures of you two eating doughnuts together.

What else could you do? You could work for gun control legislation. You could work for better social policies. You could volunteer at this Section 8 housing complex and get to know some of the residents and tell them to take good care of your mama because she’s a good woman and sometimes you’re afraid she’s going to get shot.

Maybe if you were rich it would be different. Your mom could come live in your house and dust. She could wear an apron and dust and clean the birdcage. She could make lasagna for you and your husband when you come home from work. But you aren’t rich and neither is she and neither am I. We can make up stories and we can pretend that people will do what we say but that isn’t this story. This story is about your mom with her job in Section 8 housing in a bad part of town.

What will help? Yes, less gun violence will help. Better social policies will help. But meanwhile … if you were to drop by for a visit and bring her something that you know she likes, that might help. It might also make you feel better.

Please, do something for me right now. Pay attention to this feeling of frustration and fear. Settle with this feeling. You love your mom and worry about her. Of course you do. Accept that she is out of your control. She won’t do what you say. Of course she won’t. Think about what you can do to make her life better today.

What is important today is your relationship with your mother.

Maybe she won’t listen to you. But you can listen to her. Maybe she won’t change her plans. But you can change your plans.

Maybe you can’t get through to her. But you can get next to her.

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 10
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie

    A contemporary romantic comedy set to Elvis Costello and lots of luxurious and sinful sugary treats.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Welcome to Temptation" by Jennifer Crusie

    Another of Crusie's romantic comedies, this one in the shadow of an ostentatiously phallic water tower.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "A Gentleman Undone" by Cecilia Grant

    A Regency romance with beautifully broken people and some seriously steamy sex.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Black Silk" by Judith Ivory

    A beautifully written, exquisitely slow-building Regency; the plot is centered on a box with some very curious images, as Edward Gorey might say.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "For My Lady's Heart" by Laura Kinsale

    A medieval romance, the period piece functions much like a dystopia, with the courageous lady and noble knight struggling to find happiness despite the authoritarian society.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Sweet Disorder" by Rose Lerner

    A Regency that uses the limitations on women of the time to good effect; the main character is poor and needs to sell her vote ... or rather her husband's vote. But to sell it, she needs to get a husband first ...   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Frenemy of the People" by Nora Olsen

    Clarissa is sitting at an awards banquet when she suddenly realizes she likes pictures of Kimye for both Kim and Kanye and she is totally bi. So she texts to all her friends, "I am totally bi!" Drama and romance ensue ... but not quite with who she expects. I got an advanced copy of this YA lesbian romance, and I’d urge folks to reserve a copy; it’s a delight.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "The Slightest Provocation" by Pam Rosenthal

    A separated couple works to reconcile against a background of political intrigue; sort of "His Gal Friday" as a spy novel set in the Regency.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Again" by Kathleen Gilles Seidel

    Set among workers on a period soap opera, it manages to be contemporary and historical both at the same time.   Read the whole essay.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>