He's back. I am sad.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Copabanana, May 21, 2016.

  1. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am filled with sadness and not sure why. I want my son to love me. For so long I had turned off awareness of my enormous love for him and need of him. I have let down my defenses. I am like a raw nerve.

    He asked to come over last night and did not show. I was let down, which I will explain below.

    As I was writing this--he showed up at our door. I am jubilant. Thrilled. He apologized for coming saying he had no mental stimulation at the house. I hugged and hugged him. I love you so much. And hugged him more. Do you know how much I love you? Yes, he responded and I love you too. I want you to love me, son. (I know.)

    You know I love you Mom. I just do not show it. It makes me sad that you feel I do not love you. It is just that I am so wrapped up in my own self-hatred, still. I feel so bad about the people I have hurt, but I still have not worked my way through it.

    You see, I come to believe he does not love me. (M does not help. He thinks my son is indifferent. Could it be that he feels that his children do not love him? M believes we must accept that our children may not love us much. And M has a theory that upper middle class children love their parents less than do lower class kids. I explain to M that we were not upper middle class then. That I struggled alone. Why do I listen to him all the time?)

    Anyway, the newest iteration is that my son now knows he will be drug tested randomly. He will soon find out that if he leaves and wants to return, he needs a clean test.

    This is the back story, if you need to review it. *Smile.

    My son came back about 3 days ago after he realized that there was no alternative living space that was free and inside.

    He was told: a condition of your being anywhere near us is "no marijuana." A second condition is that you work full-time. He verbalized he understood and accepted the conditions. He said: "my circumstances are not such that I have the luxury of using marijuana" or something like that. I did not at that time bring up drug testing.

    The working is going well. The marijuana, not so great. Luckily, I know now how to recognize he has used. Not just while he is using, with the bloodshot eyes and euphoria, but afterwards. He is depressed, looks unhealthy, is pallid, grayish, sullen, negative.

    Yesterday afternoon he asked to come over after work to pick up some stuff. That means to hang out too. Fine. I love when he is here now, love having him here. He never showed. I felt it was because he smoked marijuana. M tried to reassure me. I went by there this morning. Sure enough. All the signs.

    I told him: Understand that we will be requiring random drug testing. You said your last time smoking marijuana was a couple of days before you left, last time. That means your results should be clear in 3 weeks. (He was the one who had told me that dirty tests could continue for a month for people who used a marijuana, frequently, in large quantities.)

    He began to demur, trying to convince me that clearly would take even longer than a month. I replied: I am using the time period you suggested and I confirmed it by research. Actually, a month is quite lenient.
    He began to say things like: I have to be prepared to be homeless. That I was acting mad. That I would go and tell M about this conversation and he would get mad, have his attitude change.

    I said: I am not mad. It is entirely your choice where you want to live, and when you leave here. I understand if you choose to not accept the terms. It is your choice.

    I went and told M immediately. I said I don't want to operate a crash pad service. M smiled and said: let him know that he is free to return but when he returns he needs to have a clean test before he re-enters.
    Last edited: May 21, 2016
  2. PonyGirl65

    PonyGirl65 Active Member

    Awwww Copa! I am giving you gentle cyber hugs right now. So tough to have to draw such lines, and stick by them. I wonder, maybe the pot use is what is blocking you from feeling that your son loves you? Or from him being able to express it.

    I'm glad at least that he IS working. That is a good step, and can also be another deterrent for him, as well as a consequence if he slips up.

    I feel for you, I just don't have the right words right now. I got some news from my sister in law tonite regarding my brother and it's thrown me for a loop. She reached out to let me know my brother has a heavy drinking problem. Something I suspected but wasn't prepared to hear the gory details. Ugh.

    But I wanted to send out a quick reply to you and let you know, I'm thinking of you!
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi Pony, I needed that cyber hug!! Sending one back. Did you feel it? I hope so. Feeling so much better.

    Thank you.
  4. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Aw Copa, I'm so sorry you are sad. I know what it's like, getting the feeling that the person who means most to you in the world doesn't love you. I've been there. I've said to Jabber before that I didn't think our son loves me. It's the most terrible feeling ever. Our son says "I love you" darn near every time he speaks to us...but it's habit. Jabber and I are very demonstrative people. We say "I love you" lots...like every time we part or end a phone call. We even use "lovey" emojis when we text. But see, we mean it. Our son has heard it his whole life and I think it's just words to him.

    Ah well...point is, I know the way you feel and how much it sucks.

    But he's back and you know, it might be that you give him ONE freebie. As in, "Okay...I didn't tell you I'd test you. Now you know. If the first one is bad...well maybe the three weeks should start now and we'll do another a week after that." (Do levels show on these tests? If so and it's low, but there, as opposed to strong...that's even more reason to give it a try) But anyway, I see him saying, "I'm going to fail, so I may as well not try."

    I'm thinking out loud. I give way too many chances.
  5. DarkwingPsyduck

    DarkwingPsyduck Active Member

    See, I told you that your son's apparent lack of care about you wasn't actually about you. That he does love you, and he doesn't take particular enjoyment from causing you pain. That is all just incidental. That doesn't make it acceptable, of course, but there is a distinction to be made.

    He also sounds receptive about your offer. He is trying to squirrel out of the drug testing part, but that's to be expected. I don't know if I have mentioned this, but both my aunt and uncle are RN's. Right now, my uncle does after hour drug testing for Concentra. When somebody is injured on a job after business hours, they require a clean UA before paying out for medical costs, and the like. So he ALWAYS has tons of unused UA kits, and he certainly knew how to use them. When my aunt first suggested I submit to the tests, I was not receptive. Even though I was actually clean, and had been for some time. I had no plans to relapse, and I wasn't really sure why I was so concerned about the idea, but I was. I think it was just difficult to accept that the option to use wasn't really there, regardless of whether I wanted it, or not. I am glad it happened, though.
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  6. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Member

    hi Copa - I have been following this, and wish I had wise words for you, because you have been so helpful to me w my son. But I have nothing. However, I might be a little bit "devils advocate-ish" - and may have missed a lot, but why does he use marijuana? (disclosure - I do) Is it to manage anxiety? If he is tested, will he turn to a less healthy alternative, that can't be detected as easily?
  7. TheWalrus

    TheWalrus I Am The Walrus

    I, too, have come to feel my daughter does not love me. No, with my child, I think she loves me as much as she hates me, but most of the time the resentment takes control. That is a hard thing to accept, and I have racked my brain wondering what I did to prevent her from loving me. Every encounter is awkward, every hug is stiff. But I know it is not ME. As Darkwing stated, it is incidental. Incidental to her disorder. Incidental to her drug use. I know how hard it is to love them so much and feel the cold shoulder or lack of reciprocation. It stings. It helps knowing it isn't intentional. That is where I take my comfort.
  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am guarded, but underneath it...I am like you guys.
    I think he will try. I do not know why but I do.

    A few minutes ago, he brought up psychiatric medications, and his fears about them. (Horror stories, like chimpanzees going psychotic and ripping ladies's faces off???) And he ended by saying, I will try them...not the strong ones but....

    I think this is a result of the fact that he is undergoing medical review for SSI, and he knows they will be looking at treatment compliance. But the topic that immediately preceded this was a mini discussion about the conspiracy theories--he still tries to push against my absolute boundary on that. I think he knows that it is not normal to feel the kind of pervasive, black depression he feels, coupled with the paranoia. The message here is that--he seems to be getting it.

    So I mentioned, discretely, that finding a psychiatric medication that works is a process, a collaboration between doctor and patient based upon trust and care, and science. And I suggested he call Dr. B who was his psychiatrist when he was 11 who worked with us until about 7 years ago. I had spoken to him about 6 months ago and though he is now retired he would love to see my son. My son said he would go see him!!!
    Yes!! You did tell me. I believed you, but I needed to hear it, too. Thank you, Darkwing.
    Hi PiscesMom. OK. Let me put a preface. I am not against marijuana. Let me tell you my issues with my son's use of it:

    --he spends nearly all his SSI on it.
    --it becomes his only motivator.
    --after he uses it he is morose, negative, more depressed, lethargic, defensive, and hostile.

    He says when he is high, this is the only type he can escape his ego. He is hard on himself, filled with self-hatred. I can understand the appeal of a substance that offers escape from this state of mind.

    Until quite recently we were tolerant of his use, until, we could no longer overlook what we saw.

    When he did not use he looked and seemed happier, healthier, normal. When he did, he declined.

    Of course, it is his business when he is completely independent of our help, what he does away from me.

    Now, he is not. He depends on us for a place to stay and work. He also relies on us financially, a bit.

    There are many people who use marijuana to deal with chronic illness and pain, or anxiety. In our state marijuana for medical purposes is legal. Bought through a dispensary, his consumption is legal.

    I believe my son can function. He has before. I cannot give up on the idea that he will have a family some day, and feel some sense of contentment, and self-regard.

    Right now, as his mother, I will not let that go. Marijuana to me, the way he uses it, works against his functioning, not for it.

    I can see marijuana use, when somebody has a meaningful and productive way of life, fulfills responsibilities--and marijuana is something peripheral, not the main event.
  9. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    There is nothing I did or you did to prevent them from loving us.

    I am mad at M. My son does love me!!! He just cannot show it because he is so engulfed in his own unrelenting pain which distorts his thinking, indeed his world.

    It is a Catch 22 for me. Because I do not want to think about how badly he feels about himself, his possibilities, his life. Sometimes I believe it must feel preferable to believe he does not love me, than to feel and know the reality of his suffering.
    OMG. To want to hold and hug them. To want him by me. To hear his voice. And to feel hostility and indifference, disgust or contempt. It is a horror.

    I believe tonight may be a turning point for me. I believe I will have the courage and the strength to hold onto my love, and to sustain it--even in the face of the cold shoulder and without reciprocity.

    I love him so much. I want him to not suffer, like he is. I have not one bit of control.
  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is a very interesting question, one I do not feel capable to answer.
    Darkwing, what do you think about this?

    I think PiscesMom has a point. Hypothetically, he could turn to something else, although I do not think he will. Paradoxically, he has strong self-regard and a sense of self-protection, I believe. He is very strongly against drug use and does not regard marijuana as a drug.

    I would be very interested in feedback about this question.
  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    PonyGirl, I am sorry you have to suffer from this. When and if you feel like it, I hope you will think about starting a thread.

    I am sure that many of us have had experience with alcoholism ourselves and with family.

    M is an alcoholic. He was drinking when I met him. He stopped completely in the first year we were together. He was a near life-long alcoholic, and drank to excess except for a 19 year period of sobriety in the middle of his life.
  12. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Copa, I'm following along and sending you ((HUGS))

    It's very common for many of us to think our adult children do not love us. Even when they scream at us that they don't love us I am sure deep down inside they do. If someone doesn't have self love it can be difficult for them to express love to someone else, especially a parent. To say those three words can be so hard to get out. Many of our d_c's do not love themselves instead they struggle with feelings of self hatred because of how out of control their lives have become. When it comes to us the parents they know how much they have disappointed us and I think that adds to their self hatred. It's such a vicious cycle.
    I'm glad that he was able to tell you that he loves you.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Tanya, my adult son Gone boy does not love me. He doesn't say it, but he shows it. Some grown kids do learn to leave us emotionally, however I don't think my son ever had the ability to attach in the first place.

    I agree that mostly they do love us. The few who can't, have personality disorders or attachment disorder.

    I haven't seen or spoken .to him in over ten years. I tried hard, but without any luck. I let go. He is not upset by men and his siblings not being in his life.

    There are adults however who are so damaged inside that they can't love anyone and mine is one. There are legions of forum posts about kids who told their parents good bye and never came back. If our kids are THAT type of adult child, often due to a new partners urging or when we cut off the money train, we could actually be disregarded and it can last forever. It's kind of a new or newly discussed epidemic.
    Last edited: May 22, 2016
  14. TheWalrus

    TheWalrus I Am The Walrus

    Totally agree, SWOT. I think my daughter's personality disorder prevents her from loving me, or anyone else - including herself. I don't think she knows what "love" is. She knows idealization but not love, although she calls her infatuations "love". She wasn't always this way. She wasn't that way as a child. The drug use pushes her ability to feel even further away. They say if you can't love yourself, you cannot love another. And my daughter is full of self-loathing. I hate this for her - to not know the joy and vulnerability and trust of love.

    Copa, I believe that is also why my daughter uses. It is the only time she feels like other people, and with other drug users, her erratic, impulsive, explosive behavior doesn't stand out. It is the only way she feels she can "fit in."
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Walrus, yeah, I'm sorry. With my son it is attachment disorder. He lived in an orphanage until he was six. He had so little sense of family that he once hinted to Princess, whom he was once close to, that he needed a wife and that they could actually marry and have kids since they were not related by blood. Daughter was appalled. "You're my brother! I don't think so! Gross!" (Sigh)

    I think if I had money, he'd stick around enough to get a piece of the pie, but he would not see me often. He keeps ex on a tight leash and only sees him on his terms.

    Some people are too damaged or ill to understand the kind of love we have for them. I wanted to say this because there are parents who post or read here who have been dismissed by their adult kids and I know people who were estranged until death. I don't want those parents to feel that our kids always love us because we are Mom and that it is their faults if they can't get those very cruel kids to even throw them a bone. It is not their fault, unless they abused the kids in the true sense of the word.

    There are many sites dedicated to grieving parents who don't know why their kids said good bye forever. I am glad Copas son loves her. Very happy. But not everyone can claim that. Hey, some parents don't love their kids either. There are no guarantees. Sadly. Some people can't love.

    Thank you for sharing, Walrus. It must have been hard. Usually, if we are dismissed, it is after our d c meets a person they are infatuated with who won't like us no matter what we try and they tell infatuated d c to cut us off. And they decide SO has a good point, and they are in love, so our problem child finally agrees with love object. This is a common scenario ..suddenly d c thinks we need to be banished. Cutting out money for drug users or just entitled d c is another big reason. Usually there is no explanation given.

    It IS hard to love another if you don't love yourself. That's where it starts. I call it love-impaired. Some are limited in how much they have to give. Some don't even understand love. But is not our faults. It is inside them.
    Last edited: May 22, 2016
  16. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    It is so hard to try to figure out what "love" is to our difficult children. They don't show it the way we do, we think they don't feel it the way we do, and then we must wonder about how much guilt and self-hatred affects expressing love. Then they are all at different stages of separating from their parents, separation that might have been delayed because of their issues as adolescents that they finally starting to work through. Add the effects of substance use on how they react with anything and anybody. All so terribly confusing. Love should not be a puzzle to piece back together, but that is how it feels sometimes.

    I thought the same thing about my son, that perhaps he is just not capable of loving back. I thought perhaps that he drank and drugged because it made him feel angry, and anger was better than feeling nothing at all. Now I believe he is *STARTING* to turn a corner with his alcohol use, and with it I have seen him return to being much more connected and empathetic toward others. From there, I hope baby steps will lead to him repairing relationships he has damaged. It won't happen overnight.

    I also think that for his own good he must be the one to do the repairs, just as I must be the one to repair the damage I have caused. It is how we make the changes we need to make, and how we make the changes permanent.

    Copa, I am glad that your son is working. I am glad that he knows about the drug testing, and even more glad that he is willing to explore some medications that will help him without all of the negatives that come with his MJ. He is meeting you halfway. He is doing it willingly. He is respecting your opinion, and not just because he "has to." This all sounds very optimistic to me!
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Albatross, when you are actively addicted, I think they all turn ugly. They love the drug first, everything else second. Gone Boy is sober. He's never had a drink. He has always been of sound mind. But six years in an orphanage affected him. As he grew he sometimes mentioned that he could attach to his friends, but could not think of us as his parents. He sounded regretful. But although I think he tried, he over reacted to what is for most just a normal disagreement. Plus he over attached to his wife. That is part of attachment disorder. Sometimes they can't attach, usually to parental figures. Other times they suffocate with attachment to certain people.

    Fortunately she wanted him all to herself. Hey, they're happy.

    I'm glad you and your son on trying to repair your relationship. Crossing eyes, fingers and toes for you :). Thanks for your good thoughts.
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  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am glad for you and for him, especially, Albatross.
    My son believes he has damaged a couple of relationships (not with us) irretrievably. I fear this may be the case. Two families had helped him over the years, a great deal. I believe that seeing this has been helpful to him that people accept one conditionally, and the expectation is respect, consideration and care, and also that one benefit from the association if it is one-sided.

    These people may have gone beyond what was advisable because there was the implicit expectation that my son benefit from their support, rather than using it to maintain stagnant. I believe he might be seeing that a little bit.

    Actually, I am glad he has only us left. Mean, I guess, but I craved his caring and his positive presence, I did not know how much. I also felt he did not benefit from people enabling him. It undermined his learning and I had no control.
    Well, he kind of has to now. No free lunch anywhere else. The awareness that everywhere if you do not give back, you wear out your welcome. All the way around, essential learning I think.

    Thank you everybody for the feedback and the support.
    Last edited: May 22, 2016
  19. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    None of this is new. Leaving aside all of the children that left parents in the old country (all of my grandparents did), I had a cousin who is maybe ten years older than I (now in his 70's) who left his family, disappearing all together in his 20's.

    Sometimes people need distance to be themselves. They feel overshadowed, or controlled, or rejected by their birth families. Or criticized. Or fear they will be criticized. And they do not feel strong enough to hold their own. It is not always a fearsome personality diagnosis or attachment disorder.

    I made distance from my family. I do not feel I suffer from either. I regret deeply I did not feel strong enough to hold my own with my mother. Sometimes it is vulnerability or weakness that keep children away. And there is great love there.
  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I feel sad.

    Yesterday there was a "situation" with M and my son that ended up consuming the whole day and night.

    M is a very careful and disciplined person about most everything. Especially the care of the animals. My son opened the front door and some discussion ensued with M. Stella the cat sauntered outside. She is not allowed outside.

    M (from Mx) does not have the same attitude towards animals. My son perceived M as manhandling the cat. He reacted, raised his voice, and went to the refrigerator and banged his head against it. *Logical, right? Then my son stormed out of the house.

    A visibly upset M came in to the bedroom and told me what happened. More or less.

    Later I went by the house where my son is staying, to see if he was alright. When he began to tell me what happened, in a dramatic voice, I interrupted him and said:

    I do not want you to talk behind M's back about him. If you have anything to say to him say it directly to him like an adult. I do not care what he did or did not do. That is between him and I, and I will keep it there. Speak to him directly, and not to me.

    If you feel his behavior is wrong or needs correcting tell him.

    Whatever it is he did, however wrong you may feel it is, he has our loyalty and our gratitude. I will handle my own responsibilities towards him, Stella and you directly with M, not behind his back.

    My son said he accepted this.

    Do you want me to ask M if it is OK with him that you come home for another night? (Big mistake but I was missing him, and he was complaining about lack of stimulation in the environment where he was.)

    Son: He is mad at me. I don't think he likes me.
    I don't think he will want me to come another night.

    Me: We will go over where he is working and you can tell him what ever you feel like, and we will see if it is OK.

    My son apologized to him for his part. M was gracious and warm. I stayed an hour chatting with the friends who M was helping by doing some plumbing. My son was warm and appropriate. We all went home and I was happy (for a few minutes.)

    Let me say this: I do not think it is wise to let my son too close in. I think it empowers him. I think he lets his guard down, and begins to dominate the space and subtly tries to dominate us. (He is good.)

    At some point I asked my son if he wanted Stella to stay with him. He said yes, and that he would be extremely careful about the door. (Until a year ago my son was defiant about Stella's feline rights, to be outside with diversions and fresh air--he does not mention the hawks and the eagles and the dogs. Let alone we have had a cat die of rat poisoning.)

    Alone I asked M what he thought about Stella going with my son, and he replied, "Do you want to see her dead on the street?" *My son is indifferent about leaving the door wide open.

    M and I were in the bedroom reading. I had been thinking about Stella, how I had to speak up. While Stella was fine, I did not want to feel about myself that I would keep quiet and not advocate for her. Most of all I make it a practice to speak up if something is bothering me or I am anxious about some matter that involves M, so as to not sit with it. You see, M gets defensive, and he can be hard. If you say 3 word, he can blow you away like a cannon. That is how it feels.

    At some point I spoke up to M. M, I am uncomfortable too about Stella being treated harshly.

    OK, Fine. I will let her go outside no problem. That is what you want. Son is gossiping to you. I knew he would. I told you about it first.

    No. I do not want that. But we need, all of us, to treat her gently. Even though you told me, does not make it right if she was not treated kindly. When she escapes I call her or chase her and catch her.

    M was mad.

    This is about son he was gossiping to you about me.

    Yes. He tried to and I would not allow it. But you see I have feelings about Stella being treated gently, too. You do not want that I not feel free to talk to you directly about whatever is bothering me. Do you?


    Then we have to be able to talk openly, the three of us.

    He had calmed down. M son was lurking outside the room and we told him to come in.

    The gist of what was said is this: M told my son: if you need to say something to me, tell me directly. You do not need to gossip to your mother. Whatever it is I will hear you. You are not a child. We can talk man to man. I will take responsibility for my behavior and you need to take responsibility for your own.

    Me: You are hard, sometimes, and defensive.

    M: Yes, I am hard. I am direct, too. I know it is hard. I have a daughter that will not talk to me. I know I am too hard. But I want the best for you and I want the best for your mother.

    Son, when I find that you are doing things that will upset your mother, and want her to throw you out, do I tell her, or do I keep it between us?

    My son tried to deny it.

    M: What about the marijuana, those times? There are some things that are between men. I want the best for you and for you to change for the better. My responsibility is to educate you so that you will learn how to work and to live.

    M agreed that Stella could go to stay with my son for a trial basis before I go back to work, so that I can oversee how it is going (and now I am afraid.) So things were smoothed over.

    Until I looked at my $3000 refrigerator with the dents in it.

    My son replied. I will pay for it. I will give you all of my next SSI check. (always his solution)

    What about taking responsibility for your behavior? How can you be justified in complaining about M when the next minute you did this?

    Everybody is responsible for their behavior. You are too.

    The moment before he had told me that he called the motel where he had lived free for 2 years plus, where the owner (a mutual friend) had enabled him to do what he wanted without responsibility or accountability. Four years later the guy finally had his fill of my son and now when my son goes there, even paying for a room, the owner is unfriendly, rejecting and barely tolerates him.

    My son left a message like this: Mc. You may not like this message but I need you to hear it. I could not but see your negative attitude towards me when I came to the motel, even though I offered to pay. I can see how you feel about me now and I understand I have burnt my bridges with you. That even though I will pay more money next time, you do not want me at the motel. I am sorry it has come to this, but given your attitude towards me I have no choice but to not come.

    I mean: This is a multi-million dollar operation. In a tourist city, this hotel is in the top tier. This owner is my age!!

    My son is acting like the owner is the bad guy. Like my son is making him responsible for his bad behavior.

    I told my son. Don't you understand? People when they help you expect something back. They expect you to prosper and they expect that if they give you a hand up, you will begin to climb. They do not want to keep being used. Especially when they realize that the help they are giving is helping you to either disrespect them or others.

    You can repair the relationships (hotel owner and the Brazilian father) easily, I believe, but it will take some work.

    Concentrate on yourself. Get a job. Go back to school, if you want. Make a nice place to live. Get some therapy. Get a handle on your life. Grow up. Take responsibility.

    Write a letter, asking for nothing. If they do not answer, write again. Tell them that what you have learned. Tell them what you gained from each of them, and how you learned and changed. Ask them for nothing ever again. Ask them to visit. Be patient if it takes time. They owe you nothing. It is you who owes them. If they want you to stay away, learn. Accept that there are costs to learning. And we have to accept them. Show that you have prospered and benefited from their friendship for you. That needs to be enough. Sometimes.

    I said to M yesterday. My son is not getting it. He is not learning. M agreed.

    I feel so sad.
    Last edited: May 23, 2016