I do realize this is off-topic. On the other hand, I can tell that some of you senior veterans have dealt with the sibling that did not provide much help or care. How do you handle it when your loved one dies, and now the unconcerned one is hovering like a freaking vulture. The estate is minimal. The faithful, but over emotional, sister-in law is so angry at her brother that I think she would fight him over a 10 year old couch. The old stuff is located several states away, where fetching it is problematic. My husband, the good brother, is willing to support his sister,, but less willing to drive 12 hours to secure her claim to the old furniture. She cries and wants it done this week. How does one help to take care of business without buying in to the whole drama thing? All thoughts appreciated. This is making my husband mean, and I would hate to have to club all three siblings with the rock.
Really, this isn't off topic. It's part of the whole picture.
And it depends on what you want your future relationship to be with the other family members. I saw my mother not participate in her mom's care for years. Her sister, my aunt, took care of their mother all by herself. She asked my mom to come and stay so she could go on vacation, but my mother always had an excuse. When my grandmother finally died, my aunt doled out money to her own kids, but gave me and my siblings nothing. My mother was so angry! I respectfully held my tongue, as she was my mom, but I had to agree with my aunt. My mom wasn't willing to lift a finger, not even for short breaks for my aunt. Why should we expect a thing later on? I saw the same thing happen in my husband's family. His mom took care of her mother-in-law for years without the siblings helping at all. After the funeral, they came knocking at the door with their hands out! They got nothing! But the result in both families was permanently broken relationships. My mother and her sister haven't spoken in over 20 years. My husband's relatives are the same way. As far as I'm concerned, the relationships are a lot more important than the "things." Memories are important, even to those who didn't help care for the loved one. Let them have what they want, as far as it's within your power. It makes me so sad that my mom and her only sibling have thrown their relationship away. I never want to see that happen with my own siblings over "stuff." When the time comes, they can have whatever they want. And since I'll be the executor of the estate, I can say that!
Maybe your husband can help his sister figure out a way to put the sofa (or whatever) in storage from a distance --- how to hire someone to go get it and either ship it or put it in storage or with a friend until she can make other arrangements to go get it herself or have someone go get it for her. He doesn't necessarily have to go himself. He can be supportive but still have boundaries.
I'm sure you don't need this added stress! Hang in there! And you have my permission to use your rocks if necessary.
Q, I agree with Blue that people and relationships are much more important than 'stuff'. I have seen numerous times (my grandmother, grandfather, great aunt, aunt, uncle, etc) where my mom's family got into all-out legal drama's over inanimate objects, things & money. At the end of the day (and in my opinion, the end of our lives) what is REALLY important are the people in our lives. I have had to remind relatives of this on several occasions, and perhaps you could do that gently. My family had a habit of sniping at one another from the grave in the form of the final 'will'. I have learned family and friends, people and other living creatures really matter and 'stuff' really does not. I hope this situation works out for you and I do hope you don't have to resort to the 'rock' method, but if that is what it takes, have at 'em.
I totally agree.... it is the relationships that are important. Stuff is just stuff and at some point your heirs will have to figure out what to do with the stuff once again.
I have watched too many relationship crumble over stuff. My aunt had my grandmother complete a new will that gave everything to her... when it was my Mom that cared for my grandmother for years during her battle with Alzheimer. My cousin was completely cut out when her brother had everything transfered to his name. My Aunt was angry with my Dad because he got the Hall Tree..... even though she got 75% of what was in the house and there were 9 children. I have made a joke of the fact that the say they share things in my hubby's family is that MIL gets half, brother gets half, ahd hubby got the brass bed (10 years before Nannie died). The ring (that I recently lost ) was the only thing I had of hers. My MIL didn't talk to her sister or brother for years over just this crazyness.
I am seeing some of this erupting in my immediate family as well. This is the reason that Mom and Dad's house is still sitting, a year after they left, much as it was the day they walked out. I actually had a buyer lined up, before the housing market fell apart, but yet it just sits because of the pobably disrution that emptying it is going to cause. The gifting Mom did to the grand daughters upset my sister that had not children.
I have reminded my sisters, not so gently, that it is just STUFF!!! I ask them if they are willing to trade a sister or sisters for STUFF. I also remind them that they have to live with the repercussions of their own choices. If a bowl is worth losing a sister over...... Time will tell how it turns out in my family.
After 2-3 years of staying *behind* my sibling-in-law, once he realised I was getting public sympathy in caring for HIS parents abused the He** out of me, to the point where we had to flee 1000km for my safety.
He then decided he had to do a bedside vigil for 2 weeks while his father declined and passed away.
Not bad ... 2 weeks to my 2-3 years.
Now? Well, HE'S renting out the house. HE's managed to buy a house (oh really? He was broke last time we looked) and although his mother still lives on (in a nursing home, with picks disease .. fit as a Malley Bull, but mentally not there anymore) HE's the one saying "look at what I did, I'm a good son"
... your loved one hasn't forgotten you ... the DISEASE doesn't remember you
I agree Quetzel....this is not "off topic" at all! This same subject has been mentioned before.
Dealing with the remnants of what this disease inflicted upon my family has caused 6 "kids" who all grew up in the same old farmhouse...went to the same school...had the same parents...and who had previously gotten along fine..............splinter apart. It makes no difference how important I think our relationships should be...too much damage done and feelings torn to easily repair what has been done
My Mom is still in the Alzheimer's Facility...10 years now. Near the beginning of her disease, the family antiques and other possesions that were not sold were put in storage. My suggestion was to have each one of us pay per month towards its' storage...or just go ahead and divide what each of us already knew was Mom's plans of "who-gets-what". The $60 per month was instead taken out of the $$$ meant to take care of our Mother. The brother-in-charge (I could write several pages of hateful things aimed only at me...) didn't like this suggestion until a year later when one of the other brothers came up with the same "idea".
What should have been a wonderful reunion of 6 adults (and their spouses)...laughing and crying at this challenging task full of memories and stories...turned into an awful day. As much as each of you who gather here would hope for wonderful endings...it just doesn't always happen like that.
I did have Thanksgiving dinner a few months later...it was ALWAYS me who hosted each holiday and picnic...and the obvious strain on everyone made me decide not to go to the trouble and expense another time. People were argueing...and most left after a couple hours. Now instead fixing dinner for 35, it's for 4. You'd think someone else would miss this and make an offer to have it!
Mom hasn't left us yet...and she'd feel so bad to know what has happened...but, even though our intentions are to keep good family relationships...................sometime s it just doesn't happen........Pam
I see that happening as well Pam. The close knit group of four sisters, there is only five years difference between me and the baby, are splintering. I get along with 2 and 3 ok but have problems with 4. 4 is not happy with anybody. 2 and 3 have problems but they are at least talking. The one weekend we went to clean up together 2 and 3 got in a big argument. 4 just jumped in with all her complaints. I must admit that I was not happy with any of them. The last time we went 4 refused to go. Then 4 sent accusatory e-mail about missing items that were actually still in the house. All we really accomplished was to clean out the food stuffs and the closets. The "stuff" is still all there. I dread the hard decisions.
Then we have the problem of location. 3 and 4 are close to Mom and Dad, therefore much of the day to day does fall on them. I did it the year before so I do understand and have truly tried to do my part. I get constant resentment that I am not always there. The three hour drive is prohibitive. 2 is truly the brunt of their anger. She works full time, many weeks 50 hours a week, and can only go on weekends. She also has a blended family of 5 kids and 4 grandkids to contend with and other activities.
It's only getting worse and I have yet to find a way to stop the snowball......
You know, I keep reading about all these sibling issues, and I am beginning to worry on my own front.
You have all heard how my brother has appeared to see dad when I send him a few thousand dollars. He stays a few days and *poof* gone. No calls, no emails, no card (boy, would that ever thrill daddy!)...nothing. And he has told me that when dad "goes", he wants nothing. It's all mine, says he, because I have done all the work. And he's quite right, too. There's no money to speak of, and the household contents are not my cup of tea - there's nothing I want, particularly, but he deserves buppkiss.
And after reading your posts, I think I may have another think coming. I may face the fact that after dad does indeed "go", my loving absent brother may very well swoop in and demand what little is left.
I think there needs to be a rule. Let's make one, k? If YOU are the one getting the 1am calls, if YOU are the one that is listening to the crying and sadness our loved ones lay on us, not to speak of the anger flung in our direction, if YOU are the one that is cleaning out the house, dealing with realtors, turning off the cable and locking the door, if YOU are the one talking to the Director of Nurses, checking their charts, keeping track of the night shift, if YOU are the one that takes mom/dad/dh to the doctor, interprets your loved ones mutterings so the doctor can understand what's going on, if YOU are the one that has tied their shoes/wiped their butt/buttoned their shirts/cleaned up after their spills, tucked them in for the 4th time tonight, then YOU are the one that decides where all the "stuff" goes.
Whaddya' say, y'all? And all the sibs that think they get to be "boss" can do a full year of what WE do..THEN, and ONLY then, do they have a say.
I'm mad. Daggoned mad. Mad at all the stuff y'all are putting up with, in ADDITION to the impossibly hard stuff involved with caring for our demented loved ones. How DARE anyone...ANYONE...give you guys grief? Oh man.
I'm gonna go eat some chocolate. That's how mad I am...
Ah lil' deb, I hear you sister. My husband's family is my first experience with siblings fighting. But I can't tell you how many times I've seen this situation, a parent dies and the remaining parent remarries. Parent and new spouse live happily until parent is diagnosed with terminal illness. New spouse provides loving and tender care, freeing the children to raise their families, do their jobs, live their lives. After parent dies, children are angry that new spouse gets family home. I figure new spouse earned it. If you figured what all that care would have cost had the children hired someone, new spouse may even be a bargain. People seem so able to forget the loving effort after it is no longer needed. My husbands situation is still unresolved. He doesn't know if he can take off work, and the only rush is his sister's fear that her brother is even now driving his mom's car. Which he may be, but who cares? Dear husband doesn't mind if he has no relationship with brother in the future, as that won't really be any different than the status quo, he really didn't deal much with sister until his mother's illness, no animosity, just two radically different ways of life. He just wants this over. Pray for us. I know you're really too good a person lil deb to do the spite thing should your brother want any of your dad's stuff. Be generous, tell your brother that your father's last wish was that he have the one thing that meant the most to him...the stupid fat dog!
Love to all
Actually, it is my intention to split anything left with my brother 50/50. Not that he has it comin', but fair is fair, and he WAS the Golden Child, after all. No, I will not be able to live with myself if I don't.
But I gotta tell ya', I think it is pure GENIUS to inform bro that it was dad's last, perfect wish that the fat, stupid dog go live with him!
Don't think I won't do it, either. That was hySTERical! How totally PERFECT!!!
You two have me laughing now. YES YES YES..... the last request of your Dad was for the golden brother to have the fat stupid dog little deb... PERFECT!!!!!
My mom told me something a long time ago that I think of often...... THE ONLY FAIR IS IN OCTOBER!!! It's the state fair and they have such fun rides. Otherwise fair is illusive.... So do what you know is right to do and let others take the responsibility for themselves and their actions.
In my case, as if to make up for years of being the only caregiver, my two siblings gave me anything I wanted from Mom's things. Right after the funeral, my brother insisted I take Mom's wedding and engagement rings, and recently when I went to NY to share out her remaining belongings, I was almost coerced by the others to take whatever I wanted, mailing what I could not carry. They repeatedly told me 'YOU did the bulk of the care, you deserve it." My sister only wanted Mom's good china, and although she didn't come to NY, she told me on the phone to take anything I wanted, even things she had bought for Mom, even hand stitched pillows she made. So in the end her guilt and my hard work did get me some rewards. In a small curio cabinet I have several of Mom's best and nicest knick knacks, small figurines, a vase, a candy dish etc. Like me, Mom loved blue, so practically everything is in shades of blue and looks wonderful in my apartment.
Somewhere deep inside, the deniers and non-helpers DO appreciate what you do. I even think the relationship between my sister and me is getting better, slowly, over the phone. Although living in a neighboring state, she has not come here and has rejected my offer to come there ..but at least we are talkng on the phone ... (she is the one who said I was keeping Mom a prisoner in her own home ....)
I am glad to hear that you are at least talking to your sister Martha. I know she caused you much grief at the time and it says something about the special person you are that you are still trying to mend the relationship. I have found that forgiveness is more for ourselves than for others. It allows us to release the pain and anger so we can go on with our lives in a constructive way and not be burdened down by the actions of others. You are an example for us all.....
I am comforted and saddened at the same time to see that mine is not the only family destroyed by this illness.
There is no way there will be any healing in my family after this.....even if my mom and uncle could forgive them for leaving them to do the caregiving alone......(while they all live happily 5 minutes away)......there will be no forgiveness for what they have done to my grandma. For all the nights at 3am when she is calling out to them, screaming, "Dear God, what have I done that my babies have left me"? "I'm not a bad person, why do they hate me?". That she will leave this earth with these thoughts is not something I know I can forgive or forget. All the siblings, grandchildren, all within an arms reach, but may as well be oceans away. My grandma is suffering......there is no cure....nothing to stop it. The only medicine is love from her family....and even that has been withdrawn. They have the nerve still to accuse my uncle of "withholding" grandma from them. They had the nerve to say "we have our rights". He is not the devil with horns, he is their brother. He is the one who changes her, feeds her, gives his life 24/7 to her. If he is difficult to deal with due to exhaustion and burnout, then he is what "they" created. It did not need to be this way if everyone took a turn in caring for grandma. I think they are pathetic......I'm an only child, so dont know what it's like to have a sibling.....but I do know that no tension between any brother or sister would prevent me from seeing my mother if she was ill. He is their excuse...their guilty conscience........and god forgive me, what goes around comes around. This I say of the people who I once loved..........sad.
My Grandmother died of dementia, and here is how my Mom handled it:
Me: oldest grandchild - faithful and obedient - took her everywhere
Brother: Gran's all time favorite...they were best buds
Sister: Couldn't give a hoot about Gran
Mom: hated Gran and Brother (Mom's middle child)
Mom gave Sister first dibs on everything (very little) Gran had, then called me (Sis got what she wanted before I knew). I immediately call lil bro and found out he didn't know Mom was getting rid of stuff. I asked him what he wanted and then made arrangements to take what I (and unbeknownst to Mom what Brother wanted). My Gran had nothing, everything was basically for sentimental reasons (Mom made sure she got all the photos, even though she hated Gran). Gran had an almost new bed, only thing Sis took (she had no attachment to Gran).
The result: Brother and I no longer speak to mom and dad. I only recently began speaking to sister again. Brother never held a grudge against sis. I did because I think she should have called me to let me know what mom was up to (she knows what a nasty woman mom is). It isn't the "stuff", it is the way people use the death of a family member to get back at other family members.
My Sister only visited Gran once, two days before she died. My brother and I sat by her side for the last two days she was alive. We visited all the time when she was well and even when she wasn't. Sis didn't. I still harbor resentment. Our family is done.
I have slightly different circumstances, but in general feel exactly the same way as you do about my family. I understand completely.......sorry this happened to your family....it is sad I know....
WHEW! Somehow it's comforting....(not too much, but a teensy little bit...) to hear I'm not the only one who has watched the sad breakup of their family. I often wonder if those who have detached themselves feel as sad as we do......
What this all makes us realize is the wonderful gift many have of being able to face this horrendous disease with the help and support of other family members...hope those who face these challenges with support and help realize just how fortunate they are!! My "far-away" sister does call me weekly and has the broadest shoulders and best listening ears...and my own children have seen first hand what has happened to all of us. I miss the 4 brothers...but they've made their choices.
My "Mom-visits" still happen every week...but how nice it would be to run into one of them there.....it just isn't going to happen................Pam
I think the answer to your question Petal is YES!!!!! That is one reason I am trying to prevent just what I am reading here from happening in my family. Yes, I still talk to all of my sisters.... regardless of what antics they pull. Sometimes it's not easy but Mom and Dad will not be here forever and then they are all I have left. Beyond that it does take all of us working together to be sure Mom and Dad have the best care possible. As I said last night.... forgiveness is not for the offender but for yourself so you can move forward without carrying the anger and frustration with you. I will keep reaching out because that is my choice. The only way I would not have some relationship with my sisters is if they turned their back on my efforts and that is their choice. I don't want it to be me that does it.
I can relate to your story Way. In my husband's family, Mom takes what she wants, brother gets everything he wants, and if there is anything left they might call hubby... That's his family and I let them deal with it... I deal with mine
I so admire your attitude towards your family. I hope and pray everything remains as is, and your family can remain in tact, as much as it is today. I can be angry, so very angry at my aunts, and cousins for their neglect and ignorance, but there is not a day that goes by that I dont wish things were different. The last time I was pregnant, I received so many good wishes from my family. And now I dont even believe they know I am pregnant, much less care. I miss them.....and the knowledge that when grandma is gone, they will truly be out of reach is very sad. I miss what we used to be, before this illness came into our lives. But as I've said before, I believe it really just shows people in their true colors.....maybe they were always that way.....who knows.
You have a great way of thinking Deb......I can see you want to hold on to your family, but without letting go of yourself and your own happiness. I really admire that....I wish my family were more like that.
Love, Caroline xo
Gabriel, I wish I had your attitude. But the pain lasts. I lived and hour and a half from Gran and went every Sunday, even for the short time she was in the nursing home. My childless sis lived 10 mins a way, visted once, two days before she died. My brother and Sister-in-law alternated days (work, kids, etc.). They lived 20 mins away. My Mother rarely visited - and when she did she told my Gran that my brother was responsible for her being in the NH. Amazingly she had enough sense to know that wasn't true. It is amazing what people will or will not do with this disease. I could relate so many horrible stories but now I am getting welled up so I better go. I just miss having half my family. And my lil brother's kids (4) miss having grandparents. Stinks.