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Grief & Loss Message Board
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Old 03-22-2007, 07:21 PM   #1
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Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia, CANADA
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toeser HB User
Just Getting It Out

Where to start.... I was raised by my great-aunt (Nane) (fraternal grandfather's sister) who also raised my biological father (her nephew) at the same time as raising her son. Bio parents split when I was two and gave custody of me to her. Her and her common-law partner (Den) raised me as an only child. To me they are my "parents" although I was blessed having good relationship with both the bio-Dad and my stepmom; and bio-Mom and my stepdad. Lots of parents, unconventional upbrnging but functional nonetheless.

Nane's biological son married and had two children - a granddaughter not much younger than me and a grandson a few years younger. His wife died in a tragic car accident in 1989 when the kids were 19 and 14 (I was 20). He died five years ago from cancer. The loss of them both was quite difficult, her especially since she was so young and the accident was horrific. So I have experience with death and grief.

All of that background is to explain who is who. I have a great relationship with both bio-parents. My venting is over Nane.

October 3, 2006 after years of illness, Den who raised me died at the age of 67. Although not biological, he in my heart was my Dad and the grief I have had is that of someone losing their father. He had no biological children and showered me with lots of love - no easy task in a house not very full of it. Although he and Nane were together 43 years at the time of his death, she was horribly verbally abusive to him and continues to be verbally abusive to me and I'm 37. As executor of his will, I have spent the months since daily dealing with credit, life insurance and his pension for her as she would never be able to do any of this on her own. She is older than him, currently 83. During this time of grief for me, she has shown no grief whatsoever, didn't go to the funeral (which is her personality - she didn't attend her son's either) moreso annoyance that he died because now her life has to change and "when is she getting her money." She is completely dependent on me and her grandchildren for everything. It's incredibly difficult for me because I loved Den very much and I don't see that she loved him ever.

The months following his death have been terrible. She was unable, due to an extreme case or irrational fear, of staying overnight by herself so for five months up until February 1, her granddaughter and I were having to spend the evenings with her. Each night her granddaughter would get off work, go and get her and take her to her house to stay; I would come from my home - two hours away for a few days and stay with her. I live two hours away and her granddaughter lives in the same town as her. During these five months, she continually was argumentative and non-cooperative. She is completely dependent on us for everything, she does not go to the bank, into any stores, etc. and just continually tells us "she doesn't need us for anything" yet needs us for everything.

At the beginning of last year, I met a wonderful man so we were relatively new in our relationship and he was incredibly supportive of everything - Dad's sickness, Dad's death, and with Mom. However, it has been difficult when I have to leave for days on end. I quit my job and started my own business to have the time to come when needed. In January he proposed which was wonderful but sad that Den did not get to see it.

Of course I shared my great news with Nane but didn't really get any type of well wishes from her. Mostly to the opposite.

In February, she finally moved into a lovely one-bedroom seniors apartment which she daily complains about. The move was terrible as she was uncooperative again and lashed out at me by saying she hoped my finance would punch me in the face with my new ring to shut me up. It was probably the worst thing she has ever said because she's trying to use the love that I found as her insult.

Last week, her granddaughter found her unresponsive and called 911. She spent one week in intensive care and suffered a heart attack in ICU but now is doing remarkably well and still is in hospital where her granddaughter and I have been visiting daily. I know she's feeling better because she is now starting to get verbally abusive again and non-cooperative blaming all of this on me. She's argumentative to her grandchildren but abusive to me. Perhaps she's more comfortable with me, I don't know.

My whole purpose of writing this is because today was another bad day at the hospital with her because I just don't know if I am making any right decisions. Of course I want to try to support her because she's my mother but at the same time, at what point should I say "I've tried and now I've had enough" and walk away from her at this stage in her life. I feel I would have a lifetime of guilt if I did that. I don't feel like I've had the chance to properly grieve the loss of Dad because I've had to manage this situation with Nane.

I don't know if I'm hurt because she's mean to me and nicer to her grandchildren; or because she sees Dad's death as inconvenient for her. I know she doesn't truly see me as "hers" but yet she refers to my bio-Dad as hers??? I don't know what I did to make her be the way she is with me.

When I re-read this, I almost feel embarrassed to post it because this does not come close to some of the posts I've read here.

I've posted it in Grief and Loss because my confusion is about the grief of my Dad and Loss I guess of Nane. Does she just not want me to help but at the same time relies on it?

I'm so confused.

 
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Old 04-01-2007, 06:39 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Tennessee USA
Posts: 231
greenidme HB User
Re: Just Getting It Out

toeser- don't feel embarrassed here!!!!! This site is exactly where you need to be. Your situation is complicated and delicate. You are doing everything you can and probably should. Her response to your help is inappropriate, at least, and cruel as well. You can't change that. You can only do what you think your dad would want you to do. Do you think he would have wanted you to help her whether she appreciated it or not? Probably so. As tough as it is on you, it sounds like your fiance is supportive- thank God for that!
I think you are angry for a number of reasons- all the ones you mentioned and probably more. Have you sought counselling? I know it sounds like a cop-out but I personally find it very helpful to tell a professional EXACTLY what I think and feel. The way I act around others is tempered because of it.
You are in my thoughts and prayers and I am SO sorry for your loss.

 
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