Pillars of Pine

Pillars of Pine

Thursday, June 14, 2012

From Happiness to ……..

Well, things can certainly change in a day.  I’m hoping that there is someone out there who could offer some advice…..

Both my Dad and Mum are now in the Old Folk’s Home.  Mum went in about three weeks ago, Dad’s been in there a couple of years.

I’ve been gathering a list of anything that any of my brothers or my sister would like to keep, once we decide what to do with the house.  My sister lives nearby, and we’ve had some discussions, but as Mum often goes home to check on things, sort things out, etc., we haven’t taken anything from the property – it’s still their house, after all.

However, we seem to have a brother (or more correctly, a sister-in-law), who feels differently.  They know that Mum is suffering from Alzheimer’s, and that she often promises things to several different people, and then has no memory of any of it.  A few weeks ago, they turned up, emptied several cupboards, and took off with them.  When I tried to intervene, they said that they had ‘an arrangement’ with Mum, and that she’d promised them these cupboards for years. Despite the fact that Mum said, right there and then, she didn’t want them to take them, they ‘compromised’ by leaving her one cupboard, but still took the others.

Fast forward to today.  I’ve just found out that they came up last weekend, spent a little time with Mum in the home, and then spent TWO days in the house, and I quote, ‘cleaning’.  This, of course, also meant taking more things, despite the fact that when I saw them last time, I explained that nothing else was to be removed from the house, until we’ve all had a chance to chat about it as a family, and make the list as to who wants what.

My other sister-in-law asked me to keep aside for her some special plates – royal plates actually, which are heaps old, and have been in the family – well, forever.  Guess what was gone when I walked into the family home today?  I am so mad at myself for not taking those plates as soon as she’d asked me to.  I really trusted the fact they wouldn’t take anything else  – stupid, stupid, stupid…….

When I called my brother to ask if they'd taken the plates, he said they had, but was very vague when I asked what else they'd taken.  I asked for them to be returned, and they said they might bring back a couple (no doubt the least valuable ones of the set). It's a SET, and it was promised to my other sister-in-law.  I know it, and my Mum has said this also.  My brother became very accusative and almost abusive on the phone - and when I said not to take anything from the shed, as my husband still has some of his tools in there, he basicially accused me of lying, insinuating that we were tying lay claim to things that were not ours.

So, the question is – what to do from here?  I was determined not to remove anything from the house while Mum is still alive and heading home to spend time there, but, I think I’m just going to have to go in and put into storage anything that is left.  

The really stupid thing is, no-one in our family is materialistic.  None of us really care about possessions, what we care about is this particular person coming into the family, and taking anything she can get her hands on.  I don’t ever recall any of us even having a fight before, but, we’ve got one now.   And, so long as they can sneak in and sweet-talk Mum into letting them take stuff, they will continue (if, of course, there is anything left of value).

And now, for the news that topped off the day totally.  My Dad.  I called into see him today, but he was asleep.  He’s been asleep for most of the week, and when he isn’t, he’s frightened because of all the bad dreams he’s been having, and experiencing dizzy spells.  He’s told my Mum that he is ‘ready to go’.  So, on top of everything, my Dad may be very well nearing the end, and I need to spend as much time with him as possible.

If there’s anyone out there who may have some advice or experience in these matters, I’d really love to hear from you.  I know what they’ve done is wrong, but it doesn’t seem there’s much I can do about it, and the last thing I need to do is to upset Mum, especially at this moment.  I just cannot grasp the concept of taking from the family like that, and justifying it with ‘but Mum said we could take it’, knowing her condition.  The entire family is furious, and yet, they still continue to say that they are in the right.



Deanne said...

What a tough situation! Fortunately my sister and I sat down with my mum and wrote down things she wanted for her funeral, who was to get what jewellery etc. while she was still capable. But we had the difficult task of cleaning out her house while she waited for a place in an aged care facility- she was stuck in hospital and it was quite hard on her- as she expected us to sell lots of stuff that wasn't worth anything and no-one wanted and she couldn't understand this. My sister took some things that I thought I should have got - but in the end I just had to take a deep breath and let it go- however when one sibling is taking things without consultation that becomes difficult-yes change the locks and arrange a meeting with the family members and your mum soon as possible to discuss who gets what and write it down- get a mediator to help if you think there may be arguments or problems.

Linda said...

Thankyou for all the advice! The locks have been changed, and we met with a lawyer. I've actually held Power of Attorney for 3 years, but didn't really understand what that all meant.

I do now.

Unfortunately, when I approached my brother on this, he just said he knew, but he has the 'right' to go into the home, clean up, and take whatever he claims Mum has offered to him. As I'm 13 years his junior, he still sees me as the 'little sister', and refuses to accept my authority on the matter.

I'm really, really hoping this does not end up with me formally charging them with theft, but I fear their 'claims' are not over yet.

Thanks, though - I am amazingly calm over it all. My parents really don't own that much, and as nearly all the antique items are now gone, there's not much left.

And the most stupid thing? They didn't even keep the cupboards. They say they 'gave' them away. Why, why why, all the drama if they only took them to 'give' them away? Yeh, that's what I think, too......