Follow
Share

Mom passed away January 5. She had only recently moved to an assisted living near me, 600 miles from her home. So, we spent a week emptying her assisted living apartment, then took off immediately for her hometown in order to do a memorial service. My sister drove all the way across the country, so we needed to do the service while she was there.

Now that the service is done, we are back in our own home, but have a lot of mom's stuff here. We were crowded before, worse now! My mom also still has her house and all her stuff (we had hoped to get her well enough to take her BACK) and now my brother, sister, and I have to deal with it all.

My husband thinks it should be done NOW. In fact, he sent three of our kids down there to do some packing and evaluation, and he thinks I should just have THEM dispense with stuff without me even looking at it. He thinks that for me to ask that we wait a couple of months, and for me to say that my brother should be allowed some choices in how it's done, is inefficient and wrong. He sees no reason I should set myself up as the "gatekeeper" who needs to see everything that is going to be disposed of.

I maintain there is no hurry, as the trust will not be dealt with until my brother, sister, and I create our OWN trusts into which the inheritance will go. I don't understand my husband's hurry, or his telling me if I don't do it the efficient way I shouldn't count on any help from him, I can just hire people to pack and haul stuff.

I am so angry at him. He just thinks he is being helpful. He is a project manager by profession, and sees everything in terms of logic trees and action plans. I keep telling him it doesn't work that way in this situation.

Any ideas? My heart is aching, we've just been through a horrible time with mom's death and a related investigation.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
I think you're husband is experiencing overload and is taking it all out on you. His orderly world has been turned upside down and he just wants it back to order. The longer you wait to deal with everything (which of course you should not rush through) the longer he sees his world in chaos.

Try to acknowledge his distress at things being out of his control and see if you can get him to verbally acknowledge your commitment of being the gatekeeper through to the end. Then the two of you might be able to be a bit more understanding of where each other is coming from and try to work out a livable compromise during this time of topsy turvy...
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

i'd just tell him to F off, but that's just me.














*giggles*
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Going through all of your parents stuff, to me, is theraputic to say the least. This is NOT something for anyone but you and your siblings to do in your own time. I think hubby is probably trying to get it done so that you can "get over" your grief" faster and things will become normal again. It doesn't work that way and we know that but apparently, that is how he thinks. For me, going through each piece of clothing, each little knick-knack, was important. I needed to feel and smell the clothing that still said "mom" and her perfume. I needed to see that she kept all the stupid little things I made for her when I was little and I needed to somehow "reconnect" to the part of mom that I hadn't known. We all have that part of us that we keep to ourselves. Whether it's that we hate bugs and never told anyone or something bigger. Purging things in our own time gives us the opportunity for memories again and you need them to move on. For literally, 30 yearsm, I had asked my mom for a recipe for oatmeal cookies she made in my childhood every year. 30 years and she kept telling me that she somehow lost it and had never found it again. Where was it? In her nighttable drawer at the very bottom just sitting there 5 days after her death. Coincidence? Maybe but I can' t tell you how many times I had been in that drawer looking for other things. I also can't tell you what a good feeling it was to think that mommy found it for me somehow and gave it to me when I needed a sign the most. YOU need to do things in your own time. I beg of you not to allow someone else to make the decision of when to go through things for you. It's a process and you'll get to it when you are able to. Maybe your hubby can talk to people from hospice. They are very good with the family problems as well. Hugs to you.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I second that part about the estate sale - not to encourage hoarding or anything, giving away is better :-), but do realize that they tend to sell things for a very low price and if you think anything will be worth more to you sentimentally, err on the side of keeping it. I was stunned at how little we netted when we did my mom's sale, and had mistakenly been very careful to keep only sentimental "junk" tht would be worth little or nothing monetarily for myself, as I had thought we'd be raising more funds to actually help with her care. I would love to have that nice grandfather clock and console TV set now, to be honest! Just my $0.02, different compaines have different philosophies and do things differently; the ones who underprice are going to have the most customers at the sale and they clear out more items, which leaves them less work afterwards..I ended up having to scavenge some of the things that I told them I wanted if they didn't sell...NOT a real good memory there.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Handling an estate is not so difficult, so there is no need to hurry. You and your siblings can sort through what you want to keep in your own time, then hire an estate sale company to come in to sell what you do not want. Good estate sales teams know what they are doing and will organize everything for you. They work for a base amount plus commission on the sales.Take your time and enjoy the memories. That is your only task now. Everything else will fall in place later.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Thanks Wayne! Too many good memories to rush through and lose. So many things can't be replaced.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Deefer12-
You are spot on !!!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

You definitely need to have a serious talk with your husband! This is not his call and he should let you and your sibs do this at your pace, not his! Wayne is right too! There may be things that need to be passed down, but if someone else finds them and doesn't see the value, then they will be lost!
I have recently been finding things Mom has kept in the attic from her patents who have been gone for years! I'm so glad she got sick and forgot about them because there are many treasures that she would have thrown out or given to my sibs, that they would have sold or thrown out.
WWI and WWII memorabilia that should stay in the family for sure, and things that I can donate to history museums. I also found my dad's uncle's discharge papers from WWII and a document signed by President Harry S. Truman! My brother would keep this for sure, but I'm going to give it to my dad's one surviving brother. I don't feel it is ours to keep.
So Beachy, have a nice talk with your husband and explain your feelings and if he doesn't understand, that would be his problem. This is something you have to do for yourself!
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

Nobody likes ultimatums especially in the midst of grieving the loss of a loved one!
You nailed it on the head- your husband is a Project Manager, myself being an architect I understand the proclivity to plan, plan, plan...and then plan some more.
But this is not the time for your husband to wear the "work hat" though I know, as do you, he really thinks this is being helpful.
This is a time for empathy and patience and understanding and compassion and support and LOVE !!!
I have no business telling anyone what to do or how to react to a situation as I know little about the exact details but if I were you I would take him by the hand, in a quite and "safe" environment, and tell him directly he needs to trust you on this- trust that YOU know what you are doing and rushing through the dismantling of your Mom's house is simply NOT an option. If you frame this message carefully he will back off. And if he does not you need to re-think the strategy though I can not imagine a truly good man ignoring your viewpoint.
I have been the designated "organizer"/"sifter though-er"/"project manager" for no less than very 4 important and deeply loved ones in my life and I can tell you first hand that YOU are the only one who can offer this final act of respect.
This is perhaps the last chance you have to put the proverbial pieces together, literally and emotionally, in order to grieve fully and completely in a loving and respectful way.
Stuff is only "stuff" but how would any of us like the remnants of our lives hastily gone through? I would not.
The process of going through the possessions of a loved one in a careful, thoughtful and loving manner is the ULTIMATE gesture of respect and love.
On another note, this is a VERY serious "task"- you may find things that are vital and significant and perhaps very valuable which others who have been assigned the "job' might not understand.
I am so grateful that I was the one who did this for the 4 people I lost. I found so many beautiful and valuable (not necessarily in terms of money) items that would have ended up in the landfill.
Please hold to your convictions- this is a huge burden AND a great opportunity rolled into one.
Good Luck BeachyBirdie !
WMR
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

my heart goes out to you. My husband is an engineer/project mgr and he will be/has said teh same things to me. My father died two years ago and my Mom will be dying in the next few days/weeks according to hospice/nursing staff. I, like you, wish there was some way to turn my husband around and make him realize that my parent's house is mine to do with as I see appropriate and it is not up to him to set deadlines for everything. He is always sending me excel spreadsheets of how I should be cleaning the house and getting it ready to sell once my Mom dies. He doesn't understand that every time I deal with my parent's house it just makes me miss them more and re-inforces that my Mom will be dying too. It's hard enough to visit her all the time and watch her slowly waste away without having to deal with the house. And lets not even get started on all the paperwork and responsibilities of being my Mom's legal guardian and conservator. It is really all more than I can handle and to have my husband pushing me to fix up my Mom's house is the last straw. and then when I throw my brother in to the mix it is even worse, he is totally worthless and a detriment to situation, just waiting there trying to get his hands on the money that may be left. He isn't even visiting my mom even though I told him she may well be dying too. I don't know how everyone does all this because I know I am not the only one going through it.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Generally, men seem to process things differently than women. All issues are something that needs to be resolved asap. With your husband's job profession, he may be a little more so than other men. Sometimes women just need to express feelings & then deal with the issues within themselves. I had a similar situation when it came to dealing with my parent's house & belongings (they are alive, but disabled & living in a facility). I finally sat him down & explained to him that he was not helping with the situation & that the more he pushed, the harder it was on me. My sister does not live here & she had to be involved. I finally said it enough that, for the most part, he gets it. I'm not saying it does not come up, but it rarely becomes a heated discussion (although the stuff at our house led to one last week) or one in which I shut down anymore. Now he usually stays out of things unless I need him to do something. Tomorrow he is going to hang ceiling fans for me (we are getting the house ready to sell). Someday I will have time to do something with all of my parent's stuff that is at our house. Hopefully by then, we will have resolved our issues about it like we did the house. We need to remember they are having a hard time dealing with all of this too. Not all are grieving, though a lot are, but they are being reminded of their aging. They are also having to share their wife's time & energy.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Jeanne is right - though there are stories on here of people not taking care of an estate for years and years, and of course there are expenses and problems invovled in having a vacated home (insurance will cut off, for example) but you need a little time to set up your own trusts and a little space to make sure you can collect the things that mean something to you and not just have them all unsentimentally given away or worse, thrown out...a few months does not sound like too much to ask, and hubby may be one to deal with grief by removing all traces as quickly as possible and throwing himself into planning and doing. Has he lost a parent yet himself?
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Assure your husband that he is a wonderful project manager and you really appreciate those skills in many, many home and family activities, but this isn't one of them. Grief is not a "project," there is no bonus for getting things done "early," and cost-effectiveness is just not a factor. You and your siblings need to do this in a way that works for you emotionally, and that contributes to your healing, and to your ongoing relationships. Give your husband credit for meaning well, but don't allow his notions to run your relationship with your siblings.

You hope he will support you in your time of bereavement, but if he can only do that if you do things his way, well you'll get by without his help.

He sent your kids down to pack stuff up? I am sorry, but that was not his place AT ALL. Those possessions are NOT HIS. Even as a project manager, he has overstepped his boundaries there. And putting the kids in the middle between what he thinks should happen and what you want is very inappropriate parenting, no matter how old the kids are.

This is not his project. It is not a project at all. I'm trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, but, wow, I'm having a hard time. I hope you can do that better!

I am a business systems analyst. Cost-benefit analysis is my daily bread. I work all the time with project managers and really admire that skillset. I applied some of those principles a couple of months ago when I planned and carried out my own husband's memorial service. There is a place for that business-like approach. But let me say emphatically that the mourning process is NOT the place for it.

(Is your husband a teeny bit jealous over all the time and effort bereavement is demanding of you? Is he feeling neglected?)
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Oh beachybirdie grief issues can be such a trial between spouses!

People grieve so differently and have such different feelings about how to deal with grief issues. Robert Frost wrote a poem about the separation between a husband and wife at the loss of their infant. Such a tragedy for grief to come between a marriage.

Pain can be so deep and people express their grief so differently. So many people seem to like to judge and issue directions to those who are grieving.

My husband had some idiotic idea that I needed to see my dad's body to know he was dead. Maybe that is something that some people need, but I didn't gain or lose anything. I was able to "realize" he was gone when I entered his home and he was not there.

Your husband may be imposing his will upon you because that's how he thinks grief should be "project managed". Who knows where he's coming from as grief is so very personal.

You have to give him as much allowance as you want for yourself. I had friends who nearly divorced after the loss of their infant. She felt he wasn't showing his grief enough and he worried that her grief was hurting their young children.

These are touchy times and sometimes we look for targets for our frustration. Hold your ground if you feel you are being rushed, but don't take hold it personally against him.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.