How to handle the vultures (aka absent sibling) circling after parent's death?

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My dad died suddenly, though not unexpectedly, last month. I've posted here about him while he was alive but the recap he had cancer twice over a period of years, and eventually about 6 months ago started being hospitalised repeatedly with lung infections and sepsis, ultimately suddenly passing from pneumonia whilst in recovery from sepsis. My mom has life limiting leukemia. We're a small family and I have one sister who lives maybe 15 miles away.

I moved home from abroad a few years ago when my dad's health started to decline as my sister wasn't really useful and my mom was finding it tough. He never became terribly dependant on me or my mom really (compared to other posts I read here) but things were tough for him. He'd always been the strong I-can-fix-anything dad and gradually his body stopped co-operating. My sister wouldn't be the kind to visit or help out much at all, even when he was at his sickest. That was her decision and she's entitled to make it. Neither her nor her husband work and they have a lot of free time, but for reasons known to them they elected not to spend it visiting or helping either of my parents, even when I moved back overseas about a month before my dad died and my parents were back to being just the two of them at the house. I came back (again!) when my dad was taken into ICU a few days after I left, and I let my job go as I couldn't say for sure when I would make it back. So I'm staying at my parents' house temporarily whilst I job hunt, and helping my mom wade through the swathes of paperwork that go along with someone dying.

As if by magic, now that my dad is gone my sister and her husband are all over my mom like a rash. Constantly showing up at her house (wouldn't see them from one end of the week to the next before), wanting to go through my dad's things, talking about his finances etc. My mom says it's because they're hoping for a cut of my dad's life insurance (he co-signed on their mortgage and seeing as they choose not to work they can barely make their payments). What my mom does with her money is entirely up to her, but my heart is aching and my blood is boiling for all the times my dad needed their help and they wouldn't come, and when he wanted her to visit but she chose not to.

I know that this is my issue to work through, I couldn't make her help when he was alive and I managed to let that go at the time. I don't think it's guilt on her part that's led to this 180 change in character (I'd be inclined to agree with my mom's assertion!) and the rage is making me go bananas. I'm reluctant to leave as my mom's taken my dad's death very hard (she already suffers from depression) and I would worry about her being alone, but the compulsion to let go at my sister is growing! Help!

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Glasker, run not walk away from this. Get a job, find a new home and don't worry. Mom will be calling soon enough when things get bad and she needs someone to take care of her and sis is no where to be seen. I know, I have been in a similar situation for years. Now mom is very ill. I just spent a month with her. Found out she had placed my brother on all of her accounts as joint owner with rights of survivorship. Me on nothing. Brother had a "come to Jesus" meeting with her and told her he was giving me half. I smiled. Spent the month with her. She is still the same old cranky jerk she always was. Not going back until it is all over.

Some parents are parents in name only. Take care of yourself.
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Glasker, maybe you could put a few small items in a box and walk up to mom and just gently announce that you would like to have these few things to remember dad by, and I imagine she could care less, or that she would be relived that there is less for her to sort thru. Also if there were any things you'd given your dad, or made for him, you could point that out "remember I gave this to him for Christmas 2 years ago....." to bolster your sense of fairness. Might not work but might be worth a small try. You can always try.
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Just thought I'd pop in for an update! Regrettably things haven't improved and my relationship with my mom is almost zero at this point, which is very strange given that I am still staying at her house! She's started boxing up all my dad's things to donate (he passed 2.5 months ago) and let my sister take a lot of his personal effects/papers without enquiring if I wanted any of them. I let her know maybe it's a little soon to be getting rid of his things and maybe she could let the boxes sit a while.......naturally she didn't take kindly to it and I got a huge lecture on how she owns everything now, she decides what stays/goes, she never got to keep anything sentimental when her dad died (not sure what that has to do with anything really?) along with some other choice and wholly unpleasant personal insults thrown in. Everything I read says don't make any big decisions and give yourself a few months which is where I was coming from....but she knows best. I feel like the only way I'll get to keep any small items of sentimental value would be to start squirreling them away which is easy as I live here, but would be horribly dishonest. I'll be moving away in the next 2-3 weeks which is just aswell as my sister slithering all over my mom (and mom loving it) is still as upsetting as it was the first day.
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Mallory, my mother probably will… :(
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Mom can even leave her millions to her cats if she wishes.
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Everyone is well aware there are ways to exert influence on a senior, and when that happens it is time for authorities to step in, mete out the proper response. However, if a senior is not ALZ or dementia, or otherwise "incapacitated " as accepted by the judgement of The Authorities, then mom is free to do as she wishes with her assets. It is either a case of incapacitated, or not. Not incapacitated....she is free to do what she wishes with her assets. That is simple, and the Law.
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malloryg8r: "Mom's assets are hers to decide what to do, and mom is human".

True statement, but the fact of the matter is that mom is also very vulnerable to undue influence by a greedy sibling that is obviously financially exploiting her. So yes, mom's assets are hers and she is human, true, but she can be easily conned and manipulated by a cunning child that has private 24/7 access to her and holds her very life in her hands. Your answer is way too simplistic in my view.
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Mom's assets are hers to decide what to do, and mom is human.
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Glasker1, I truly feel for you and can very much relate to your feeling of being emotionally "shut out" by your sister and mother. I have been going through that myself, and it is very hurtful. After the last time I visited my mom, bending over backwards to do as much as possible for her and with her, she sat and talked to my sister on the phone in front of me like I wasn't even there. She was telling her all the things we did together that day, but leaving me completely out of the conversation. She told her "I" went shopping and to the doctor and then "I" had lunch and "I" went for a drive out where your brother used to live ( I used to live three doors down from him, but no mention of me). It hurt my feelings a lot, but I understand that my mom has to show total allegiance to my sister, who is her primary caretaker. She is dependent on my sister for everything except money, which my sister has total control of, but it does belong to my mom. So my mom has to pretend I don't exist because I stopped speaking to my sister several years ago, thus I am "the enemy". So I "get" why my mom treats me that way, although it still hurts. I don't think she's really aiming her malice at me, it's more about trying to stay in my sister's good graces by any means possible, since she is her "lifeline". I have come to think of my family as operating like a high school clique. My mom and my sister are the center of the clique, and they ostracize, slander and isolate anyone that doesn't play the game their way. My sister and mom have always been a "package deal" and if you want my mom in your life you have to accept all the crap my sister dishes out. My brother that I consider kind of an ally in all this, seems like he has even become afraid to communicate with me for fear it will backfire on him. He needs to play his cards right and stay in "good" with my mom and sister because he is counting on a share of the inheritance as his retirement plan, but just like me, he considers my sister and mom both to be liars not to be trusted. So he just lays low and hopes to pacify them both until my mom is gone. He is under the delusion that if my sister has hijacked our inheritance, by getting her name on all assets as POD or beneficiary, they will slug it out in court after our mom is gone. That may be way too late, but that's what he believes he can do. Good luck with that plan!! My other brother, the oldest, is not "playing with a full deck", so to speak. He is - and always has been - my sister's loyal minion and has very limited understanding of how she operates. In other words, he doesn't see beneath her mask or read between the lines. He is totally gullible and easily controlled and manipulated. So he has no problem staying in the game, never rocking the boat. My sister holds all the power in the family now. She has total control of our mom in every way, and that's just how it is. Glasker1, I don't blame you at all for bowing out of the situation you are in. It seems to be a no-win scenario for you, as your sister's fixation on your mom's money is motivating her to drive a wedge between you and your mom. Your statement: "Mom can't see that I have her interests at heart and that my sister has her own interests" pretty much says it all. Your mom doesn't see the difference because she doesn't WANT to see it. She is deluding herself into believing your sister has the purest of intentions. I am finding that elderly people pretty much believe what they want to believe regardless of facts or reality and obvious contradictions. That is what makes them so ripe for manipulation and exploitation - they are like putty in the hands of a good con artist. So they fall into the hands of people like your sister and mine, who have their eye on the prize. So sad, but hey, I don't know how much money your mom has, but if your sister takes care of all of her needs through her last days, she will probably have earned it. Sometimes we have to sit back and just let the eager beaver go after their prize without interference from us that have good intentions at heart. Our mothers are just to blind to see things how they really are. Hugs to you and hope you can find peace with the whole sad situation.
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LOL Veronica: Ah, the mystery meat probably circles back to America....SPAM !!! No wonder the Python boys put together "Spamalot"..lol!! Thank you for reassuring me that y'all don't eat no babies over there. :) I just can't help myself, I should probably change my screen name to "Caution Annoyance Factor High".....
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