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I know, the question sounds insane. You would almost have to have grown up in my family to understand why I'm even asking. So here's the background info. My mom is in a NH with close to end-stage Alzheimer's. I have spent my health taking care for her for over 10 years while my do-nothing sister angled for her money, stole from her, verbally abused her, and tried to kidnap her once. (Yes, she tried to take my mom to her state--with no one's knowledge-- so she could have access to mom's social security check.) Don't misunderstand the words "spent my health"; I would do it again in a heartbeat. Spent my health simply states a fact that every caregiver who actually cares, understands.


Mom has been in a nursing home for almost 3 years. Although my sister is retired, she has never visited mom once and never asked how she is doing. The only thing she's ever showed any interest in is my mother's belongings. But that aside.


My mom specifically TOLD me not to even tell my sister when she dies. She said this years ago when she was more cognizant, and she stuck to it.


My sister is bossy, a drama queen, and has a penchant for chaos. She likes to "take over" for the sake of taking over. In the past 20 years, she has come to see my mom about 7 times and has called her only 5 times: New Years Day, Mother's Day, Thanksgiving, Her Birthday, and Christmas. The times she visited, it was for the purpose of having a NY crash pad, NOT to spend time with my mother.


In my mother's last months before going into the nursing home, when her dementia was getting worse, my sister called often. Once, she called while I was there. My mom sat there looking so scared and upset that I took the phone away from her ear. What I heard was nothing less than abusive vitriol, so I hung the phone up. My poor mom....


Anyway, now my sister has resurfaced. I could go on and on about her taking my mom's jewelry and saying she would only help me care for our mom if I paid her $800 a month, but I won't. There are a million terrible stories I could tell, but I won't. The point is, I deeply distrust her, she may have mental problems, and she would definitely cause a scene if she came to my mom's memorial.


Before my mom's diagnosis, she said she wanted to be cremated and that she did not want a funeral. I told my sister, figuring that she, too, should be aware of my mom's wishes. She said "NO! NO!," in a very definitely way, as if the decision were her's, and proceeded to take my head off verbally.


My mom signed paperwork with an attorney designating me as the person with authority to dispose of her remains. I plan to carry out her wishes. There will be no funeral per mom's wishes, but I am choosing to do a simple memorial service after she is cremated.


Though sis has resurfaced (she was previously ignoring my texts and attempts to connect), she has STILL not asked about our mom. That tells me everything I need to know. I see so clearly now that she could care less.


When my mom first told me not to tell my sister when she died, I didn't protest, but I had no intention of doing something so over-the-top. Now I see the wisdom in it. I'm seriously considering doing just that. Letting her know after the fact, "Mom passed away on such and such date. Per her wishes there was no funeral. She has been cremated and her cremains are buried at such and such cemetery."


I just want my mom's memorial to be drama-free and that will NOT happen with my sister around.


Thoughts?

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Thanks everyone, for your helpful responses. I half expected to be hammered for even thinking of not telling her.

LOVED "there are consequences to acting crazy, and this is one of them."

Sendhelp, what a good idea to NEVER tell her. She has never asked, and probably never will. Thank you for that. My extended family, which consists of my mom's brothers and sisters, are really not in touch with her. She wasn't invited to our recent family reunion, wasn't informed when our cousin died last fall, etc., so I don't think anyone will tell her (I hope). They're not too happy with the way she treated my mom.

Here's a story: I got married 4 years ago. My mom was still living at home in NY, the state where I also live. I had made arrangements for my mom to go home with my aunt in South Carolina for my honeymoon week so she wouldn't be alone and would have help with her meds, etc. while I honeymooned in Florida.

My mom didn't do too well with the change of scenery. She ran into the street, tried to catch a subway home to NY, even though there were none down there, she no longer recognized her sister, etc. My aunt couldn't handle it and had to call the cops. Second day of my honeymoon, she called me to come get my mother. She told me the situation. Well, I threw my bags into our rental car so fast it would make your head spin. Hubby and I drove all night to get to my mom, and we were happy to do it.

When we were driving my mom back home to NY, we got a call from my other aunt. She told me they had called my sister in Virginia first, and she had refused to come. I was furious and called my sister. She defended herself by saying "I have to take a state exam next Friday." (Meaning for her real estate license.) I countered, "I left my honeymoon!" to which she replied, "Oh, so now it's my fault?"

The happy ending of this story for me is that on the drive back, I had one last cross-country fun trip with my mom, before things became all about "her care." When we entered West Virginia, I played John Denver's "Country Roads" on my ipod and we all laughed and sang. We enjoyed ourselves together. That would be one of the last "good times" we had and I'm grateful for it.
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Do exactly what your mother wants. At some point, you will have to tell sister. Or not. If she's that self involved, she may never ask and you may not have to say anything.

Hoping she isn't left anything in the will. Sounds like she did a "pre-disposition" of mom's things, via theft. I had a brother do that. Ugh. We didn't tell him when daddy passed, as per daddy's wishes. I don't know how long it took for him to find out.

Be tough. Bless you, for what you endure. Families are so awful, sometimes.
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Given your sisters history I would say wait to tell her until after your mom is buried - per her wishes. Then get her estate or lack thereof in order. Then let her know via western union. Then do not give in to her calls and texts or emails which you know will be coming.
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I think your plan is absolutely correct. This is what you mom had clearly wanted. Just be ready for crazy crap from sis when she gets your note. But it sounds like you can handle it. Good luck to you.
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Wow, reading this makes me realize that I'm not alone! Even Davina's post is pretty much my family. My sister is a sociopath, too, but my parents think she can do no wrong. My family is all drama, and (I know this sounds sick) but funerals are where they really "shine"! They looove to create drama at funerals, they love to go to funerals, and they always make a scene.  My mother even takes pictures of the body in the casket, and then shows them to people later.  No, I'm not kidding about that.

So, that said - I agree with everyone else. Do exactly what your mother wants. You don't have to tell your sister a thing, and I would even wait until you have all of her affairs in order, before telling anyone who might inform your sister. (We call those well-meaning people "flying monkeys", by the way.)

For what it's worth, I have told my husband, and even a couple of close friends, that my parents and sister are NOT to be informed if I die suddenly, and certainly not informed even if I'm in the hospital for some reason. I don't have that in writing, but maybe I should, come to think of it. But my husband knows and understands. If I die suddenly, God forbid, the LAST thing I want him to have to deal with is my family. There are consequences to acting crazy, and this is one of them.

I'm sorry you have to deal with this, Christine, but bless you for taking such good care of your mother! And please do try to take care of yourself in the meantime, you're important, too! ::hugs::
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If your Mom's wishes were not to tell her, then don't tell her.
Don't tell her ever.
You could wait until your sister asks, then after Mom is gone, you decide.
Will you be saying those were Mom's wishes, that you not tell her?
Will someone else in the family be telling your sister?

It is perfectly understandable that you would not want sister at the services.
You will make the right decision when the time comes.

So sorry that there is a rift in your family, and that your Mom is ill.
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You should do exactly as your mother wishes and be sure to keep your sister out of all goings-on as long as possible. Be grateful your mom sees things as they are and isn't bamboozled by your sister. My sister is a sociopath and has used and mistreated my mother all of her life but my mother thinks sister is an angel. My sister is someone you protect yourself from but mom has never been willing to see the truth.
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A person's obituary will come up if they are dead an you internet-search their name. Your sister can find out that way; you don't have to tell her.
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"When we entered West Virginia, I played John Denver's "Country Roads" on my ipod and we all laughed and sang. We enjoyed ourselves together. That would be one of the last "good times" we had and I'm grateful for it."

Aw, that's a sweet story! Those are the things you hang onto.
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You are not under any obligation to give your sister information.
Your mother has expressed her wishes clearly and consistently.
You plan, in any case, once the cremation and memorial service are safely out of the way, to behave civilly and give your sister an opportunity to pay her respects - ! - if she wishes to.

The situation is far from ideal, but your handling of it is. Or I think so, anyway.
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