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I’ll spare you the ugly history. Just imagine the worst possible divorce that shows the true colors of the ex-wife, takes the father to the cleaners, and causes the young daughter to be estranged from her father. The father (my husband) is now very ill. After 15 years of no contact, the daughter wants to visit. In Covid times, that’s impossible, but a phone call is likely to happen.


Some of you have experienced greedy and manipulative relatives, but this is new territory for me. I have sympathy for the daughter, but I know that anything said to her will go to the ex-wife.


My husband doesn’t speak much other than yes or no. So, all phone calls are a bit awkward. I usually end of making small talk with the caller.


What advice do you have for me? I am afraid of saying too much. Thanks.

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I’m so sorry for your loss. You’ve been such a wonderful caregiver and advocate for your husband. I’m sure he felt blessed to have you. I wish you peace and comfort in the days to come
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Dear Julia Rose, you have my condolences. I hope that when the stress of the next couple of weeks is over, you can have the rest you richly deserve. Love and best wishes for the future, Margaret
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I am so sorry for the loss of your husband and sad he did not get to reconnect with his estranged daughter. He was very lucky to have a wife like you at his side.
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Julia Rose, I am so very sorry, both about the passing of your husband, and that his daughter chose not to avail herself of the opportunity to visit with him. You have my deepest sympathy.
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JuliaRose, my deepest sympathies for the loss of your husband, may he Rest In Peace. Take care.
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Reply to Sweetstuff
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Dear "JuliaRose,"

I'm very sorry to hear about your husband passing away Wednesday.

It's especially sad that his daughter didn't get to take the opportunities you provided, for her to talk to her dad one last time.

I hope you know that you graciously did whatever you could to make that happen so I hope you won't take on any guilt-like feelings upon yourself - they belong to his ex-wife now if she interfered and unfortunately, his daughter will take the brunt of her actions or lack thereof, needlessly.

You'll be in my thoughts and prayers as we head into the week of Christmas - we've lost loved ones during this time of year as well in the past and know how difficult it can be.
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So sorry for your loss Julia Rose.
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Update:

My husband passed away on Wednesday morning. Unfortunately, his daughter had not followed up on our invitations to connect with him before he died. Very sad.
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NeedHelpWithMom Dec 19, 2020
So sorry for your loss.
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The daughter did not asked to be separated from her dad. I am sorry that you are going through this, but think how his daughter must feel. She may or may not and most likely "not" to believe her mom. She may have some questions for him. She might be trying to figure out what really happened and she wants to talk to her dad and get a sense of him (if you know what I mean). In any case, she is his daughter and she has a right to see him, especially if he is dying. Just do it safely...make her wear a mask and stay 6ft apart. Maybe a hazemat suit?
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It’s very healing for the children to have a reapproachment with the estranged father. However, it must be very hurtful to you however, as you had to live through so much of your husband’s pain. As a loyal partner to your husband it seems you are fearful they will harm him more and threaten your hard-earned security. COVID-19 rules ar perfect excuse to maintain distance and control the situation. Make some boundaries that are comfortable to both you and your husband. Consider consistency, and use excuses like “doctor’s orders” to set rules. If he is terminal allow one visit only, like they do in a nursing home maybe through a window. I just read the other replies and learned that your husband has Parkinson’s. Mine does too. I am the child of divorce and have always been grateful to have had a relationship with my father. It was a life affirming moment for me when I realized I have unconditional love for him and this love, which carried forgiveness for his supposed slights and sins, has sustained me for many decades after his passing.
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Dear Julia Rose, you have my sympathy. I’m dredging through my own young life experiences of bad blood between parents etc, looking for anything helpful. Many if not most young people want to make their own judgements after growing up with horror stories, but it’s still hard for them to overcome the conditioning. I had personal experience that it was all true, but you don’t know what daughter thinks she knows.

I would of course first ask your husband if he wants to hear from her. Then I think the easiest first step might be to tell her briefly how ill your DH is with Parkinsons, and that he says very little. She will need to do the talking. Arrange a time that’s good for you and him, then stand out of the way of the conversation. I wouldn’t make it a threesome where you try to bridge with small chat, I don’t think you can win with that. After that, wait for her to ring again if she wants to take it further. She will have a lot to think through after a first conversation that is going to be difficult.

Aim for small steps, not something dramatic. That’s easier on all of you. The smaller role you take in it, the smaller the role for troubles relating to wives. It’s just him and her.

Yours, Margaret
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This young woman had no say as a child. Kids are caught in the middle of adult situations.

She most likely wants to know her family. I recently started working on my family tree and am finding it fascinating.

I recently discovered some cousins that live a couple of hours away.

We have been conversing via emails and phone calls. It has been so interesting learning about different family members.

It’s natural to have curiosity about our heritage.

Best wishes to you and your family.
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Benefit of the doubt. This girl did not estrange herself, her mother did. And if he wasn't or was paying child support you husband had the right to have a relationship with his daughter Ex liking it or not. But for now, thats water under the bridge.

I would allow a visit. Its so hard to express oneself over a phone. She will need a mask and stay 6 ft away. Maybe you can purchase those coverups they use in the hospital. I agree to explain how Dad is and how she needs to talk to him and how he will respond. Then leave them alone. Even if u know the details of the divorce between her parents, don't say anything. Mom is Mom. If she asks questions, answer what you know is true. No, "I know he loved you very much". Better "your Dad talked about how he loved you". Never make Mom look like the bad guy.

My daughter was estranged from her father, his choice. He died from a heart attack never reaching out to her. My now DH adopted her at 8. She went with her Aunt to clean out his house. Next to the chair he had sat in was a bookcase. Sticking out from the books was a picture. When she pulled it out it was a picture of her as a child. At 40 years old she asked me "Do you think that means he thought about me". I would say so.
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JuliaRose Nov 28, 2020
Thank you. Yes! He loves her so much, his heart has been broken over and over because of the separation. He wrote poetry about missing her.

I’m afraid that the daughter believes the lies that her mother tried to make stick. (They didn’t hold up in court but did mean he spent a night in jail.) A brief communication through a mediator last year made it clear the daughter has a lot of anger and distrust in her. I want to help, but, wow... it’s really heavy and there is distrust on both sides. For example, my husband did not allow them to know anything about his health conditions. Party, that was out of pride, but also thinking that the ex-wife would try to hammer a nail in his coffin if he showed weakness. It’s not a good situation, and the daughter has really suffered.
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I doubt very much the daughter is looking for inheritance; I imagine she is looking for closure and relationship. I have no little experience in this from a personal perspective.
Since you do the talking I would make clear firstly, to the daughter, that you will require writing her about her Dad's condition so she will be "prepared" for what she hears on the phone. Tell her of the speech inability and any cognitive deficits. Keep this all very PROFESSIONAL and impersonal. Make an appointment time to help with the call (kind of hoping here that you have a zoom, or an old line phone with two receivers, so the three of you can speak together as in "Your Dad is smiling and nodding his head yes".
Stay kind, stay professional, give little that isn't asked for. She may actually WANT to talk to you, to ask "Did my Dad ever speak of me; I missed having him growing up. Did he want to reach out, but didn't. Have you any idea of why" and etc. Answer to the best of your ability.
To be frank, what do you care about the wife.
I assume the will is already made out. I assume your husband gave support for his daughter while she was a child.
It is my personal belief from serious personal history that a child should NEVER be cut out of a will. It is for the rest of their lives a personal last slap that can never be answered to and it will follow them the REST OF THEIR LIVES in feelings of serious abandonment; but things like this are personal decisions.
I am 78. Twice in my life a similar screnario has played out before my eyes. I advise kindness, professional attitude and ZERO descent into accusations on any side. As I said, the wife doesn't even figure in this. Who cares WHAT she thinks, says or does at this point? As to inheritance, I am certain it is already set in stone what if anything the daughter gets. Let her have this closure.
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ExhaustedPiper Nov 28, 2020
IDK Alva, I was very close to my dad and when he died I was not in his will. Everything went to my mom. Nothing to me or my siblings and we didn't think twice about it. No feelings of abandonment at all. I guess we just didn't feel entitled.

You're right though, it's a personal decision, and I'm sure it was decided in this case before now.
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I would certainly let your husband make amends with his estranged daughter, either in person(she can take the necessary precautions, that would be my first choice) or over the phone. He probably wants that more than anything, especially if his time here on earth is limited. When people become very ill, it tends to put things in a clearer perspective for them, and seeing his daughter would I'm sure make his heart very happy. So put your negative feelings aside for your husbands sake, and let him enjoy whatever time he might have left with his daughter. Life is too short to be holding on to the past. It was 15 years ago. Let it go and allow your husband and his daughter to have their time to heal. It will do them both good, and it should make you happy that your husband will have made peace with his daughter, before he leaves this world. Remember, this is about your husband and his daughter, not about you.
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JuliaRose Nov 28, 2020
She lives out of the country, so meeting in person is not easy.
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I'm sorry your husband is so sick.

Do you think the daughter is looking for an inheritance or some kind of closure for her mental well-being? If you don't know the answer now, it will become evident soon enough.

Your husband's condition will be apparent, so the ex-wife is going to know he is very ill. Who cares what she thinks? Do what is best for you and your husband.

How have you been holding up?
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JuliaRose Nov 28, 2020
Thanks. The long haul is not easy, but I’ve built a good support group.
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