Follow
Share

My father-in-law is in his late 80's and we have been told he could have weeks to live. My husband and him had a strained relationship growing up but he always said he was the better of two parents (he compared it to taking Mussolini over Hitler). My father-in-law has always been against my husband getting married to anyone and has never cared for me. We were married a number of years before we had a child (over a decade) and he was rarely around, had girlfriends, traveled, gambled, did his thing.
When our daughter was born, he came to the hospital, never said one word to me but was nice to everyone else. He had little to do with us or our daughter and when my dad passed away, he thought he would begin to play grandpa. My daugthter was 15 months and would not warm up to him. As the years passed, we let her get to know her grandpa and after his girlfriend died, he wanted to be entertained, so he wanted to go out once a week. It finally got unbearable because all he wanted to do was scream the entire way about politics, that "N-word" President, how his doctor was rude to him and he wasn't going back, how he wanted to find old girlfriends and sports (which he knows we don't keep up with and care nothing about). He would rarely say anything to his granddaughter or claimed he just couldn't hear her (the child doesn't speak softely) because he can't hear well -- but refuses to get a hearing aid.
As he got out less and his temper flared more, occassionally she would go in and see him at his house.
Last year for his birthday, she got him a large standing plush heart. She was so proud of it and took it to him. He is moody and one day told my husband, "I have that damn heart thing away to one of those women (either a visitng nurse or cleaning help). I almost tripped and just gave it away. Hope she isn't upset, but well -- if she is, she can just get over it!"
Well, my daughter found out the heart was given away and she didn't understand why her grandpa just couldn't move it instead of giving it away. Needless to say, she is hurt and says she doesn't really want to be around him much.
He has had anger/mental issues for as long as my husband can remember. He spent time in two mental facilities during WWII while in the military, he had a lobotomy, his first wife divorced him because she was physically abused and he gave up custody of his daughter, he has had restraining orders issued against him as well as having to retain a lawyer for a bar fight while drunk. Compared to his earlier years, he has calmed down, so to speak.
He does not wash his hands after using the bathroom, does not want to shower because "it will mess up his feet with sores from diabetes" and the cleaning ladies have said they have found soiled clothing and items shoved behind bedroom dressers, etc. My husband said that is typical behavior for him.
Yesterday, he called my husband and as he walked into his house, he found his dad with a gun to his stomach saying he was going to kill himself. Now social services/hospice/etc. are getting involved.
We have kept our daughter away from him because we are concerned about the cleanness of him, the house considering he soils things and has open sores on his legs (which he refuses to let the nurses wrap all the way). We are also concerned about his mental stablilty. His nurse feels like he may have weeks left, but it is anyone's guess.
There are people who would think we should let our daughter be around him, especially in what may be his last days and that it would be wrong to keep her away. She is 8. We are concerened due to infections (he is currently infected in his legs) and about his mental state.
Have you limited a grandchild's contact with their grandparent due to issues like this? Even though he cares nothing for me (has made it clear), I have no desire to keep his grandchild from him (especially in his last weeks/months) but I also do not want my young child infected or harmed (even emotionally). My husband already contracted an infection from him many years ago, so I am already paranoid.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
I would be more concerned about his mental health infection than his sores. Your daughter is only eight years old! You have no idea what this man might say to her. Any one willing to use a gun to try and kill themselves is not fit to be around any child. Hasn't this man done enough emotional harm to your husband? Your priority is to protect your child, not appease "there are people"!! That man never earned the right to be a grandfather so why should he be entitled now that his days are numbered? Your daughters wellbeing far outweighs doing what you think is the right thing to do.
Helpful Answer (11)
Report

At the age of eight, is she able to understand about his mental illness? Has she asked to see him? Has he asked to see her?

I agree with Debralee. I wouldn't feel an ounce of guilt keeping her away. She is not a prop. She is your child. He is a nasty human being and the less exposure she has to him, the better.

The lesson in all of this is "kindness begets kindness". People who are cruel may end up alone and bitter. I know he is "mentally ill" but that can't erase his past and current behavior.

You and your husband are very understanding. Do what you feel you have to do for your FIL during his last days but your daughter comes first. You owe no one an explanation.
Helpful Answer (7)
Report

Just because someone is related to you, does not mean you adjust your life or VALUES to be around them. When is any kind of abuse or danger acceptable? NEVER!
Treat this old bastard with detachment and see to whatever legitimate medical needs he has since it is cruel to ignore elders who can't fend for themselves.
Let her stay at a girlfirend's house to play when you must visit him. You are in charge of who your daughter is around, NOT HIM. He does not deserve to try to ruin her life, or throw away her heart. He does not have one!
Please learn to stand your ground with people like this and do not second guess your reasoning.
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

Sounds like this man is suffering from a mental disorde, and possible alzheimers diseaser. A parent's job is to keep one's children safe from harm, whether from mental or physical abuse, and this grandpa is too sick to be able to have a healthy relationship with this child. Talk to the child and explain why it would be difficult for her to visit him; if she insists, I would take for very short visits and warn her of possible behaviors, and never leave her alone in a room with him.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

My grandfather was a similar nut job. I rarely saw him, and was sheltered from his craziness. He was a con artist, gambled, beat his wife and later girlfriends, etc. I remember him with fondness as a kind funny man that I rarely saw. Even now I have a hard time reconciling the man I knew with the man I've heard about in stories. I think it was for the best when I was young.

I think you should protect your daughter as well. You need to do what is best for your daughter, not a man who has made poor choices. You can explain it to her when she's older.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

With all due respect, perhaps she is being "kind and gracious" to the father in law, but why doesn't her 8 year old daughter deserve the same treatment?
It is a parent's DUTY to protect offspring from danger. This man is dangerous.
Not looking for an argument, but I think people get desensitized to unacceptable behavior when constantly dealing with awful people. I chose to draw the line with certain people in my family, and I am a loud mama grizzly. I love it when nasty or weak people hate my guts. Yep:) xo
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Your daughter has already been harmed by her exposure to your FIL, let it stop now. Your FIL does not have a "right" to contact with her. Protect her - it is your job. Forgive me for being so blunt, but I feel strongly.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

First of all, anyone who has really had a lobotomy cannot do the behaviors you are describing. That said, since he is in hospice and your daughter already feels negative toward him, he ignores you, and previously infected your husband, why would you want to go near him? Wish him well, talk to him on the phone if he calls, but people who don't get hearing aids and expects everyone else to adjust their level of speech is not only selfish, but shows a complete lack of respect for others. That said, he is not going to change, but you can model your behaviors for your child by not letting her near him. This is how to deal with people who have unhealthy and disgusting habits. Good luck!
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

I just read a lot of great answers, and I wouldn't let my child next to a person like that. She is at a young age and doesn't need that in her life. Don't feel guilty about her not seeing him, it just appears that he is a selfish person even at his age. Put him in a nursing home.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

If she is not asking, don't bring it up about the fact that you do not take her for visits. If she insists, explain that he is so sick that he does not know what he is doing and that it is not safe for her. Start preparing her for his passing, almost as if it has alread happened. Make it his illness that stops her from having a relationship not anyones actions or choices. when she is older you can give more technical and emotional info. but for now she just needs to know its not her fault and that he cannot control himself anymore. you don't have a relationship with him either so she is not alone. I am dealing with a recently diagnosed schizophrenic mother who is getting better but I would not leave my young child alone with her as its not safe emotionally or physically. Kids are pretty intuitive, they can tell when things are "not right" and can be empathitic but, do we need to put them through this is its not necessary? I say not. Hope theses ideas help. Also, he is lucky anyone even gives him any attention based on his past behavior when he was somewhat well. Personally, I would leave it up to social services and let him go completely. Best to you.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

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