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Furious and bereft all at the same time
I just need to be sad and vent. My Father is rapidly declining in MC very far away from his children. We’re taking turns making it out there to be with him, but we’re not wealthy people and it’s very challenging. We have no choice in this as his spouse is living in a different state in my Father’s house and we cannot move him to be near us in this final phase. The nauseating part is that with the exception of our family visiting from out of state, he virtually has no visitors because she cites her ongoing ‘health problems’ as a reason not to visit.
I feel like I could have prevented this. I just wish I could turn back time and go back and do things radically differently. This is where the story goes terribly down hill. A couple of years ago (into his AD) his SO let the family know that they were getting married in a spur of the moment ceremony. It was not enough time to react, and we all naively believed it was because she ‘wanted to be able to take care of him.’
My father, having been divorced, never planned to marry again and had his affairs in order (or so we believed with a will), and we thought it was enough to protect his property and his wishes. He had always adamantly stated that their finances and property would remain separate. Fast forward to today, the spouse and I share guardianship, which I fought like hell to get because soon after they were married I became very concerned for his person and property.
So now I manage his day to day from long distance including his health and trying to make the money last (and yes she had already appropriated so much of his assets which I learned once I was able to access his bank accounts) and demanded half of his cash in his account she added herself to as we worked out the guardianship. There is an underlying current of greed and MINE in everything she says and does. She acts like she is waiting for him to die so that she can get her ‘half.’ Her involvement from a guardianship standpoint has been paltry and obstructionist at best.
I talked with the attorney at length during the guardianship exercise about elder abuse and how on earth could it be possible to marry someone who was incompetent and financially abuse them. They said nothing could be done and so I accepted it bitterly and focused on the guardianship as way to protect him from further harm
So here I am having the daily phone calls where he is wasting away and confused. He is losing his battle and I get to watch it on a phone screen worried sick and stressed beyond measure. I hate the situation and this vile individual who makes it impossible for us to do right by him or carry out his wishes.
This is the worst part for me, I deeply painfully regret not being able to foresee or mitigate this.I chide myself on the daily about not having done more earlier, not paying enough attention, not being a better child and preventing this terrible situation we’re all in from happening.
Perhaps I am displacing my ugly searing grief of losing my Father from afar by being so angry at this person, but I just can't let it go. I am furious and bereft all at the same time.
I am sorry you are having this experience.
I don’t really have advice, I am going through this all for the first time myself, but stories like this are heartbreaking and sad.
To maybe help others who read this; my parent had an old friend pop out-of-the-blue (just before diagnosis, but there were issues), and was aggressive with their ‘approach’ to my parent. To this day, I feel they knew there was a decline and were on a mission to get ‘something.’ Almost like a stalking predator.
I have seen something similar with an aunt, she did not have dementia, just was easily manipulated by a man once my uncle passed. Which brings up my point, is this really that prevalent? Do a lot of people look for these ‘opportunities?’ I guess it is like the Gold Digger spouses, but I have always seen that less as ‘predatory,’ and more contractual.
Love&Light, all I can tell you is what a preacher told me just before a family funeral. "You may think there was something you could have done, and maybe there was, but you can't do it now." I hope you can forgive yourself for not being clairvoyant, and forgive your stepmother too. Anger is a normal part of grief, but you are too good a person to let hate eat you up.
Sleepless, predators and leeches are common as ticks in August. My FIL was widowed in his early 70s, with enough money to make him a target, and you wouldn't believe the bad women he encountered. He didn't get his money by being stupid, however, and didn't marry any of them. One of his friends remarried, became ill, and spent a week in hospital. When he came home, his new wife had sold all his furniture, taken everything else she could, and hit the road.
This is a very difficult time where there is much grief, regret and anger involved; I am so very sorry. There was no way for the adult children including yourself to foresee what would actually come to pass in the future. No crystal ball and the dynamics were not in the control or power of your father's children; he was still in control of his wishes and wants and he acted on those - it was his right to do so at that point in time. Not his kids call. Not the kids fault.
You and your siblings did what you could in the past with the knowledge you had at that time; even if you knew, it was likely your father would have continued forward with his marriage. As knowledge evolved and as things changed, sibling concerns changed including seeking legal advice which was a good thing to do. You were fortunate in obtaining co-guardianship through the court.
The wife is the wife; legally entitled to half and really in the driver's seat for much. You are fortunate that you have been able to do what you have. To get thing done, best to try to have communication and hope to be able to advocate for your father's care needs without her being the enemy who tries to block things because there is such an adversarial component boxing things in. Don't have to like it, but the entire process is to do what is best for your declining father.
As for money when he passes; unless there is a Trust and/or Will stating otherwise, the wife will in all probability inherit the assets.
It is what it is.
One thing you mention stands out; that is, that your father has no visitors as he is so far away from his adult children who can only make such trips from time to time. There is an available option that may help with that and it would add extra eyes, ears, and hands to his care. Since your father is declining, he may well be able to receive Hospice services.
Hospice does indeed go into care facilities as well as private homes. In such a case, there would be a Hospice RN who would visit him and monitor his care and needs. There would be a Hospice Chaplain that could visit if you wish; a Social Worker would be assigned who would address problem issues for family, and even though he is in a care facility, a Hospice aide can be assigned to bathe him two to three times a week. This would give multiple sets of helping eyes, ears and hands to see how he is doing and address his care needs in real time as things change. If your father is capable of interacting with visitors, he would have social conversations with these people. NOTE: If he is aware, they need not tell them they are Hospice; they just seem like regular caregivers - they did this with my mother.
Hospice services are covered under Medicare so there would be no cost to the family.
Just something to think about.
Another option would be to hire a kind person to visit and to give feedback to the family. I found such a person through a church who made two visits a week to interact with my very alert LO as I worked and could only visit a couple times a week. She presented herself as a "volunteer" and did little things to occupy my LO. Not expensive and it added to my LOs quality of life at that time.
If the upset or anger gets to the point that it is affecting your life or ability to sleep; then it may be helpful to step into short term counseling to be able to release that and find relief.
You are a loving daughter who cares very deeply; let us know how you are and how you are doing, we truly do care. From one daughter to another, I send warm thoughts your way and wishes for peace to find you soon.
L&L; we are so glad to share with one another at this wonderful place we are so fortunate to have. We are all here in support of one another and that includes you too. When I was going through, "the worst of times," it was the kind people here who helped keep my head above water.
I forgot; in case you are not yet aware, the Alzheimer's Assn. has a 24 hour, 365 day a year Helpline that can be reached at, (800) 272-3900. If you or a sibling should call, ask to be transferred to a Care Consultant. There are no fees for this service. Consultants are highly educated Social Workers who specialize in dementia and family dynamics. They are there for support; they are wonderfully kind, have much information and can often assist us with our problem solving, but more than anything, it is the emotional support we so often need. It is a good place one can go to vent and share and not be judged.
As said before; please do keep in touch here as much as you wish, when I was having the in-depth dreadfuls, I was here so much they should have charged me rent.
You are a good daughter; you and your siblings are a blessing to your dear father,
Hi L&L - I feel your pain. You are not alone.
ever hear of a quit-claim deed? A family member used it on MIL two months before official ALZ/VascD diagnosis. Had her sign over a small beach-house she and FIL had worked so hard for. had her sign it over for $1.00. (yes - one (1) dollar.) Told her to 'sign here, but don't tell son!' You can contest a quit-claim deed for two years. They did not file it for over 20 months, as this person had been in real-estate, so she knew exactly what she was doing. It was notarized by an unscrupulous friend of this person. we know she didn't see her sign it, but proving it would be on us. We are no longer able to contest the quit-claim, but we are trying to look into financial abuse. We did find out she was going after her house that she lives in as well. there was also a CD cashed out to this person's name... Infuriating!! Two months before official diagnosis - so - yes, we all saw the decline, and this person used it big time.
Meanwhile - do look into Hospice, as Jo C has recommended. And make sure you take care of yourself. Worrying and being aggravated to the point of not sleeping obviously isn't good to continue, for you. and I agree, I don't think you would have seen this coming. as they say, hindsight is 20/20 vision. Please don't beat yourself up over the past.