Finding Peace — Manuscript Post #52
–Sessions: 41 of 53
Monday, January 25, 2010 11:00am
Blood Donation, Apheresis, Number 310
Since this was our first session since I had been to my mother’s funeral, there was a lot to discuss.
I told Elsie about my decision to make sure all my siblings all knew about my mother’s death and about the funeral. I described the email I got from Pop which described in detail how ugly the email from Snap had been. I asked Elsie why she thought Pop had included the ugly stuff. It wasn’t required. Pop could have simply told me that the response from Snap was ugly, I would have believed it.
Elsie told me that Pop included the ugly parts because it validates his not being involved. I described how I was put in the middle by my siblings conflicts. I told her, that after thinking about all that had gone on, I wondered why none of my siblings had offered any suggestions as to how they could help in spite of their conflicts. I could see several ways all of my siblings could have helped, ways that would not have required that they confront each other. That would have helped me by taking me out of the middle. But they wanted to wallow in their conflicts.
Elsie confirmed that it was not my job to be in the middle. She said it was great that I had told Pop that “I wish I could offer something rational” after Pop and Snap exchanged ugly emails.
After this session, I got emails about multiple bills from the nursing home. After I made several calls, it became clear. My mother had spent time in two different nursing homes, both of them run by the same company. There was a bill for one month from one of the two nursing homes, and a bill from the other nursing home for a different month. Some of the Social Security checks went to one nursing home, while the bill for that month was actually from the other nursing home. I wondered why Snap didn’t know all this since Snap had been caring for our mother during this time.
Snap emailed asking for $300. It turns out Snap didn’t work all of December. I was stunned. A reasonable person would probably say I should not have been surprised by anything after all that had happened, but, I was. I had paid off multiple credit cards, payday loans, provided money for a new apartment, moving and the funeral. I had not had a day off let alone a month off. I chose not to say anything, what was there to say? Snap didn’t work for a month and Snap needed money.
Several days later, Snap called me. Snap was very snippy, apparently upset that I hadn’t responded fast enough to his previous email. I had already put $300 into Snap’s bank account. I guess he hadn’t checked? While we were on the phone I asked if a digital camera had been purchased yet. I had suggested Snap get a simple digital camera to take pictures of what was in the storage unit. I wanted to distribute these photos to everyone and then arrange to have the items distributed. No camera had been obtained. I would take care of that as well.
–Sessions: 42 of 53
Monday, February 12, 2010 8:00am
We talked more about the funeral. After I returned I got a letter from a member of our extended family. In their letter, they told me that Pop had told them about my mother’s death and what I had been doing to arrange the funeral and handle the financial issues. They also told me that I was “doing the right thing.” I asked Elsie what she thought this relative thought about Pop deciding to not have any involvement. She didn’t offer an opinion.
I told her that I thought it was odd that I felt good about things I saw on my trip, like the guitar books in the airport bookstore and the stained glass in the church. I also told her that it felt good to go places I had gone with my mother, places she liked, a used book store, restaurants she liked. Elsie assured me that it was ok to feel good.
At this point, I wanted to discuss something that had been concerning me for a while. I had wanted to handle my mother’s end of life care. My mother and Snap had been living together so their finances were intertwined. It had become clear that Snap wasn’t able to cover his basic living expenses, and more concerning, Snap didn’t seem to ‘get it’ that he needed to deal with this. I wanted to help Snap get setup on his own.
I asked Elsie how long I should help Snap after this transition to living alone. I asked her if six months was long enough or a year? Elsie said “you won’t like my answer. Snap is not a fully functional adult. Snap will need help for the rest of his life.” I told her about Snap wanting $300 from me because Snap didn’t work all of December. Crackle had emailed me, agreeing that Snap needed to get more work or give up the car to reduce expenses, and if needed, Snap should move to find more work. I had asked Crackle what she was intending to do financially for Snap. Crackle told me they would send Snap $40 every now and then. It was clear to me that Crackle didn’t understand that Snap needed at least ten times this much each and every month just to survive.
Elsie had a much more detailed answer than I had expected. She told me not to tell Snap there would be no more money from me at this point. She wanted me to look into what forms of public assistance were available for Snap. She was very clear that I needed to contact something like Adult Protective Services, that this could be a very long frustrating experience, but it was not a good answer for me to take on supporting Snap.
At this point, my mother’s funeral was over and I had many boxes of her personal items in my garage. I had a huge number of photos to deal with. I had to decide how I would deal with all of this. Snap and Crackle had participated, in their own way, in our mother’s funeral, and I perceived they both felt good about that. This left Pop. I was confident that in time Pop would claim I didn’t allow him to participate, that I took control and I didn’t let him help. On top of all that I had already done, I was not going to also put up with any future statements from Pop like “I would have helped but no one asked.”
Pop had been very vague all along about helping. Pop would offer to help and then back away from that offer. I had asked him specifically how he wanted to help, but I never got any clear response. He never offered any specific help. With the funeral over, he couldn’t participate in that process. I was worn out from the time I had been putting in to handle all of this. I was tired of Pop’s vague offers to help that never turned into any real proposal.
I decided to email Pop and ask him to help me pay off the debt I had acquired. With the funeral done, with most of my mother’s personal items having been shipped to me, with Snap in his own apartment, the last chance I could see for Pop to actually help would be for him to help me pay off the debts.
I was also tired of Pop being allowed to not participate. He got to offer to help, but no one ever held him to that offer. Time went by, things had to be dealt with, and his offers to help never turned into help. I decided I wanted to discuss this issue with him. Like so many issues in our family, his helping had not been discussed. I wanted him to clearly tell me how he would help, or, to clearly state that he would not help.
I decided to make my statements very simple and very clear. I didn’t offer any story, just facts and a question. In my email I said the following. I stated how much I had borrowed to pay all the accumulated expenses. I asked him to help me pay off the debt from our mother’s last year. I asked him to tell me how much he would help and by when.
I sent this email to Pop and got a reply. Pop’s response was full of story but no clear answer to my simple question. Pop started by telling me about his most recent trip to visit friends and what a great time had been had. I have no clue how this was relevant to my question. Pop then told me that he hadn’t had many emails from myself over the last few years. Given how busy I had been dealing with our mother’s situation, to be told I wasn’t doing enough to communicate with Pop struck me as absurd. Next I was told he had given all the money he had to his children for various needs. I was also told that Pop was preparing to retire, fixing up his house and updating his vehicles.
I wondered if Pop actually believed he was the only one that had children, the only one that wanted to retire, the only one that wanted to improve the house and have newer cars. I had not asked Pop where his money had gone, or when he planned to retire. I had simply asked if he would help me pay for our mother’s last year.
Pop did not answer my question. Pop did not refuse to help me pay off the debts, nor did Pop offer any other help. Pop ended his email asking me if I have anything to add to my previous email, as if he didn’t understand what I was asking.
If Pop didn’t want to help me pay off the debts, they could have simply replied ‘no’ and that would have been the end of it. Instead, I got a reply that made it sound like I had been rude and unreasonable to even ask for Pop’s help. I think Pop’s response was designed to make me feel guilty for asking, so I would stop asking, and that would allow Pop off the hook, so they would not be required to clearly state that they would not help.