Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Family messes

All through my childhood and well into my adulthood, I hated the fact that I was an only child. I longed for a sibling. I constantly had the fantasy that somewhere out here was a brother or sister who was given up for adoption before I came along. I found myself making some of mt friends into my non-existent brother or sister. Being an only child was a very lonely thing for me.

Now that I’m finally an adult who has to do adult things (like deal with parental deaths in particular) I realize that perhaps being an only child isn’t such a bad thing after all.. One of the advantages is that decisions that must be made I can make without a brother or sister fighting me about it or there being hurt feelings.

When I had to make the decision to move my father and step-mother to Swampland, I just did it. Now there I could have had some repercussions. You see, I do have a step brother, but my step brother had never been in the picture. There were no big family gatherings, no letters, nothing. There was no contact between families. We both were adults in our late 30's with our own children when our parents married. It has only been since his mother’s death that there has been any contact at all.

He could have fought me all the way when I moved them here to, but you see, he was living and working in one of the great cold northern states at the time (the rest of his family was living on the Left Coast. He rarely saw his mother. He was not really involved with her care. This is something I later found out from his cousin.

When I made the decision, her extended family was thrilled. They knew that my step brother didn’t look after her, and if she were close to me here, she would be looked after. Whew! Side stepped a bullet there.

But now I am seeing how family divides can occur quickly. Now that my FIL has died, there is a BIG rift occurring in G’s family. His sister is the baby of the family as well as the only girl. You can see what that position in the family brings with the parents. His brother is/was/will be always be Mommy’s little boy. G is/was/will always be the third wheel - even if he is the oldest. I can expound on that later.

His mother could be cast as Mommy Dearest without question. Severe depression runs in her family, as does Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. She has both of those disorders - in spades. G’s early memories of his mother are of the numerous beatings he was given - all while Dad was away from home working for the rail road.

Brother and sister seem to be in the midst the supreme sibling rivalry. Both are jockeying for Mom’s favor. The sister moved in with the parents about 6 months ago because they were not able to care for themselves, but wouldn’t admit it. She became their caretaker. She did it for love, although brother and wife thought there must have been ulterior motives to her moving in with them.

Of course she could have used money for the care giving. She lost her job and at 55, jobs are hard to come from. I though she could get retirement, but it seems that she must have removed some money from the retirement fund. If it is not paid back, there is no retirement. Hmmm no job equals no money. No money means no repayment to the retirement fund. No repayment means no retirement checks. But I’m not supposed to know about any of this. OK. I’ll just play stupid.

This past weekend, MIL finally decided, or said she finally decided to make the move back to the retirement (perhaps assisted living?) facility where she and FIL had been for a few months. Back then, she wanted to be there so much and loved it - or so she said. He hated it and made her miserable every day. She decided to move back to the house even though she wanted to stay. Now the story has changed. She tells everyone but the family she wants to stay at the house. Forever.

To bring this all to a close and up to date, Little Sister was in the San Antonio for a good part of last week (even though she said she was through with all that stuff there and washed her hands of it all). They could get access to the apartment on Thursday, The big move was set for Saturday. She and Mother moved some things, but spent most of the time with the telephone company trying to get a telephone installed. She met with the usual mess that can come with a utility.

BIL and SIL came in on Saturday to help with little things. There were professional movers involved here too, so I don’t know why she wasn’t completely moved by them! When night fall came, MIL stated she wanted to go home. She had no sheets and no clothes at the apartment. Apparently SIL copped an attitude with Little Sister. Things blew up. Little sister was angry with SIL and left. To top it all off, there would have been no caretaker for MIL at the house that night.

All this has been going on especially since FIL’s death, but I suspect a little even before then. Middle brother doesn’t trust or respect his Little Sister. That is bad enough, but when the in law gets involved, that spells trouble with a capital T. MIL had complained to my daughter about her, and I thought she was the Golden In Law. She apparently had been rather "bossy" about things.

As for me, look for me in the nearest closet with my head in the sand - deeply in the sand.. I want to stay out of this one. I’m trying to keep relationships open with everyone. I hope I just don’t get slammed in the middle, but I’m afraid this problem has a long, nasty way to go!.

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