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My mother wants to go to hospice in the new two or three weeks. Stopping kidney dialysis, she may have 3 weeks to live.

My question concerns MIA family members and how to handle the coming situations because my family is so dysfunctional.


My brother

My brother lives in the same town as my mom. They have not spoken in 3 years because his girlfriend stole prescription drugs (pain pills) from my mom on two separate occasions. Worried about his young son on weekend visits in the presence of that woman and thinking that bro’s ex-wife should know, my mom’s call to her caused the rift. My brother still lives with that woman. I dropped by his house recently to return something to him after cleaning my mom’s house and told him the latest. He acted nice and indicated that he would want to know things going on.

I wrote him a letter a couple of weeks ago to tell what has happened with mom’s health, the address of the AL, her plans to go to hospice, and encouraged to come and say his goodbyes. If he chooses not to come and see her, say goodbye, or visit hospice, it will be his decision, but will make me mad.

If he maintains no contact with her, it makes me angry for him to show up and accept the inheritance, pittance as it will be.

How do I conduct myself?


Mom’s sister

Mom’s sister is her last living sibling. She was much older than mom and bullied her as a child. This woman is a nut. She called mom last spring and cussed her out for a comment that mom made humorously that wasn’t that bad. My mother was very sick the day the call came in and I was standing there when she took the call. I haven’t seen them in years since they live in Florida on inheritance money that they took advantage of when my mom was drinking when her parents died. I don’t want to call her again.



Has anyone been in this situation?



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Hi Barcelona -- You've got a lot to deal with right now.  I understand full well the anger and disappointment that you are feeling.  Don't forget sadness, which is always right there when anger is.
I guess the question you need to ask yourself is whether you are morally and/or legally required to notify either of these people of future developments and the inevitable.   Probably you are not legally required.  So, are you morally required?  Will not speaking with them make you feel better?  Will "letting them have it" make you feel better?  Will it help the situation?  I heard once something pretty good about anger.  According to this statement it is OK to get angry but first one needs to ask oneself: (1) is it justified; (2) will it help the situation; (3) will it help me.  If the answer to all three is YES then go ahead and get angry -- but keep it in perspective.

This situation sounds very sad and yes very dysfunctional.  Something most of us here are familiar with.  

I hope that many of the loose ends will somehow tie themselves up and that you will end us with a sense of peace.

Take care, Barcelona.

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Hi Barcelona,

I have some unpleasant MIA relatives that will probably show up at Mom's funeral and pretend like they cared about her, after she's dead of course! One of them being my Aunt (like your situation).

So, I've put some thought into this as well.

And what I decided was, I'm just going to act civil, polite, and that's about it. I'll treat them like some stranger, which they are, and just move on. I won't spend a lot of time talking with them. I've already imagined the whole scene unfolding, in my head, me standing in the reception line at Mom's funeral (or wherever, at the Celebration of Her Life party after the burial) and just nodding politely, not saying much to them, then turning to the next person in line -- you know -- sort of moving them along so to speak. I have no interest really in conversing with them. They are so childish and really, it's just weird and unpleasant. I used to stay at my Aunt's house every summer for a couple of weeks when I was young! It was a great time. It amazes me that she cut off contact with me, just because she didn't want to deal with my Mom anymore (her SIL).

So I she and Uncle don't show up when the time comes. But I know they will. They are very "christian", attend church every Sunday, Aunt sings in the choir, so I'm sure they will feel it is their duty (and they have to keep up the Appearance, you know!) to attend Mom's funeral when it happens. Then they will act all sincere and like it's such a 'shame' that Mom died. Right!

<shrug!!> What Would Jesus Do??? That one cracks me up. You see it on all the 'christian' minivans and SUV's!!! And yet, they never seem to ask themselves that question, do they?!

Hang in there Barcelona. It's going to be a tough couple of months. You can breathe a sigh of relief when you've been through it all, and maybe finally get some peace. That is what I do -- I keep my thoughts on the distant future, not the present or the not-too-distant future!

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Barcelona,  your Mother is making the decision about hospice, right.   And she is using sound reasoning at this time, even if you wish she would fight longer?     If that is the case, ask her what she wants.   Especially regarding her sister.   Be honest with her,   you won't get a do over.   As much as possible, I would do it her way.    People in this situation often feel a great need to "finish" leftover business,  or they may feel like they just want some peaceful time with those who have stood by them.  

As far as your brother goes,  you have tried.   He is who he is and maybe he will realize that he won't have another chance to make amends.   Maybe he won't.  

Talk to your Mom about what she feels  is important to her to complete so that she may leave content.  Maybe things are fine for her the way it is.   She may surprise you and ask to see the beach one more time or to eat a special meal.   She may not mention her sister at all.   Courage, honey,  take a deep breath, and ask her. 
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Hi Barcelona,
What I am going to say has more to do with your health than anything. I may be saying something that many may not agree with, but I feel it has helped me.
I think for your own health and well-being it is best to just try to let  things be, try to minimize the hurt and anger that is being built up inside of you. I have read somewhere that these type things being kept inside you are like acid, acid destroys the vessel in which it is kept, do not let these feelings destroy you.
Some one hurt me very badly, I let it bother me, then he was in a car accident, I thought  I would never wanted  anyone to think I would have wished this on anyone, I called the family to tell them I would never have wished that on him and I was saddened he was hurt. He came to see me after he recovered and shook my hand and apologized to me for what he had done.
My youngest daughter had a similar situation happen, a girl at school had been nasty to her, this same girl ended up in the hospital, my daughter reached out to her and they are not necessarily friends, but this girl has done a few things on behalf of my daughter to show my daughter that she thinks well of her. It has been a very positive thing.
I guess I am saying to reach out to someone that has hurt you, in many ways frees you and gives you benefits in ways never expected.
I think if you let it go, be civil, help your mother through to the end as best as you can, this will make it less stressful for both of you and turn what could be a situation that is going to hurt her and you at a time where it is more important to show love and forgiveness. I think if you do this you will save yourself a lot of unnecessary pain at a time when the most important thing is your moms care and comfort.
In the end you will be the better person, your health will be better and you will know you did well, and you will certainly have risen above them by not stooping down to their level.
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Anne H
So sorry for what you are going through with your mom - such a hard time for you. As far as your relatives, only you know the full situation and the best way to handle it.  Just off the top of my head, what I would do would be to make a quick call  (very, very quick)  to both parties.  Let them know that she was transferred into a Hospice unit.  period.  Let them do what they will do --- it is up to them, but you did everything you could to inform them --------they can never come back at you and say you didn't let them know.
Good luck to you!
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I am sorry this is happening.  There is very little, if anything you can do to control this situation except take control of yourself.  This is really out of your hands.  It is their nutty behavior, not yours.  They may try to make you own some of this, but it is not about you.

Since she is going to hospice, you can inform them where she is, and let it be.  It is then up to them whether they want contact or not.  I think your responsibility ends there.  As far as inheritances, that is beyond your control.  It is not your will, it is her's, and she made this decision with a sound mind.  I would be there for your mother's needs and honor her wishes. 
These relatives sound like a bunch of N's.  As with all N's, the best solution is to stay out of their way, do little, if nothing to initiate contact, realize they are incapable of caring for anyone, including your mother, in any real way, and they are incapable of caring about you.  They do not want explanations of how you feel or what you think, either.  I would share your explanations and how you feel on this board, where you are appreciated. and understood  They do not care about you.  I would lower my expectation that they have any type of normal behavior for more than a very short period of time, because they just do not get it, and I would not waste any time getting upset over their behavior.  Its difficult enough with your mother going to hospice.  They do not feel normally, so the pain of this bypasses them, most likely.  They are happy the way they are, they only want to control, and getting upset only gives them ammunition.  I would N proof myself and attend to what is really important with your mother.  N proofing means no contact, or as little contact as necessary, and not getting riled up about any of their antics.  They want that, so do not give to them.  N proofing is giving your attention to who really matters. 

My best to you.  
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Rachel B.
Hi Barcelona, Sorry about the tough position you're in, but glad that your Mom has you for a buffer.  I wondered, has she expressed her wishes in having these folks informed, or have you asked her?  Now of course I wouldn't want you to ask her if you know she'd be upset by it, but she may have thoughts & wishes.  And it would make it easier on you if you could say you were simply following her wishes. 
Another option is for her to write or dictate notes for them, for after she's gone.  She may choose to explain why she didn't want them there, or not - just tell them how she feels and what she thinks, and her wishes for the family's future.  She might love the idea of getting the last word! 
However, as far as taking things into your own hands and making the decisions, it sounds to me like you've done exactly right, keeping them informed of where she is and how she's doing.  Their lack of response says it all.  If at all possible, hold yourself to a higher standard than they have, so that in the end you can be satisfied and proud of YOURSELF, regardless of what they think or say, and peaceful in the knowledge that you did what's best for Mom, or what she asked.  (It certainly sounds like they'll find things to complain about no matter what you do.)  It's not always easy, I know - we're human, after all, and have our limits!  But I think that approach means less turmoil in the end. 
It sounds like your Mom is at peace with her decision, and unless she asks, it's not for anyone else to chime in or give opinions, it's HER life.  Everyone must accept it in their own way.
Stay brave!  I admire you.
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Barcelona,  I guess with your Mom going to hospice, you have a lot of your own feelings to struggle with...because your mom is making a decision to let go.  Be gentle with yourself, what a good person you are to be with your mom in these days.

MIA relatives...they come and go out of the wood work.  Know in yourself Barcelona, the integrity you act on will be with you, not meaning feelings of anger, resentment won't well up.  It's welling up in me for you right now...

But when you reflect on these times, you will know within, you did the right things.  My thoughts to you and your Mom. 
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Hi Barcelona:

I think some very good thoughts have been provided. I agree that being polite and civil is probably best (even though it is sometimes hard). Your brother may or may not come around and it is his loss if he chooses to not spend time with your mother. Hospice should be available to assist both you and your mom with how to best handle this situation. As for the Aunt, I would probably see what your mother wants. Does she want to call her, etc. Let her be your guide on this.


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