Monday, April 30, 2012


"Just goes to show you,"as Gilda used to say, "If it isn't one thing, it's another."  A week ago Saturday night my brother-in-law collapsed and died and was found the next morning by his mother (my mother-in-law) who is 86 yrs. old and suffers from beginning stages Alzheimers.  (Possibly dementia brought on by a head injury from a fall 10 yrs. ago.)  She had the good presence of mind to call 911.  The race began.  Before we could get there (an hour and a half drive plus packing) the ex-wife (being ex for 11 years) and grown children had entered the house and stolen all of his personal documents.  Seriously.  The coroner was taking care of the body and they were stealing his personal effects.  By Tues. we had retained a lawyer and discovered that my husband is the executor of his brother's will, but we didn't have any of the documents yet.  Finally Thursday they brought the documents back after copying everything he had.  And they only brought them back because of attorneys telling them they had to do so.  They had by that time chased down any possible chance of money they could get their hands on.  They tried to steal a car at the house. We stopped them.

This saga is even more complicated from discovery that they all, the ex, the children, and the brother had been syphoning money from my mother-in-law for years, after also sucking every penny from my husband's brother.  Now we are in charge of her and are trying to figure out the brother's estate and what is left of the mother's estate for her care. 

Are we having fun yet?  There is more drama to this I will not go into, but I wonder if my readers are as appalled as I am.  Trying to manage thoughts on ethics, morals, care for our elderly parents, all of the above, I am sickened by what this week has brought.  Free money at some other person's expense and how could they look anyone in the face after this.  What sort of people live in this country?  What kind of people take money from an elderly woman with dementia?  If I could describe her for a minute: She is a real lady of perfect manners.  She is tiny, slender and elegant.  She is a former concert pianist who can still play, though a bit rusty.  She was the wife of a thoracic / abdominal surgeon.  She raised three sons.  She is sweet and completely adorable.  I would recommend that anyone who met her would find her charming and just a wonderful person.  She comes from a day and time when family took care of and respected their elders. 

Well, you live and learn.  This is one lesson I wish I had not had.  We are extremely busy ...for the past week and the next weeks.  We are trying to place my mother-in-law in assisted living and getting her settled with new Dr.s and all the support she needs.  My husband, needless to say, is flat out exhausted at this point.  We'll get through this somehow, but in the meantime I won't be writing quite as frequently.  Now you know where I've been for the last several days and what I'll be doing for the next few weeks.  There is a lot of work to do.

Good thoughts are welcome!


  1. My dear Cheryl, my prayers are with you and Jim. It's sad enough that Jim should lose a brother so suddenly but when the vultures show up..well that is disgusting. I'd like to say it is an annomoly and rarely happens but that is not the case. It has happened twice in my family so far.

    Try to stay calm and take it one day at a time. From your description of Jim's mom, she deserves so much better and I know you and Jim will see to it that she gets it.

  2. My sympathies to you and your family for your loss.

    Unfortunately, this scene is playing out across America far too often. My next door neighbor's nephew who lived with her and her husband for ten years passed away two weeks ago.

    Suddenly, the family that he has not seen in all that time pops up, i.e., his children who never cared to know their dad and you guessed, it, wrestling control of anything from the people with whom the nephew lived for a decade and a half, they have taken control.

    Not even a word of thanks for looking out for dad. Need I say that they are now being treated like outsiders?

    Have we as a nation come to this?

    Sad indeed.

    God bless and keep you all.