Posted by Dinah on July 7, 2008, at 11:48:52
And finds it depressing himself. He too hoped this day would never come.
How can I hold out any hope at all if he doesn't?
It all boils down to my mother. When my father died, we lost any control over her at all. Now she has zero money. She gets a small pension each year and a very small amount of social security. Daddy left me some money to use to take care of her, but unavoidable expenses on her house top ten thousand dollars a year, because of insurance rates skyrocketing after Katrina.
Moreover she still doesn't have walls in her house. When Katrina hit, she was out of town with her siblings. She stayed out of town for many months after. Then she had a death in her family and had to leave again. That I understood. But on the way back, she visited every state in the US she hadn't yet visited, thus spending the rest of what she had been left by my father, and wasting over six months of time on the house.
She's a hoarder, and had stuff piled to the ceilings when she got ten or so inches of water. This actually worked to her advantage, since the stuff at the bottom of the piles captured a lot of the water, so her damage was not so bad as many in that mold did not grow in big clumps. But mold did grow. All this time she refused to let anyone throw anything away. And spent the next year having the people helping her box up all her stuff, including old catalogues and newspaper. Her church kept trying to come and help her, but she was never ready because the junk wasn't up yet. They had a volunteer certified electrician and plumber and everything. They kept giving her deadlines and she missed them. So finally the volunteers went to help at other disasters and she lost that chance. Her flood insurance was not sufficient to cover the damages but it, coupled with the help from her church, would have put everything right if she hadn't missed the help from the church and if she hadn't spent all the money on labor boxing up her hoards. Now the money's run out. She has to get her boxed up stuff out of storage, and there is simply no volume in her house (which still does not have internal walls) to put it in. If she manages to squeeze it in somehow, she won't be able to reach the walls to put wallboard on them. And there seems to be no hurry to do any of that anyway on her part.
I should add that at no point was she willing to accept my help, because she knew I wouldn't be crazy about boxing up damp moldy trash. And because I wanted to hire an actual professional.
She's got her rat problem under control for the moment at least. But her neighbors are ready to turn her in to the parish for her outside trash. Recycling ended here at Katrina, but she refuses to throw away her newspapers and bottles, and they're piled everywhere. Her neighbors got her leftover rats and they are determined she *has* to get rid of the trash around her house. They've held neighborhood meetings and everything, as I just discovered Friday when a neighbor caught me as I was going in.
This wouldn't be any of my business, I guess, except Daddy made me executor of the estate, which owns half the house. And when we come into possession, I'll control that half. But just the house. She lives there, and it's her stuff.
I don't make a huge amount, and I'm not terribly responsible with money myself, so I don't have huge reserves to fund all this. Even just paying the essentials, it'll only last a few years. If I have to pay for people to trim the trees, people to cut the grass, and people to haul off her trash and otherwise make the outside of her home acceptable to the government and her neighbors, it will last less than that.
She refuses to move. She refuses to do anything to change any of this. She is in total denial that it is a problem. And to add to that, she'd never have made the past few years without the family member who is staying with her to help with the house. With the money run out, there's no way to pay that family member any more, so what will she do then? She's hardly able to walk because of toe amputations. She frequently can't see because of retinopathy.
There's no point trying to have her declared incompetent, because that would take all my money in legal fees.
At this point my inclination is to renounce my father's estate, hand everything over to whoever, and tell both her and my brother that I never want to hear from them again. Or else take the final escape so that I'll be lucky like my father and not have to deal with this.
But that's not what Daddy wanted. He wanted me to make sure she had a roof over her head.
My therapist thinks it's hopeless. He doesn't even try to problem solve with me other than to say not to use the money I have to use to pay the insurance and taxes to pay to bail her out of what is the consequence of her own choices. But as far as the outside is concerned I have to, because I'll be responsible to the parish. And she screams and yells and I'm afraid of her. She only hit me a few times growing up, but her rages have always terrified everyone, including my father.
I don't know what to do, but I do know I need more from him, and he has nothing more to give.
My husband detests my mother, and wants me to walk away. I don't know if I *can*. She may not be clinically insane, and she seems more stubborn than nuts. But clearly she must be both. She's done so much for me. How can I walk away when I know that walking away will end up with her taking loans on the house and losing it, with no means to live anywhere else. And she is *not* living with me.
I just want *out*.