I Know You Are Not Dead Yet But I Want That

by admin on October 11, 2010

I will try to make this as short as possible, but some back story is required. My mother was divorced in 1984. A few years later she met a wonderful person. Both were divorced, so they took things slowly as neither wanted to rush into another marriage. Time went on, they lived together, and as the years passed the need to get married seemed less and less. They owned houses and cars together and the thought of spending money on a big party to celebrate their love seemed silly. They were both in their forties when they met and would frankly rather spend their money on other things. They’ve been to Paris, and taken cruises, really enjoyed themselves. They have been together for 22 years now. For the purposes of this story I shall refer to them as my mom and her partner.

Right after my mom divorced she met a couple we will call her “friends”. They have rarely lived in the same city, but have remained friends for 25 years. They have kept in touch by phone and visited when they could.

My mother and her partner live on the west coast. They had previously spent about 15 years in the Midwest. The plan was always to move back to the Midwest. So about 5 years ago they purchased their dream house, a large Victorian, and started renovations. The goal was to work on the house while they were still working and making a nice salary on the west coast. Then, by the time they were ready to retire they would move back to their dream house. The renovations were all done with this in mind. The laundry was put upstairs so that they would not have to carry laundry baskets when they got older, the bathroom has a separate tub and shower for easy access, that kind of thing. The house has minimal furnishings in it, only the basics for when they visit, as they were going to bring all of their antiques and other furniture when they moved.

Now we are at the present. Two weeks ago, my mother was feeling “off”. She went to the doctor and had some tests. It was discovered that she has a brain tumor. Stage 4 cancer. There is nothing they can do. The surgeons have given her approximately 6 weeks to live. She is 62 and was just starting to think about retirement. Her partner and I have been in constant communication. I currently live 2,200 miles away so cell phones have been a blessing. I should state I am an only child.

Now, I have left all decisions up to her partner. My feeling is they have been together 22 years, they might as well be married. I am here for any support needed and if my opinion is asked I happily give it. Since they are not married, I am the only legal heir. They do however each have a will naming the other. I told her partner from the beginning, I don’t want anything. Everything belongs to the two of you. You worked for it, you earned it, it is yours. This is going to be very difficult not only emotionally, but financially. My mother actually earned quite a bit more money and the financial strain is going to be enormous. I said, sell anything you want and use the money, you’re going to need every dime. I’m 44 years old and have built my own life, I don’t need anything of yours, just make sure you’re going to be able to survive.

So of course their dream house will be one of the first things sold. It is way too large for one person and frankly it was my mother’s dream. You can’t walk through there without feeling her in every corner. Her partner has decided to stay in the house they own on the west coast as it is smaller and the mortgage is less.

Here comes the tacky part. My mothers “friends” the couple I mentioned in the beginning of the story live about 20 minutes from the retirement house and for some reason my mother had given them a key. Most likely so that they could check on the contractors for her and that kind of thing. When they heard of my mothers illness, they went to the house. The walked through the entire house and made a list of all the things they “wanted”. These things include the brand new couch, my mothers old car which is stored in the garage for when they visit, a few antiques that were bought locally, brand new appliances, and other small items. They called my mother who is easily confused because of where the tumor is sitting and gave her their list.

First of all, she is still ALIVE. Second, why in the world would they think they are going to be given these expensive items? They did not ask for mementos of my mother. No pictures, or books, or letters. Just the most expensive and newest items they could find in the house. Needless to say, they are getting nothing. It is amazing to me that people hear of this kind of tragedy and their first thought is “what’s in it for me”. 0909-10

Condolences, LW, on the impending passing of your mother.

There was a quote by Elizabeth York that I used in my second book that went like this, “Weddings are fabulous crucibles that reveal the character of all those involved.”   As I’ve grown older and encountered more funeral and death related situations, I’ve amended that to, “Funerals are fabulous crucibles that reveal the character of all involved.”   Weddings may be the harbinger of latent character flaws but a death in the family will *really* bring out either the best or worst of people in ways one would have never expected.

{ 71 comments… read them below or add one }

lkb October 11, 2010 at 7:28 am

I too send my condolences to the OP and to her mother’s partner. May God help you through these trying times.

When I first read of the other couple’s gall, my first thought was of the biblical story of the Prodigal Son. When the younger son asked his father for his inheritance, in Judaism that was the equivalent of saying, “I wish you were dead.” It was galling in Jesus’ time and just as galling in this story.

I do hope the OP, her mother’s partner and her mother (if she’s still able) have made it clear in their wills and any other documentation that this other couple won’t receive a thing. They probably don’t have any legal standing but, be sure to get it in writing to make it clear the three of you are on the same page.

And get their key back — NOW! Whatever it takes. I don’t know that couple of course, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the “vapor content” of the things on the list increases.

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Jay October 11, 2010 at 7:57 am

Change the locks immediately, and take some photos. (or have someone else do it). Not sure the partner wants a lot of stuff vanishing from the house under mysterious circumstances, but I could see that happening without a little preparation.

(not sure why all the stuff about the non-marriage is relevent to the story, since the only one with standing to argue about it is the OP, but…)

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Joe J October 11, 2010 at 8:03 am

My condolences to the OP. And also kudos for having a spine and flat-out denying these so-called “friends”.

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aka Cat October 11, 2010 at 8:12 am

My condolences to the OP and her mother’s partner.

I bet that the “friends” figured that it would cost more to have those things shipped to the west coast than it was worth, and thought that they could take advantage of that. Key phrase: take advantage.

Of course, it doesn’t matter where everything is located if it’s just going to be sold. But I suppose you could send them an invitation to the estate sale, whenever that occurs.

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Carly October 11, 2010 at 8:22 am

Wow. That is absolutely horrible. I hope you set them straight in their place, and they receive NOTHING.

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Tagsmom October 11, 2010 at 8:26 am

First of all, hugs to the OP and the partner. The road ahead will not be easy.

I thought this one was going to end much differently! Luckily, the tacky friends have no legal standing in this matter, so there will be no problems there. I’d either get the key back or change the locks as soon as possible, though.

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casualobserver October 11, 2010 at 8:54 am

I would recommend changing the locks ASAP.

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NyxErebus October 11, 2010 at 8:57 am

Wow! How crass O_o and greedy too. Makes one wonder why they were friends of OP’s mother in the first place.

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patty October 11, 2010 at 8:57 am

I am appaled by this situation, my comment is directed to the OP. First, my sincere sympathy to you. I lost my mother to cancer this past May and it is devastating. I commend you for your attitude about your mom’s significant other and their belongings. Now on to the parasitic ‘friends’. Mom’s SO needs to get a locksmith to go to the retirement home and change the locks ASAP. If these horrible excuses for human beings figure out that they won’t be getting what they feel is their ‘due’ who knows what might disappear from the house. After all they have already shown themselves to have no honor, couth, or manners whatsoever who knows what they might do. Once that is done then these evil people should be told they may have no further contact with mom and may never step foot on the retirement home property again. So sad that anyone would be this unfeeling. So sorry for your situation dear.

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Just Laura October 11, 2010 at 8:59 am

First of all, I’d like to echo the admin and say that I’m so sad that this has happened to your family when the celebration of retirement should be in the future.
Second, thank you for your well-written, coherent piece. I could easily follow your story.
I’m sorry that you’ve had the additional stress of dealing with greedy people. Fortunately, I have never personally encountered people such as these, but I’ll relay a brief story of someone who did:
I had a summer job at a Mom & Pop flower shop, and during the time I worked there, the co-owner (Mom) died suddenly. Pop was devastated, but managed to do the funeral spray for her casket. Child One and Child Two were very helpful to Pop during this time, but Child Three and her husband went through the house and took whatever they wanted. Pop couldn’t find a mixing bowl one day, and asked Child Three about it. “Oh, we didn’t think you would need that anymore since Mom is gone.” He had to remind her that yes, he was very much alive and still had to eat periodically.

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Dana October 11, 2010 at 9:04 am

Firstly my condolences on your mother’s illness and her impending passing. I wanted to express my admiration at how well you are handling the situation and your maturity with regard to your mom’s partner. I’m sure that he appreciates your support and understanding at what is a very difficult situation for you both.

Having said that, what a piece of work these “friends” are. I sincerely hope that they were put in their place in no uncertain terms and that your mom’s partner won’t waste his time on these parasites again. It boggles my mind that, at a time like this, their priority could be anything other than offering you guys all the support and help that they could. I hope that you and all your family, and your mom’s partner are surrounded by supportive individuals who can help you through this time and that appreciate how valuable and precious true friendship is.

My thoughts are with you…

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Ripple October 11, 2010 at 9:04 am

My condolences as well.

I would make sure the door locks are changed as soon as possible, and do not give them a key. Otherwise, you might find that some of the smaller, less identifiable things will disappear.

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Ruth October 11, 2010 at 9:15 am

That’s horrible. I hope their…vulture-like behavior doesn’t cause your mother and her partner more stress at the end. Perhaps you and her partner can draw a line to allow them to visit and say goodbye but not ask for anything.

I really don’t understand how people can think like that. My mother’s been dead just over 2 months and I still feel like a graverobber for having taken home a few of her shawls and books and some kitchen stuff. My Dad was trying to clean up the house and would’ve given them to Goodwill anyway, but it still feels wrong to see them around my apartment. And that’s after she was already dead.

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SammyHammy October 11, 2010 at 9:23 am

I hope the locks have been changed on that house, otherwise, these “friends” might just decide to resort to some self-service to get the things they want.

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Jess October 11, 2010 at 9:39 am

That is utterly appalling, especially giving the list directly to the ailing woman! It makes me wonder what those “friends” have done for her that makes them think they have a right to claim those items. Disgusting…

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Kai October 11, 2010 at 9:47 am

A quick note to Miss Jeanne: I was just about to start researching for my English essay (I’d decided to write about how weddings can destroy relationships), thank you for mentioning that Elizabeth York quote. Perfect timing, I think it’s one of those ‘meant to be’ moments.

To the LW: I’m very sorry to hear about your mother. I couldn’t imagine how I would feel if that were to happen to mine. My sincerest condolences. It also speaks volumes towards your character how you treat your mothers partner and that you want nothing but for him to be looked after once your mother has gone, and I think that would make your mother very proud.

These ‘friends’ however, are not friends. Who finds out a friend is dying and goes on a wishlist shopping spree? Not only that, but gives this wishlist to the poor woman herself. The instinct of a true friend is to offer as much help as possible to their friend, and to their friends family.

I can understand once a person has passed, to ask the family about possibly receiving a little memento to remember her by (such as a favourite book or ornament). Something that means something, not just wanting expensive new goodies. But there is a right way and a wrong way to ask, and certainly a wrong time to ask.

What is sadder to me, is that these friends chose to reveal their greediness while your mother is alive, and to your mother herself. She now unfortunately has to find out what sorry friends they are.

Once again I am very sorry for your mother, and I wish you comfort and support when she does leave this earth.

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Jillybean October 11, 2010 at 9:56 am

Yikes! I think I would have been inclined to send them a small note:

Thank you for taking the time to tour my mother’s home while she is dying. It is wonderful that you decided to be so proactive in helping to provide financial support to her partner as he copes with this difficult emotional loss. We have received the list of items you would like to purchase from my mother’s estate after she has passed and have provided an itemized bill. Your total will be (insert market value of items + 15% for their crassness). Once we have received your payment you can pick up your items.

Then I would have happily never given these losers another thought, as I suspect you would never have heard from them again.

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Chanel October 11, 2010 at 9:58 am

How awful – I’m sorry you are having to deal with this in your mother’s last days. I would definitely call a locksmith and have the doors re-keyed immediately so the scum that made the list don’t help themselves. I agree that funerals bring out the true character of many – how sad.

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Caitlin October 11, 2010 at 10:16 am

The only time I would consider this even VAUGELY appropriate is in this situation (that my family is having right now)
My gradmother has become very ill, and as my father is also unwell, my mother works fulltime and me and my partner rent a small flat none of us can care for her, so we have had to arrange for her to go into a home. To pay for it, we’ve had to sell her house, but we didn’t want to sell the heirlooms. So, we went round her house deciding what we wanted to keep. It felt really, really nasty doing it.

So, I can’t even imagine doing this, then rubbing it in your mothers face. I felt horrid taking things I KNEW my grandmother wanted to have, so how on earth they could think that was acceptable…

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Qwisp October 11, 2010 at 10:19 am

Wow. If they have a key I would change the locks, these sound like the type of people who will come in and help themselves to what ever they want.

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Ann October 11, 2010 at 10:24 am

First, OP I am so sorry that your mother, her partner, and you are experiencing this difficult situation.

Second, please have the locks on that house changed immediately. You might also consider informing local law enforcement and the neighbors that this couple is in no way acting on your mother’s, her partner’s, or your behalf. From personal experience, I can tell you that once your mother passes, these people are likely to swoop in and clean the place out. In my case it happened during the church services.

There are so many people in this world who have an incredible sense of entitlement and no shame.

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Typo Tat October 11, 2010 at 10:53 am

If it were the poor woman’s child or sibling demanding stuff, I’d say it was horrible and insensitive. But so called “friends”? Are these people crazy?

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Jen October 11, 2010 at 11:01 am

I can totally relate to the LW’s story and I agree with Admin when she said “Funerals are fabulous crucibles that reveal the character of all involved.”

My MIL, who I got along with so well that I looked upon as a second mother, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September 2005. The doctors did everything they could and the immediate family was hoping that “Mom” would make it to the New Year 2006. Sadly, she passed the morning of November 18, 2005.

The thing that I found most shocking was the behavior of her sisters. It seemed like no sooner was she laid to rest that they were divying up items that belonged to my MIL. For example, my in-laws had the dining room table that originally belonged to my husband’s grandparents (Mom’s mother and father). They felt that should go to one of my MIL’s siblings.

One problem with this…My FIL was (and still is) very much alive and all those items were for him to decide to distribute as HE wished. It didn’t surprise the immediate family (my huband, his brother and father) that, when this myth was dispelled we no longer heard from them.

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whoop October 11, 2010 at 11:05 am

I just threw up in my mouth a little. That is horrible.

Are you sure that your mom didn’t tell them at some point that they could choose some things for her to leave them in her will or something? That’s the only explanation I could think of for why they would give a list while she was still breathing. Though even then it would not fully excuse their behavior because like you said, your mother’s partner could really use the money, and a good friend would hopefully be more tactful and either refuse, choose only one item that meant a lot to them, or take a personal memento.

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whoop October 11, 2010 at 11:08 am

But perhaps more importantly, I give you my sincerest condolences and I hope that this incident will not cloud this time for you, your mother, and her partner. I hope it can be full of love instead.

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TheOtherAmber October 11, 2010 at 11:18 am

I don’t know when this was submitted but if it’s not too late then please urge your mother’s partner to get the locks on the house changed NOW. I think he can contact a locksmith there and fax proof of ownership of the home to confirm that they have a right to have the locks changed. I highly suspect that if this is not done then by the time the partner gets to the house later those items will have been removed. You might also want to find a way to let these “friends” know that they are not being given the items and should any of them be missing from the house then a police report will be filed and charges laid. I am so sorry about your mother, it’s an incredibly difficult thing to go through and it shouldn’t have to be compounded by having to deal with people like that.

I knew a woman very much like this once. She was a Tupperware saleslady and always found a way to get quite close to the people she sold to. She had befriended an older lady that I knew and would take her for errands from time to time. Until one day when, at the older lady’s house, she admired some expensive figurines and asked if they could be left to her in the will. And she wasn’t joking.

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Louise October 11, 2010 at 11:31 am

OP, I am so sorry to hear about your mother. The entitlement of her “friends” made me sick to my stomach. They aren’t friends, they are vultures. I’m glad your mom has a will that hopefully will ensure these horrible people get nothing. Their behaviour is worse than an etiquette breach, it’s downright horrifying.

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Onlyme October 11, 2010 at 11:48 am

My sympathises on you’re mom’s diagnoses. As for the friends just wow!

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Kimberly October 11, 2010 at 11:50 am

Please please please talk to your Mom’s partner and get someone you all can trust to go in and have all the locks changed, and do an inventory. If these vultures have stolen anything press charges.

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Shayna October 11, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Good heavens! My condolences to you and your Mom’s partner on her impending passing. I’d cut those vultures….ahem…I mean “friends” off right now and change those locks lest something should go “missing” from the home.

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gramma dishes October 11, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Agree totally with Kimberly (post #3). These people need to be shut off right now and never have one moment’s access to anything belonging to your Mom. As Kimberly suggested, get the locks changed immediately and check to make sure nothing is already missing.

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Country Girl - Original Poster October 11, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Thank you everyone for your condolences. They are very much appreciated. Just to let everyone know, I live approximately 20 minutes from the empty house. (I moved 3 years ago so that I could be close to my mother when she retired.)

Since the writing of this post, with the knowledge of my mother and her partner, I have removed the car from the garage. The house is on the market and I personally have been visiting there frequently to make sure everything is clean and in place in the hopes of getting the house sold. I am watching carefully to make sure nothing goes “missing”. Thank you again to everyone.

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gramma dishes October 11, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Question for the OP: If your Mom and her partner bought this house together, then wouldn’t the partner’s name also be on the title? (Or is there a will naming the partner?) I don’t know how these people (the friends) could possibly think they are entitled to something that is in a home that belongs to both your Mom and someone else. Clearly the furniture, car, and any other items inside the house belong to the joint owners.

I’m so sorry that your Mom isn’t going to be able to enjoy this dream house as she had hoped and planned for, but she has you and her partner and apparently much love and that’s the best gift in life anyone could ever have.

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Sarah Jane October 11, 2010 at 1:08 pm

To be fair, how does the OP know that these people scratched out a list of things they expect to be “given”? Was the information relayed to the OP by the mother, whom the OP states can be confused? Perhaps these friends of the mother were offering to buy these items and were given first choice because of the assistance they have offered in looking after the place over the years.

It seems that if they are this jerky, the mother’s partner will already have a clue and tell them to back off.

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Twilight October 11, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Wow, I’ve read many tales of heinous behavior on E-Hell but hands down this one takes the cake. How utterly cruel and insensitive! I am so sorry you had to deal with these numbskulls on top of the anguish you are already going through. My sincere condolences on the impending loss of your mother.

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Mother of a Bride October 11, 2010 at 1:37 pm

OP/Country Girl

I too would like to offer my condolences. I am glad to see that you are keeping an eye on things. I’d go ahead and get the locks changed if I were you. I know it’s just one more thing to add to your already full plate, but it would prevent anything from going missing.

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Enna October 11, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Shocking change the locks ASAP and cut contact with those blood suckers!

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Rebecca October 11, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Echoing all PP’s recommendations to change the locks, and take photos. Who knows what else these people will stoop to. Unbelievable.

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The Cat Whisperer October 11, 2010 at 2:59 pm

My condolences to the OP. This must be a very tough time, and she seems to be handling it with grace and class.

FWIW, nothing surprises me about the ways people act when a death brings about the possibility of a windfall. To wit:

My grandmother and her eldest daughter, my aunt, lived in an assisted living apartment building in San Francisco. They moved in together after my grandfather died, and lived together for 12 years, when my grandmother passed away. My aunt continued to live in the building until she died very suddenly and unexpectedly 11 months later.

My mom asked my husband and I to come up to San Francisco with her to clear the apartment out. The manager of the building was very anxious for it to be cleared out because there was a waiting list to get into the apartments.

When we arrived, the manager opened the apartment for us and left us to do what we had to do.

We hadn’t been there ten minutes before one of the other residents of the building came in to see us. Not, as we first expected, to express condolences for the death of my mother’s sister, but to ask if she could have some of the things from the apartment! We were bewildered and asked her if she had known my aunt well. Not at all, it turned out, except as resident of the same building!

We were there for four days clearing things out and packing, and during that time these elderly residents of the building were like a flock of vultures circling around! We found that if we left the apartment untended and unlocked for even a few minutes to carry things down to the truck we rented, we’d come back to find elderly residents poking around in the apartment or actually trying to carry things away!!!!! Every time they saw us, residents would ask us what we were doing with my aunt’s things, if they could have something. And most of them admitted that they really didn’t know her, she hadn’t been a friend or even a good acquaintance. “She’s dead so she won’t be needing things anymore,” was the way one of these silver-haired vultures put it!

The manager told us that that was the way it always was following a death: the residents would swoop in to see what they might be able to get.

Since then, I’ve had to deal with a number of deaths in the family, and it’s really disillusioning to see how mercenary people become.

For this reason, my advice to people is to make a will as soon as you have anything that the family could fight over and update it frequently. Name beneficiaries to all your financial accounts and update the beneficary information as necessary. Don’t take it for granted that people will do the right thing after you pass on: money changes everything.

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Simone October 11, 2010 at 3:10 pm

My sincere condolences to you and your mother’s partner.

Letting us know that you live only 20 minutes away from the retirement house removed even the vague justification suggested by aka Cat. [NOT implying that aka Cat was trying to justify their behaviour, she just suggested a possible reason for their heinous behaviour based around taking advantage of shipping issues].

These people are truly terrible. How unfortunate that your mother found that out in this way.

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acr October 11, 2010 at 3:58 pm

I agree with the other posters – what horrible people! In your place, I would already be working to sell those items so you don’t have to do it all at once if the house sells. You may want to contact a person who does estate sales. Then the buyers will come to the house and take the stuff away. I think that would probably be the easiest way.

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Elizabeth Bunting October 11, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Dear OP, I am so sorry to hear of your mother’s illness and impending death. You will miss her very much. These so-called friends are being very cruel to you and to your mother’s partner. Both of you are in serious grief and do not need the manipulation of greedy, selfish people.

I agree with the previous contributors. Change the locks immediately. Get a restraining order if you have to. Your mother’s property belongs to her significant other and yourself. I really don’t see where the “friends” should figure in this family constellation at all.

Grieve for your mother without having the added worry of other people. Enough is enough!

You are in my thoughts and prayers,

Elizabeth

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badkitty October 11, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Sincerest condolences in this difficult time.

I really thought as I was reading that they were going to offer to buy the house or something and I thought, “nothing wrong with that, as long as they knew it was being sold.” Then I read what they actually did and I gasped and felt my stomach lurch; I didn’t quite throw up, but that was a near thing. I cannot even imagine what possesses some people. That is just beyond creepy, to go into someone’s unoccupied, unfinished home and start making out your wish list is sick enough, and these people would be toasty enough for that offense… but to call the woman who has so little time left, who needs to be sharing it with her family and those who truly care, and ask to take her things away from her dream home just as soon as she’s cold is absolutely the most horrid thing I have read on this site. Ever. And there have been some doozies! My only hope is that since, as you say, your mother is more easily confused now she won’t remember the horrid, hateful, opportunistic, slimy thing these non-friends have done and will only remember the good times and happy conversations. Don’t give them another thought, don’t worry about payback or correcting their unforgivable rudeness; just ignore and forget, because they will never be worth even a moment of your time or anyone else’s.

Again, I’m deeply sorry for your impending loss, and I hope that your mother’s remaining time is joyful and pleasant, filled with all the love that you and her partner so obviously have for her.

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Tara October 11, 2010 at 4:46 pm

I don’t know if it’s too late, I don’t don’t want to seem tacky, but I really am concerned for the well-being of your mother’s partner.

Marriage isn’t about love, it’s about legal rights. Obviously, as your mother and her partner have proven, you don’t need marriage to have a strong commitment and love for one another. You do need marriage to protect certain legal rights. Luckily for her partner, you are not going to fight what’s been willed to him. Do you have any siblings, though?

However, without being married, any possessions held solely in your mother’s name will be subject to taxation upon her death when they’re passed to her partner (even if no one fights it). Her partner also won’t be able to benefit from your mother’s social security or pensions… those will be gone when she passes. I also think (90% sure) that even if your mother did sign everything over right now, it would still be subject to taxation since it was done a certain amount of time before death (I think 3 years is the limit).

Marriage doesn’t need to cost a fortune. My husband and I spent $100 at the courthouse to get married, and not a penny more. If there’s still time, she might want to really consider it, in order to protect her partner. The grief of course won’t be lessened, but the financial hardship will be.

My condolences to you both.

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Sharon October 11, 2010 at 6:04 pm

OP, I would like to commend you for your compassionate and selfless attitude toward your mom and her partner. It is very touching and refreshing to read a post where people are willing to put their own selves aside for the good of others.
Things like this are so devastating. While it is going on, things happen that you will remember for the rest of your life. Both the good and the bad.
You have done the very best to make things as stress free for your mom and her partner. Carry that in your heart. It is a great testimony of what a good mom you had.
As for Greedy Gus and Grabby Glenda, I say, “POOF!!! BE GONE!!!” They have revealed a lot about their raising, too.. and, it aint good.
Please do change the locks, take a pictoral inventory, and then shake their dust off your feet. Your mom deserves better, her partner deserves better, and so do you.

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jenna October 11, 2010 at 6:29 pm

The selfish nerve of those people just made me make a gagging sound in my mouth as I read this. Eugh. That is worse than the worst wedding stories.

BTW Tara has a point – it is actually too bad they did not get married (not too bad that they didn’t throw a party, just that they didn’t make it legal)…it will be a lot harder even if he is in the will and taxes will take a far larger chunk. There are legal issues that it is unfortunate were not considered.

This is actually a big reason why I got married recently…my husband and I do not actually feel that a wedding is the day you seal a commitment to someone else. That happens far earlier in your heart, and without fanfare. All a wedding does is make it legal (we’re such sentimentalists, ha!) – so we didn’t feel any sort of solemn or earth-moving emotions on our wedding day: all those “we’re in this for life” Big Change feelings happened long ago. However, we travel a lot and therefore having a legal next of kin and decision-maker is important, so we made it legal. (I hope everyone, regardless of sexual preference, will have this right someday).

As such, they didn’t need to throw a party or spend a lot to honor their commitment – but it would have been a good idea to get married for legal purposes if they were already older and planning to live out retirement together.

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Dina October 11, 2010 at 6:55 pm

@Tara – Marriage is more than a legal contract for some people, though, and I’m sure they considered the legal hurdles when they decided not to bother.

I believe strongly in common-law/defacto marriage rights (like what we have in Australia), and I think it’s a crying shame that they aren’t widespread in the States, too.

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Kelly October 11, 2010 at 7:53 pm

A few years back my aunt was living in my grandmother’s house while grandma was in a rest home. Her will specified that upon her death, the house was to be sold and the money split among the four children. However, when grandma actually died, my aunt didn’t want to leave, and tried to convince her siblings to sell their shares in the house to her for a dollar. They all refused, and well they should have – this was in the SF Bay Area, and the house sold for $750,000!

It caused a permanent rift in the family, because my aunt thinks her siblings were just being greedy for wanting their share, and they all think SHE’S greedy for wanting to keep that financial windfall for herself. So yes, deaths in the family can be revealing, in a bad way.

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Tori October 11, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Wow Im sorry about your mother. I know what it is like to lose a close family member.

This reminds me of my Aunt Kelly. When my grandma died we were all really sad but sort of happy for her at the same time. She had been in the hospital off and on for a year. She had had a heart attack and needed a surgery then the wound from the surgery got infected then it got infected AGAIN. So she had suffered a lot. Well she was creamated and we spread her ashes at the house she raised my dad and his brothers at.This is a country house with a few acres of wooded land. The drive-way was about a mile long. My cousin, my little sister, and I took the Go-Kart to go to this one little nook that had Lupins(flowers) which were her favorite. We brought them back to the little memorial my uncle had made. So anyways Aunt Kelly refused to go to the memorial service with all the family and friends and some people from her church. Then she also refused to go to the little barbque we had at the country house. Later we found out this was because she was upset about somethings she or her kids didn’t get. Her children and husband didn’t have a problem with this. Aunt Kelly still doesn’t like my little part of the family, my mom dad me and my little sister. The reason why? Oh yeah because a few years ago when the economy went down my dad had to shut down his business down and file bankruptcy. At the time grandma was nearly blind so she cant drive and they didnt really need their second car so they gave it to my parents because the car we had, had really really expensive insurance so we had to sell it. Then my mom who isnt a bad driver just a very unlucky person was in a car accident that totaled our other car.

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Mojo October 12, 2010 at 1:32 am

I’d like to echo evryone else’s thoughts, and offer you condolences for this difficult time you are going through. Losing a parent is a terrible experience, especially since you have to deal with all of this as well.

As you’ve seen from these comments, you’re not alone when it comes to dealing with vultures. When my father died three years ago, my brother insisted on coming to the funeral. He hadn’t spoken to father for over ten years, and I think he was still bitter about the divorce.

After the ceremony, my brother wandered through the house saying “I’ll have that, and that, and that”. I had to point out to him that father’s partner was still very much alive, living in the house, and that the house and contents now belonged to her. It simply wasn’t his to take. Some families just can’t seem to grasp that.

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