Taking Compassion And Hospitality A Bit Too Far

by admin on November 2, 2011

I have a story about an ungrateful, impolite guest. At the time, I was around eighteen or nineteen and enjoying Christmas break from college at my grandmother’s house. I’ve always been very close with my maternal grandparents and, due to some unrelated family issues, was raised by them during my teenage years. My grandmother has always taken care of everyone, whether they’re related to her or not. Sadly, my grandfather was in the latter stages of Alzheimer’s disease at the time that this story takes place and a few years later, he passed away.

An important thing to mention is that my uncle, that grandmother’s youngest son, died suddenly and tragically in a car accident when I was eight years old. The horrible, terrible guest in this story is that uncle’s ex-girlfriend. I loved my uncle, and he was a great man – the only negative thing you’ll ever hear me say about him is that he had horrible taste in women! I’ll call this woman “Jane”.

Jane is from the deep south. My family lives in upstate New York. My grandmother wound up inviting Jane up for Christmas that year. I cringed internally when she told me this, knowing that Jane is the type of alcoholic who drinks from the time she gets up (usually in the afternoon) until the time she goes to bed (usually in the wee hours of the morning), and that her volume increases as her blood alcohol level does. But it’s not my house, not my call, so I suck it up and try to be cordial to the woman. I can sort of understand my grandmother’s wish to spend time with this woman and reminisce about her son/Jane’s ex. I find myself avoiding talking to her (and in turn, lose out on a lot of time I could be spending with my grandparents) because I find it difficult to be in the company of people who drink to such an excess, but I don’t think she noticed this possible lapse in etiquette on my part.

Until one fateful night near the end of Jane’s visit. Jane decided to go out to a bar to celebrate. I don’t think there was any occasion in particular – it was during the week between Christmas and New Years’, I remember that much. Finally, I had a quiet night with my grandparents, without Jane’s intoxicated shouting. At that point, I could tell my grandmother was exhausted. I helped her to get grandpa ready and into bed, and we said goodnight early. At two in the morning, the phone rings. It’s Jane, sobbing uncontrollably and shouting into the phone. I try to figure out what she’s trying to say and fail. To me, it’s a mess of incoherent drunk talk. My grandmother gets on the phone and, after about twenty minutes of trying to talk to Jane, determines that she’s calling to request a ride back to my grandmother’s house. Apparently, she drank away her cab fare, which had been the original plan for getting back. There’s something else about her getting into a fight at the bar because “somebody was talking bad about “Henry”” – my uncle, who at this point has been dead for ten years.

Despite all of our better judgment, my grandmother gets out of bed and drives into town (a roughly twenty minute drive) to pick Jane up. She has me stay awake to keep an eye on my grandfather, who like I said suffered from Alzheimer’s and sometimes gets out of bed in the middle of the night. “Wandering” is always a danger for people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, so watching my grandfather to make sure that he doesn’t leave the house was what I was doing. So I get a cup of tea and sit in the kitchen to wait for my grandmother to return. About an hour and a half later (so this is around 3:30 am, now) they return. It took my grandmother almost forty-five minutes to coax Jane into the car. Grandmother is dead-tired at this point and just mutters to me that she’s going back to bed, on her way past me. I keep an eye on Jane until she settles onto the couch and appears to pass out.

Less than twenty minutes later, I start to hear shouting in the kitchen. I get out of bed for the second time that night because of the houseguest from hell, and find her drinking another beer. She’s shouting more incoherence (again, something about this alleged bar fight she got into over my uncle’s memory) – who she’s shouting to, I’m not entirely sure, because everyone else in the house is asleep at four in the morning! I approach the situation with a kind suggestion first (“Jane, it’s a little bit late, why don’t you try to get some sleep?”) and when that’s ignored, I move on to something a bit more firm (“Jane, it’s four in the morning and grandma and grandpa are trying to sleep. You need to be quiet.”). That also fails to work. At this point, I’m livid and I can hear my grandmother trying to calm my grandfather down. Grandpa’s getting restless and alarmed because he can hear Jane’s shouting, hollering, and caterwauling.

At this point, something in me snaps and I calmly take the beer from Jane’s hand and pour it down the sink, while informing her that the party’s over and it’s time for bed now. Her protests are loud and angry. I wasn’t very worried about my own well-being – she’s so drunk she can barely stand up. True to form, the only way she fights me is by screaming obscenities and calling me every name she can think of. I check the refrigerator to make sure that there’s no more beer in it, turn out the kitchen light, and say goodnight.

My grandmother thanked me in private the next morning for getting Jane to shut up and go to bed, but to this day (eight or so years later) still talks to the woman regularly on the telephone, considering her a family friend. I say no friend would ever cause the kind of scene that Jane did, or drag a sixty year old woman out of bed at 2 in the morning to pick her up at a bar, and refuse to talk to this woman myself again. It does bother me a little that my grandmother forgave her, especially after hearing Jane call me a “fat b****” over and over that night, but overall it’s her choice who she keeps in contact with.  0518-11

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Louisa November 2, 2011 at 4:44 am

I feel for your grandmother, as her need to maintain links with her lost son must be the reason why she still has this obnoxious woman in her life. As a parent I can’t blame her. However this woman’s behavious is revolting and you have not committed an etiquette faux pas, IMO, by avoiding her. I do not drink a drop anymore, as I refused to admit I had a problem until people like yourself avoided me long enough for me to realise I was an obnoxious drunk. Trust me, it’s better for your sanity and her health-I don’t believe we owe that much consideration to those too drunk to behave-especially if it is repeat behaviour. Good for you for your protection of your grandparents that night.

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Sarah Peart November 2, 2011 at 6:50 am

Reading this post I had the impression that all the complaints were leading up to the idea that her grandmother should have cut contact with Jane because she repeatedly called her fat! Had that come in the middle of the post and the last sentence was “after everything she had done I could not understand my grandmother forgiving her.” I would not have had the same experience, to sort of prove this I read the post to four friends – twice the original and twice my altered version. Their reaction was the same as mine! It was very unfortunate that they were such a small group, one older, one ill and I imagine the poster not able to drive. I think she should have a long talk with her grandmother and see why she wants to keep contact with Jane. Maybe she could fill the gap – leaving an old woman with a sick (and getting ever more frail) husband at the mercy of a heavy drinker is maybe not a etiquette fail but it is a human fail.

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Kathryn Dickinson November 2, 2011 at 8:58 am

I do not think this is an etiquette problem, this is a unfortunate Alcoholic problem. The poster has held onto this resentment too long. If your Grandmother wants to enable this lady its her problem. Staying angry at this pitiful woman is not doing the poster any good. Resentment is the poison you drink and expect the other guy to die.

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Hemi Halliwell November 2, 2011 at 9:07 am

You handled that situation well. You refused to fight with her and took away the alcohol. I think your grandmother keeps in touch with her and forgave her because she was part of uncle “Henry’s” life or maybe your grandmother feels sorry for her.

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Xtina November 2, 2011 at 9:18 am

First and foremost–Jane needs professional help for her alcohol problem. I hope she can get it, if she hasn’t already. Alcohol addiction changes people drastically.

Second–although I’m not sure what the purpose of mentioning that Jane was from a different area of the country was, it does lead me to believe that there must have been some reason that Grandma kept in touch with her, for all the distance that was between them. OP, you are right that it’s Grandma’s choice who she keeps in touch with, and perhaps when Jane is sober, she’s a completely different person. I imagine that the sober Jane would be completely and utterly embarrassed at her drunken behavior, including the night in question here (if she even remembers it)–but such is the nature of alcoholism. The only cure is for her to get help. Maybe Grandma felt that she couldn’t abandon Jane when she was in so much personal trouble.

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Anonymous November 2, 2011 at 9:23 am

I’m sorry, but why does your family keep that close in touch with someone who was just the girlfriend of a guy who died 10 years ago? Unless they were engaged or had been living together for a long time, I just don’t see why you would voluntarily subject yourself to someone like this. They were just boyfriend and girlfriend. She’s not exactly family.

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Psyche November 2, 2011 at 9:41 am

*facepalm* There’s a fine line between being compassionate and being a doormat! When are people going to learn?!

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kudzuqueen November 2, 2011 at 9:46 am

Well I’m not sure why you told us that Jane was from the deep south and your family lives in upstate New York. This part of the background doesn’t come into play anywhere in the story. It’s hard to tell if you are implying that because Jane was from the deep south she was a loud, obnoxious drunk and there aren’t any in upstate New York or if because she was from the deep south she should have had better manners than to become a loud, obnoxious drunk and if that is the case what are you saying about upstate New York.

That aside, I commend you for how you managed to take control of the situation with Jane’s drunken behavior, especially as a teenager. I know your grandmother must have truly appreciated it. Both of my grandmothers (maternal and paternal) had Alzheimer’s and they lived with us until they passed on with my mom as their primary caregiver. The stress and worry and exhaustion that comes with it is overwhelming, then add a drunk “stranger” in the house and it’s even worse. You handled the whole situation with firmness and grace. Well done.

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Serenity S November 2, 2011 at 10:02 am

Wow!! How horribly uncomfortable. Jane was very rude. I am not surprised that an alcoholic would act this way though, because I have a loved one who is an alcoholic and have seen things like this before. Jane may not even remember what she did that night. Of course that doesn’t excuse it.

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Dan November 2, 2011 at 10:09 am

I have to say, this isn’t really impolite. Annoying? Yes, but the fact of the matter of the matter is, she is an alcoholic. That is not something that is easily rectified, nor is she necessarily in control of what she was doing. I certainly understand why you were angry about it and may want to avoid her, but it sounds to me like she needs serious help rather than a simple etiquette lesson.

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Leigh November 2, 2011 at 10:42 am

Wow, Jane sounds like a piece of work! But I don’t understand what her being from the deep south has to do with this story. I would venture to guess that there are plenty of alcoholics is upstate New York who act like this. Trash lives everywhere.

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Allie November 2, 2011 at 11:18 am

Having a drunk in the family, especially around the holidays, is no fun. Believe me, I speak from painful experience. Inwardly, I would probably feel pretty annoyed with grandma at times (as I did with my own grandma) for suffering this fool gladly, but really, what else can she do. She considers this woman to be a close family member, and she’s chosen to put up with the rest of her behaviour for the perhaps brief remembrances she gives her of happier times and a lost son. Not much you can do about it. I could go on about co-dependence, but in all the years I dealt with these kinds of situations, I never figured out an answer, so why bother. Your grandmother chose to handle the situation the way she did, and I’m not about to tell her she was wrong.

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Cat November 2, 2011 at 11:37 am

I have yet to meet anyone whose personality was improved by the addition of alcohol. Don’t pick the woman up and she’ll spend the night in the drunk tank. Bring her home and you have her loose in the house. It was granny’s call since it’s her house and therefore her responsibility. If that is what she wanted, let her deal with it.

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Snowy November 2, 2011 at 11:39 am

I imagine it’s because Jane is a tie to her late son. She was the last woman he loved, and if she lets Jane go, she may have to let go of the ideal of him having been happy, in love, going on through life. Could it also be that Jane didn’t turn into this monster until after his death? Grandma might feel some obligation to her to “see her through it,” or even some strange guilt over it.

Whatever the reason, I hope Jane gets help before she crosses a line she can’t come back from. And I hope Grandma is able to find enough peace in her life that she doesn’t feel the need to put up with a drunken Jane.

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Lucy November 2, 2011 at 12:31 pm

I’m with the admin on this one: Nothing can excuse Jane’s behavior, but Grandma needs to do some soul-searching to find out why she keeps inviting this kind of craziness into her life. I understand that this woman was her son’s girlfriend (although not wife and apparently not fiancée?), but . . . come on. There must be more pleasant mementos of the man’s life than this.

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OP November 2, 2011 at 12:49 pm

OP here. I just wanted to clarify why I’d mentioned where everyone was from. Jane had visited before around the holidays (with her children, who were adults by the time this story takes place) and it was always a big deal for them to come up at that time of the year – for a “white Christmas” and all. Upstate NY is really very beautiful that time of the year.

I assure you, that was all I meant by mentioning the locations, but I think that I wasn’t very clear on that part. Like everyone else, I’m sure, I’ve met heathens (and alcoholics and just plain bad people as well) from all kinds of places, home and from afar.

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--Lia November 2, 2011 at 1:16 pm

This is not an etiquette problem. This is an alcohol problem. Like all alcohol problems, it affects more than just the person who is drinking. It affects the enablers as well. If this were an etiquette problem, it would look like this:

My grandmother, for unfathomable reasons, continues to invite a woman to her home who is known for horrible behavior. The last time, when the woman engaged in the same horrible behaviors she always does and was expected to, my grandmother left me in charge of taking care of half the horror. What kind of hostess does that to her guest and her own granddaughter? My grandmother should be cast into Etiquette Hell.

But add alcohol into the equation, and it all looks different. I’m not sure why that is.

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Anonymous November 2, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Just as a thought – the grandmother really should let Jane go because she might be preventing her from moving on. I had a friend whose ex-boyfriend committed suicide shortly after they broke up. His mom treated my friend as a widow and was trying to call her all the time to talk about the guy. My friend had to stop taking her calls – it was too awkward.

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Kat November 2, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Anonymous – not necessarily. It’s possible they were in a long term, committed relationship with no intent to marry.

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Sarah Jane November 2, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Snowy makes a point I hadn’t thought of…maybe Grandma keeps Jane around because she feels obligated to her in some way? I’m confused about the way OP refers to Jane as Henry’s “ex”…does this mean he had broken it off with her before his death? Did he break her heart? Is that why she’s so miserable and Grandma puts up with her?

OP, it is your grandmother’s choice, but if it were my grandmother, I’d pretty much let her know that I wouldn’t be coming to stay again unless Jane isn’t around. It doesn’t sound like Jane is a cherished member of the family. I do hope she gets some help, though.

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Twik November 2, 2011 at 1:44 pm

I think some of the above posters are looking for reasons to be offended at the OP.

1. The mention of where Jane was from ties in with indicating she has come a long way to visit, and cannot easily be sent home.

2. There’s no indication that the OP is “leaving an old woman with a sick (and getting ever more frail) husband at the mercy of a heavy drinker…” In fact, in the story, she took charge of Jane, and allowed her GM to rest. She nowhere says she’s cutting off contact with her GM, and GM only communicates with Jane by telephone now, it seems. I see no “human fail,” except on Jane’s part.

3. I’d be somewhat annoyed (even if just privately), if someone repeatedly insulted me in front of my GM, and my GM treated it like it never happened.

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Justine November 2, 2011 at 1:56 pm

It is now 8 years later. Do you know if Jane is still that way? Maybe she apologized to your Grandmother. Maybe she has sobered up. Maybe she attends AA. If your grandmother received a heartfelt apology, then that might be the reason she is still in contact with her.

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Brenda November 2, 2011 at 1:58 pm

What a horrible situation. Everyone is a loser in this mess.

Frankly, your grandmother’s neediness put herself, her husband and her family in danger. It was unconscionable to bring a woman who posed such a threat into a home with elderly people, a man with Alzheimer’s and children, and then to leave the child in charge of this woman. It doesn’t matter that she was falling down drunk, it’s amazing what damage a drunk can do, especially an angry drunk. In future, do not confront a drunk, do not get in their way, call the police. You could have been severely injured.

I do hope your grandmother no longer invites Jane to her home.

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Another Laura November 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm

My guess is that the reason OP mentions that Jane is from the South and her grandparents from Upstate NY is to emphasize that Jane is far away from any other people who could have taken responsibility for her at 2am, and also far from Jane’s own home (so she can’t be sent there to sober up).
As the OP was only 8 when her uncle died, it’s very unlikely she understood all the nuances of that relationship. Perhaps losing the man she loved drove Jane to drink. I am puzzled by the reference to Jane as uncle’s “ex-girlfriend” though. Does she mean, they had broken up prior to his death, or that she was the girl he was dating at the time of his death, which would not make her “ex” (we don’t say that a widow is the ex-wife of the deceased).

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BagLady November 2, 2011 at 2:05 pm

My impression was that the OP mentioned where Jane was from not to disparage Southerners but to make the point that this visit was kind of a big deal — it wasn’t just Jane popping over for a few days from Boston or something; she was coming from all the way down South.

I can see why OP is upset that Grandma continues to keep in touch with someone who was not only obnoxious all around but verbally abusive to her (OP). Grandma is a mother figure to her and we expect our moms to stick up for us. But I can see Grandma’s side, too — she lost her son, Alzheimer’s was taking her husband away, and connecting with someone who was close to Henry meant a lot to her. OP, what is the status of her relationship with whichever of your parents is her child (i.e., Henry’s sibling)?

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Leslie Holman-Anderson November 2, 2011 at 2:25 pm

While it’s definitely poor form to be a drunken slob in your hosts’ home and to wake them in the middle of the night to come get you (and it wasn’t a matter of a date saying put out or get out…) this story transcends etiquette. This is pathological behavior on the part both of ‘Jane’ and, sorry to say, Grandma.

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OP (again) November 2, 2011 at 2:30 pm

@Sarah Peart: I’m a little horrified (at myself and my lack of clarity when writing!) that you came to that conclusion, that I was upset just because Jane called me fat a few times. Trust me, I’ve been called a lot worse by a lot classier folk. That was the thing that offended me on a personal level – the loss of sleep and annoyance I could bear, and other than that the real hardship was suffered by my grandparents. So apart from being very upset on their behalf, that was what Jane’s visit left me with – remembering this supposed “family friend” that I’d known for ten years calling me those names.

I did sort of expect my grandmother to take offense at her own granddaughter being called such mean names under her roof, though. As I said (or tried to say!) in the post, my grandmother is a very selfless woman and when she didn’t take offense at all of the commotion and trouble that Jane caused, I thought at least she’d take offense at such outright cruelty directed at her granddaughter. That part did make me a little sad for myself, but like I said – mostly I was upset and sad on behalf of my grandparents.

As to answer the questions about why the heck my grandmother still talks to this woman or has her in her life at all… your guess is as good as mine, but it is her decision. She’s known her for a long time, and I do think she feels sorry for her. My uncle also struggled with alcoholism, so perhaps she sees something of him in Jane. Beyond that, I wish that she would break contact with the woman (for her own emotional well being) but I’m not holding my breath.

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Mabel November 2, 2011 at 2:45 pm

The OP should keep an eye on her grandmother if she still has this woman in her life. Lord only knows what kind of crap she’d try to pull.

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acr November 2, 2011 at 3:37 pm

I also find it very odd that, 10+ years after the man’s death, the girlfriend (who according to the OP’s update had children, so she seems to have moved on in some way at least) is still considered a part of the family. I find the grandmother’s behavior almost as appalling as Jane’s. OP could have be physically attacked. She certainly was verbally attacked. Too bad the OP didn’t unplug the phone and leave Jane at the police station all night. Or she didn’t leave and let grandmother take care of this “special” family friend herself.

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Aje November 2, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Geeze commenters these days are mean. Remind me to never post a story here…. it´s obvious that problem or not, Jane was a jerk and Grandma shouldn´t have contact with her anymore. It´s not ignorance, it´s letting go. Maybe the reason Jane´s home was mentioned was a way of saying, ¨She doens´t live next door so it´s not like we have to see her on a regular basis.¨

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fluffy November 2, 2011 at 7:59 pm

As I understand it, op mentioned “deep south” and “upper New York” to show the physical distance between her Grandparents and Jane, not to make a social statement about the people from those areas!

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Stacey November 2, 2011 at 8:54 pm

If the OP doesn’t have the “standing” to convince grandma that keeping in touch with Jane is more trouble than the memories she can supply are worth, perhaps another family member, friend or clergy person can do so. In any case, OP was very young at the time of the incident, (so it seems) and she might have felt the extra sting of being personally attacked for defending her family. If OP is ever at the crossroads of intercepting a drunken call again, from anyone, she can, of course, simply hang up. (Two, or three, or four, or five times if need be.) She could even unplug the phone if granny’s not “wired” for cell. I know that’s the very least I would do. What we have the confidence to do as we accumulate some life experience, however, is sometimes a far cry from what we can bring ourselves to do when young, impressionable, and vulnerable. (I’m guessing that the emotion of being vulnerable or exposed to attack is the feeling that leaves a bad taste in her mouth from grandmother’s complicit silence about the GF’s behavior. Understandable, in my opinion.)

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Purslane November 2, 2011 at 9:23 pm

“I think some of the above posters are looking for reasons to be offended at the OP.”

Pod with Twik

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Nadine November 3, 2011 at 12:38 am

I read the OP’s story several times. I certainly agree that Jane is the Houseguest from Hell and I would not want to be anywhere near her.

However, it’s Grandma’s house and Grandma has the right to invite whoever she wants to her house. She has the right to be friends with whoever she likes, even if other family members find that friend despicable.

Really, the only thing the OP can do is decline an invitation to Grandma’s house if Jane will be there. Since she’s close to Grandma, she can explain her feelings. “Grandma, I need to tell you that I cannot be in the same house with Jane. She insulted me terribly, she is loud, drunk, blah blah blah. Starting now, I cannot visit you when Jane will be there. I hope you understand. I love you very much and enjoy seeing you, but I want our time together to be peaceful and happy, not ruined by Drunken Jane.”

And then, that’s it. Grandma can conduct her life as she sees fit. She can have the houseguests she wants to have, understanding that OP will decline if Jane is also invited. She can have the friends she wants to have. She can have the life she wants to have, for whatever motivations or reasons. Similarly, OP will go the rest of her life never worrying about having to see Jane again.

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DocCAC November 3, 2011 at 1:07 am

For all who seemed to miss it…OP was eighteen or nineteen when this incident happened. Jane’s “children” were adults, so Jane hooked up with Henry after they were already born and well on their way growing up. OP may not have had her own car or may not have had her license yet ( to those of us who live where mass transit and taxis are not a way of life this might seem unlikely), but for some reason OP is left to sit with her grandfather instead of going after Jane. It sounds as if Grandma has been a long time enabler (the deceased uncle had an “alcohol problem” too), and all of this must be old news to her; it is just this time, she had a sick husband and college age granddaughter thrown in the mix. Maybe it reminded her of old times dealing with Henry? We don’t know, just as we don’t know why it is Jane doesn’t move on. It would be interesting to know who initiates the contact –Grandma or Jane? And why? And did Jane mind her p’s and q’s when she had visited before (with or without her grown children)? Grandma can’t apologize for Jane–only Jane can do that, but she does owe the OP an apology for her own behavior that night and for not insisting Jane owed them all a big apology. She placed a huge amount of responsibility onto a teenager, even though the OP seems to have been very mature for her age. She should have left Jane to her own devices, but then enablers never seem to know that. She needs to be a little less “selfless” and get a little selfish/grow a little spine because she sure wasn’t selfless wrt the OP that night. Jane isn’t the only one with a problem.

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Rug Pilot November 3, 2011 at 1:19 am

This is typical alcoholic behaviour for people with anger issues. Everyone should have taken care of themselves first and the grandfather as well. Jane should have been left to fend for herself. This is the recommended reaction from Al-Anon.

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Rmmuir November 3, 2011 at 6:47 am

My impression was that the GM doesn’t have Jane over any more, just talks to her own the phone? (Maybe OP could clarify?) If that’s the case, then she has cut off contact in a way (by not allowing her to come back and cause drama and lack of sleep in her house) but is still able to support Jane, who clearly has a lot of problems. Which I think is an incredibly selfless thing to do and I respect your GM for doing so. One of the problems with alcoholism is that your social circle often becomes only those with similar problems, which means giving up alcohol often means leaving them behind. Isolation causes its own problems, so I think your GM should be applauded for going above and beyond, for showing grace to this person.

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Sarah Peart November 3, 2011 at 7:43 am

@twik Sorry I was unclear I meant leaving her grandmother in the future. I did say have a talk with the grandmother and find out what role Jane played in her life that made the grandmother overlook her behaviour. I admit I took for granted that she would have helped her grandmother as she did and really meant somehow she needs to continue that support.
@OP I really meant that it seemed odd being mentioned at the end like that. More a semantic fault than what you really meant! To the other remark I made – please do not leave your grandmother alone with Jane. I imagine your grandfather is even more reliant on your grandmother. In a way it is not your responsibility but then she is your grandmother!

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Ashley November 3, 2011 at 2:11 pm

I don’t understand why so many people keep saying that they shouldn’t be talking to her because she was “just a girlfriend”. I was “just a girlfriend” of my now husband for seven years before we got married. We lived together and, as far as anyone was concerned, were practically married. So if something had happened to him it would be okay for his family to stop talking to me, unless we had signed a piece of paper first?

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Twik November 3, 2011 at 5:04 pm

@Sarah Peart, the OP mentioned in the original post that her GF has passed away, and that her GM only talks to Jane on the telephone.

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Anonymous November 3, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Because even if you are married, if there aren’t mutual children involved, you need to move on after 10 years.

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MellowedOne November 6, 2011 at 9:05 am

The the relationship that Grandma had with Jane while the grandson was alive is a driving factor in this story I believe.

OP, you made some strong statements about Jane and your Uncle’s choice in women. How did you come by that info? You said he died when you were 8. In my experience, children in a family are excluded from “adult” topics, or at the very are not pertinent to the whole story. (‘Run along now, the grownups are talking).

I kindly suggest that you TALK to your grandmother about your concerns. As an adult now, a question of ‘why?’ will reveal family secrets/actions that would never be discussed with you as a child.

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Enna November 7, 2011 at 4:14 pm

OP, you were good the way you handled Jane, maybe you could suggest she goes to AA when she is sober? You handled her well here maybe you could help her kick the habbit? I agree with earlier post that Jane needs to be helped. It doesn’t excuse her behaviour but for it to be stopped and for her own good people around Jane need to help her help herself. Stephan King mentions in his book “On Writing” that he was an alocholic and his family intervened – with their support he got of the alcohol.

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Enna November 7, 2011 at 4:16 pm

P.S maybe Op’s grandmother wants to help Jane but doesn’t know how? Maybe OP should talk to her about it. Depends on the relationship Jane had with uncle which might effect why Grandma wants to look after Jane.

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OP (again) November 10, 2011 at 4:51 pm

@MellowedOne: I probably should avoid too many specifics, but my uncle had two children before he passed away, by two different mothers (he was married to one of them for a time, before they divorced), and both mothers have criminal records, drug problems, and have had my cousins removed from their custody. Like I said, I loved my uncle and he was really a good man and a great musician, but I can’t stand any of the women he dated/married. They have problems and they’re just bad people to boot.

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