Bizarre Funeral Request

by admin on May 30, 2013

When I was a little girl, my aunt (#5 out of six siblings – 4 girls, 2 boys) died, just before Christmas. This was my first experience with death, and I was only six years old, and much confused about a lot of things, including the varying moods of people crying for a lost loved one, in between jolly Christmas carols. I noticed that my father was not only devastated to lose his sister, but was also very angry with my grandparents. It was not until many years later that I would understand the whole story.

My grandparents were weird, to say the least. One of their weirdnesses was that they insisted on keeping one of my aunts (Let’s call her J) home, apparently to take care of them, although they were still fairly spry, themselves. She was about 21, and had an irrepressible desire to go on singles’ cruises. J went on them as often as possible, to get away, and possibly find a husband. I just thought she liked the water. Meanwhile, her younger sister (K) was desperately trying to get married to anyone, just to get out of the house. I thought she was just very romantically inclined and liked to date a lot. How little I knew! It seems that every one of my father’s siblings escaped home as soon as possible, by various means.

Well, when my aunt J was killed, my grandparents approached my father and asked him to let them have my SISTER! Yes, they asked my father to hand over his daughter to them, and even intended to change my sister’s name to the name of my dead aunt and adopt her as their own daughter. That would make my sister T into my aunt J the second, and my father’s daughter into his sister, and eyurrrrrgh!

I don’t need to watch TV to get a soap opera. I just need to ask my parents about family history. But I must admit that with all the stories I have about my family, including the stealing from each other at a funeral, storing explosives in the garage, and bringing a pregnant mistress into the house to “help” the pregnant wife, I do believe this story is the weirdest.

My father’s response to my grandparents’ request was not very polite, but I am forever grateful that he had a spine! And now I see why he was so eager to take that long post overseas so soon afterwards. Having an ocean between him and his parents was a good thing at the time.

At the same time, I am so proud of my father, because he kept this from us children, and taught us to love our grandparents, despite their foibles, even as we learned to stand up for ourselves. He did not share the truly weird stories until we were old enough to deal with them. Now, we just look back and laugh. 0522-13

{ 83 comments… read them below or add one }

David May 30, 2013 at 2:48 am

I am glad your father had a polite spine. I think I would have been so floored by this request I might have not been able to let my children around my parents.

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Lo May 30, 2013 at 8:21 am

I agree with David. I don’t think I’d want my kids to be around those people.

But kudos to your father for nurturing in you a love for your grandparents, which is so good for a child. Even though there’s something clearly very wrong going on there.

Some of these stories seem so crazy they stretch credibility but I have no doubt yours is true because I knew a family much like this. The only daughter had her “wings clipped” so to speak, never finished formal education so she could take care of her folks. She was not permitted to leave until she was married, although she was nearly 30 by then, and even then her mother tried to keep her under her thumb so that she’d have a companion and nursemaid for life.

While this sounds perfectly awful to me that family did function, even after the marriage. How it functions is beyond me, but it did. The daughter in question is well-adjusted. Miracles do happen.

Thank the Lord your father had a good head on his shoulders. The thought of being groomed that way for a life of servitude to ones parents is horrifyingly claustrophobic. Gives me shivers just thinking about it.

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AMC May 30, 2013 at 8:21 am

Wow! That is creepy. ‘Let’s replace our dead daughter with our granddaughter and raise her as if she’s the same person.’ That’s like a Lifetime movie waiting to happen. *shudder*
I would like to politely request that the OP share the pregnant mistress story some time. You’ve peeked my curiosity!

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Mae May 30, 2013 at 8:23 am

Wow. The grandparents sound psychotic. Wanting to adopt a grandchild and give it the name of a dead daughter? So they could have someone to “take care” of them?

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Pen^3 May 30, 2013 at 9:42 am

Well done to your father here. He sounds supremely level-headed if he was able to keep such a thing under wraps until you were old enough, allowing you to have a relationship with your grandparents which less forgiving people would not have permitted. I know I would not have handled things as well as him: any request to treat another person as goods to be given to someone else, let alone my own daughter, would not be responded to with any semblance of restraint.

I’ve heard stories of families where one of the daughters would be selected early in her life to basically keep house for the parents and other siblings (while they live at home) and not be allowed to marry or be given financial means of escape. In the past, not much could be done from the captive’s point of view: any suitors could be scared off if enough family members wanted it, and women couldn’t get a job or independence readily. A lot of families would just accept it. It still occurs today, although thankfully less so. But if you bring someone up telling them and treating them like a servant, often they’re too used to thinking that that’s just the way things are to do differently even if given the opportunity. It is absolutely sick.

Still, I can’t imagine how anyone, level-headed or not, would react to: “excuse me, son, your sister and our daughter just died and we are tremendously upset. So, can we have *your* daughter to replace her as our slave?”

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Susan Purcell May 30, 2013 at 9:43 am

Wow, how sad for the granparents in their grief they thought they could replace someone.
Seems like a good idea for your Dad to keep you away. You wonder If anyone ever got them counseling on how to deal with grief. They must have had some form of dementia to always want someone to care for them instead of helping themselves. What a sad life to live.

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WildIrishRose May 30, 2013 at 9:43 am

Wow. I thought MY family was jacked up!

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gramma dishes May 30, 2013 at 9:46 am

Nothing in the story indicates that the father had a “polite” spine at the time — just a spine. ;-)
But I agree with you, David. My parents would never have been allowed around my kids after a ‘suggestion’ like that!!
I do though think it’s admirable that the father never shared this information with the kids until they were old enough to absorb it and comprehend the audacity of it. Good parenting there, but I’m afraid it would have been beyond my capabilities.

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PM May 30, 2013 at 9:55 am

That’s not weird. That’s sick. It’s viewing people as commodities, interchangeable and without personalities, rights or desires of their own. Yikes.

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Gee May 30, 2013 at 10:02 am

OP, if any of you or your siblings is under 18, I hope your parents have a will specifing that your grandparents will NOT be your guardians. Unfortunately, my husband and I have had to do the same thing–not only are our guardians for our son picked out, but it’s specified that neither of our parents are to receive guardianship of our child and any other children we may have if something should happen to us.

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Wendy B. May 30, 2013 at 10:15 am

wow

just

wow…

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Ashley May 30, 2013 at 10:35 am

I’m not even sure how to respond to this, other than to say that your father did the right thing. How weird would that have been at family gatherings, your sister is now your “aunt”…

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Anonymous May 30, 2013 at 10:46 am

I can’t believe your grandparents would ask your father to just “hand your sister over.” I mean, come on…..yes, it’s sad that your aunt died, but she’s a human being, not an espresso machine. You can’t just replace a human being with a “newer model” and expect everything to be the same.

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BMS May 30, 2013 at 10:49 am

Sweet mother of God. Who would even say something like that? I mean, I know grief makes people do weird things but…

Overseas wouldn’t be far enough away…

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hakayama May 30, 2013 at 11:13 am

@LW: I am so sorry that your father was not as fully protective of his children as, in my opinion, he could/should have been. I just cannot fathom what possible “benefits” there might have been there for you in “loving” your GPs…
Perhaps, in spite of growing up under their influence, your father realized they were sick. Just not HOW sick. How selfish and self-centered can people be to think of replacing an indentured servant daughter with a servant granddaughter? And that after a SUDDEN death? You said “killed”, so the conclusion is either death by accident or a homicide.
You mention your father’s “polite spine”. This is waaaaaaaay beyond etiquette. Your father realized that his family needed protecting, even from “blood”.
It makes one wonder how he’d have behaved if those awful people were mere acquaintances.
I wish you the best, and hope that your grandparents’ deviancy is not genetically encoded.

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jd May 30, 2013 at 11:30 am

That is one of the strangest things I’ve heard of grandparents doing, that’s for sure! In my family, my grandmother died when her children were mostly still young and at home, but instead of re-marrying, my grandfather insisted that his two daughters stay home and unmarried to take care of the house and him until he decided he no longer needed them. Well, you can imagine: when he died at 84, they were still home and unmarried, and well past the time of raising families of their own, although their brothers were allowed to move out and have their own families.
Kudos to your dad for handling those sticky family dynamics as well as he did!

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lolkay May 30, 2013 at 11:37 am

Wow…your grandparents had a lot of nerve. It was not only disrespectful to your father, but disrespectful to your sister and the memory of your late aunt.

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Carol May 30, 2013 at 11:38 am

I believe it. My father-in-law didn’t exactly keep my youngest brother-in-law at home to care for him and my mother-in-law, but the two of them did absolutely nothing to encourage him to become independent either. FIL’s favorite joke was “How do you know that Jesus was an Irish Catholic?” (their nationality). Because He still lived with his parents.

And, for years, FIL tried to get DH and his other brother both to move back home, so that all four men could start a business together. Did I mention that this was after DH and I got married? Now that both MIL and FIL are deceased, the net results is that youngest BIL is 50 years and incapable of living on his own.

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Lisa May 30, 2013 at 11:40 am

Wow. This is absolutely … nuts.

Glad you have a sense of humor about it and your Dad sounds like a great guy!

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Allie May 30, 2013 at 11:41 am

When it comes to the safety and well-being of our children, I say to hell with politeness. I would certainly not have left my children unsupervised with these people under any circumstances and would have seriously considered not letting them see their grandchildren at all after this.

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Calli Arcale May 30, 2013 at 11:42 am

Wow!!! That is indeed truly weird. It’s one thing for people to start demanding the deceased’s possessions, but to demand your son surrender a child to them as a replacement for the deceased . . . that is so far beyond weird I can scarcely imagine it. Kudos to you for having such an awesome dad! He handled it very well, and was very wise in not sharing this bizarre request with you until you were old enough to not be afraid of being snatched away by your crazy grandparents. That’s definitely a soap opera situation!

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ImJustSaying May 30, 2013 at 11:44 am

Oh. My. God. This is so strange. Now I know we don’t diagnose people here but there has got to be an explanation for the parents extreme dependency issues. I NEED there to be a medical condition because this seems too out there to be “just a good idea” to the grandparents.
Hey you know your sister died so can we have your DAUGHTER as a replacement? We’ll give her a new name and everything!
So very strange.

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The Elf May 30, 2013 at 11:46 am

What the…… How…..? Who do they think they are!? Polite spine, like hell. How that request could be answered with anything polite is beyond me.

Let’s assume for a moment that their desire to keep a kid home to take care of them is at all normal or reasonable (it isn’t, but play along). They have a kid already at home, K! They wouldn’t “need” to adopt T!

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mpk May 30, 2013 at 12:16 pm

I think I would have let the children know what was going on in case grandma tried to take either of them on her own. To even suggest to the father such a thing would have caused me to be extra careful with my children. Definitely no unsupervisd visits, if i allowed any visitation at all. Very scary and nuts.

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MichelleP May 30, 2013 at 12:34 pm

@hakayama, your post is rude and presumptous. The op’s father did protect her and her siblings.

My parents have a lot of flaws and have done things that have made me consider not allowing them to be around my child. Not as bizarre as this, but bad enough. However, unless the behavior is abusive or threatening, children need to have relationships with their grandparents. It’s doubtful the grandparents would have been able to get away with trying to do this without the OP’s father’s permission.

I have used my polite spine with my parents and our relationship has gotten better. They love their grandchildren and the children love them. Unless they are molesting them, otherwise abusive, or actively trying to kidnap them, there is no reason to keep them away.

That being said, these grandparents sound sick. They need to be supervised when the children are with them.

Same basic subject: it is such a mistake to keep one child dependent on parents so the child can serve them. My stepmother’s mother did that with her son. She is sweet as can be, but didn’t want any of them to leave home. My stepmother’s brother is over 50 and cannot live by himself because of her coddling. Their mother is elderly now and is fading, my father’s wife is worried to death what’s going to happen to him. He isn’t handicapped in any way. She’s scared he will show up on their door!

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bansidhe May 30, 2013 at 12:46 pm

I would be more surprised by this story if a friend hadn’t told me his own, somewhat similar story. He has a fraternal twin sister. When they were just babies, their aunt (their father’s sister) and her husband lived right across the street from them. That couple had one son, who was born severely disabled. Eventually the decision was made to institutionalize him. When that happened, my friend’s father, feeling sorry for his sister, said, “Here, I’ve got two. Why don’t you take one?” and sent my friend to live with her and her husband.

Growing up, he knew full well who his biological parents were and that the little girl who lived with them was his twin sister. And he knew his father had given him away. When people asked how his family was, he had to ask which family they meant. How he turned out normal I have no idea.

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airlinepass06 May 30, 2013 at 12:46 pm

It’a amazing how many different religious and ethnic groups still hold onto the belief that a daughter should stay single to help out mom and dad. Read “Like Water for Chocolate” sometime. There was a family in my hometown that had 6 daughters. Father declared that only after the first born was married could the other girls marry. At 36 years old, the oldest became engaged and married 4 months later. 2 months after that, Daughters 2, 3, and 4 announced their respective engagements. I think they recycled the bridesmaids dresses for each consecutive wedding.

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AnnaMontana May 30, 2013 at 1:36 pm

This seems insane and totally unbelievable, sadly, I have seen this happen to a friend, so I totally get where OP is coming from. My friend is actually fairly ‘independant’. She has a job (part-time) and she studies at college (part-time), but she relies on her parents to provide food, money, clothing (she only shops with her mum, who buys everything), house, petrol for her car and so on. A few years ago she tried to get married, her mum told her she couldn’t so she called it off etc. The whole saga has taken 24 years so far and shows no sign of stopping. In fact it seems to be getting worse as her mum has to ‘vet’ every boyfriend she has to ensure he’s ‘right’ for her. She will NEVER leave home and will probably be at home, to care for her mum until the cows come home.
It’s sick that these parents do this to their OWN children, but telling your child ‘Give me one of yours’, personally, that would be it, it would be no more visits to gramma or granad and no contact whatsoever, so major kudos to your dad OP for being so restrained!

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Spuck May 30, 2013 at 1:50 pm

MichelleP, I have to disagree that grandparents only need to be cut off if their toxicity is overt. Years of favoritism, undermining parents, crossing boundaries like they aren’t there can ad up over a life time. I can commend the OP’s father for ensuring that the OP has a good relationship with the grandparents, but it would not have been cruel in this case or others to cut the grandparents off from their grandchildren

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Nikki May 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm

I once worked with a young woman who was in the process of having her wings “clipped,” so to speak. In her family was her mother, an older brother, and two younger siblings. The mother didn’t work, the brother didn’t work, and the two little ones were still in school. Her mother “suggested” that since she had spent all of those years supporting her then-sixteen year-old daughter, it was her daughter’s time to learn to support everyone. She dropped out of school and got a job so that she could support her family while they lived in a motel that rented rooms by the week. She was the only one in her family who was was holding a job (as a bagger, then cashier, in a grocery store).
Thankfully, her aunt and uncle realized what was happening, went to DFCS, and took custody of the three youngest. She was allowed to go back to school, where she made up her studies in record time and is now putting herself through college. She has still maintained her job at the grocery store, and I see her on occasion. She looks healthy and happy, and I am personally proud to know her.

Weird families exist. Bad, toxic families exist. It doesn’t mean that you can’t escape them and live a “normal” life.
I’m glad your dad realized what an outrageous request his parents were making, and I’m even happier to know that he put his foot down and remained steadfast in his denial.
I have to agree with others, though, that this is less a matter of having a “polite spine” than it is having a spine at all. Be glad your dad had one, polite or not.

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Allie May 30, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Wow. Your grandparents sound disturbed. Their plan was plain crazy.

I also have to point out just how sorry I feel for poor J in this story. They “insisted on keeping her home” when she was an adult? That poor woman. It sounds like your grandparents saw their children as servants, instead of individuals.

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Marozia May 30, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Not sure what to say. At least your dad had a brain. Good for him!
Just as well in this day and age a lot of parents can’t wait to get their kids to move out, so they can do their own thin.

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Barney Girl May 30, 2013 at 4:13 pm

My parents bought their house in the mid-60s from a woman who was still resentful that her sister did not hand over one of her children to be adopted by her. Apparently she did not want to go through the difficulties of child birth and felt that her sister had plenty of children, so was being selfish in not giving one up.

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NostalgicGal May 30, 2013 at 4:25 pm

I’d say if this was 1913 or 1883, that was a lot more common, a spinster daughter may not have wanted to be so, but it had been decided she would stay to provide the eldercare.

I’m glad the OP’s father had enough (body parts-not just spine) to tell parental units (aka his parents, the grandparents) where to go and furthermore distance the girls fur a while.

As for my experience, mostly my parents went a little sideways when I hit graduation and was too eager to LEAVE and they didn’t want me to (empty nest). I went to college as far away from them as I could afford… trust me the last three months before graduation, then that summer, were strange and strained as my father repeatedly decided my life for me, and the circle got smaller and smaller on how far I was going to get to head away… I was there when the dorms opened on the first day….. and moved in in 10 min. They got used to it and after all my wedding goings on, we settled down into civil.

A younger classmate and friend, a lot more devout faith wise… she was the oldest with some brothers after her. The mindset was old-school, boys rated first girls were second-rate…. and. After several years gap, her mother (very ‘large’ lady, and very ‘irregular’) started having boys. About 3 years apart. And she literally handed them to her daughter to raise. At 12, she got to be a full time mom and the kid was literally would cry for (her name) instead of mom… she got that one to pottytrained and todder, and her mom had another one. Again handed it over, 15 and do it again. They remodeled their house and she got her own bedroom, WITH THE CRIB… (they didn’t see anything wrong with all of this. As for the they thought SHE should pay for a babysitter if she wanted time off, that did get squished). Fast forward to graduation… her parents were saying to everyone they thought that she should stay home for a few years now and help them out. She asked her mom flat off when she was due… (about 2 weeks after graduation). Another friend helped her with going to nearby town, getting an apartment and finding a job. She would start two days after graduation. And moving her stuff, what there was of it right before graduating. She left the party in town, went back to the house “to change” (and her other friend gave her the ride to her new apartment). Her father showed up with the sheriff to move her home and she told him where to go, and the sheriff backed up when he found out dad had told him a bunch of lies. They got ahold of me at college to rip me a new one, and I pointed out I wasn’t the one that helped because A) I’m still in college with finals looming, and B) I have no car… and C… she got all the joys of unwed teen motherhood WITHOUT at least having had sex first. I would’ve helped her had I been home. (that didn’t sit good with him and I hung the receiver up quietly as he started to melt it)

A relative, le Witchina (aunt), wanted girls to do the housework, and they lived on a farm. She had 5 boys, a girl, tried again and got twin fraternal boys (we don’t have twins in either side of the family). That relative lived like Cinderella, I am not kidding, I always felt so sorry for her once I hit about 8 and figured out what was going on. She had a boyfriend that the parental units HATED and I met him once. He made her feel special, and like a person. I can understand why. She ran away right after high school and married him, and Witchina still can’t understand WHY. Just because W sat on her duff and watched her daughter scrub and wax the floor… (allergies my eye, that’s what those yellow gloves are for)

The “Old Ways”, I’m surprised that they’re still around…. Kudos to your father, OP.

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Goodness May 30, 2013 at 4:44 pm

These things do happen. A dear friend of mine, now around 50, stayed home to care fo her eccentric parents on the promise that she’d inherit their house and always have a place to live. The mother got weirder and weirder until she starved to death out of fear her food was poison (and yes, she’d been institutionalized several times.) Their financial advisor stole their money and the father, elderly and frail, mortgaged the house they owned free and clear for money to live on. He died a couple of years ago and the house was foreclosed upon. My friend was home schooled before it was legal and had only a GED; she’d also never learned to drive. So now she’s completely on her own, having to take public transportation in a town where it’s not that good to and from a job that doesn’t pay enough for her to live anywhere but in a neighborhood that scares her — with good reason.

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hakayama May 30, 2013 at 6:13 pm

@MichelleP: Sorry about the style that just possibly could have made you say that my post was rude. The story moved me to the core of my soul, so perhaps I did not polish my posting enough.
The “presumptuous” part I imagine comes into play because I am not in TOTAL agreement with YOUR opinion. If you re-read my text you will find that I did acknowledge the father’s good intentions. However, in MY not too humble opinion, he did not go far enough. Exposing young, impressionable children to unsavory individuals too early is probably unnecessary. In any case, even teenagers can READ about abnormal psychology. They do not have to come to face “illustrative specimens” in their own home…
I also do not feel that having the WRONG grandparents around is as important as having sane and happy parents who make you feel loved and safe.

@bansidhe: Your friend’s story is like a breath of fresh air after the preceding miasma. It’s all about love, compassion and transparency. It reminds me of a family where two children, one natural, the other adopted, would sometimes introduce themselves by name and say “one of us is adopted”.

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Rap May 30, 2013 at 6:15 pm

NostalgicGal – funny isn’t it that TLC has a tv show devoted to the exact scenario you’ve described with your friend? A woman having babies and handing them off to her daughers once they hit six months and are off the breast and bunked down with the sisters in their communial bedroom to be raised.

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VR518 May 30, 2013 at 6:23 pm

That’s terrible, Goodness. How did your friend know the financial adviser stole their money? Were there no other relatives who could help her?

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L.J. May 30, 2013 at 6:38 pm

It, rightly, now seems odd to us for a daughter to be kept home to take care of her parents as they age. However, nobody seems to mind when a family has one disabled child and then has another expressly for the purpose of being a lifelong caretaker for the first.

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Shyla May 30, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Hakayama, you made me think. I’m not sure you went to the full conclusion. You said she may have died of an accident or homicide. My vote is suicide. She probably couldn’t take it any more. The family probably kept that part a secret. It’s possible the OP’s father wasn’t even sure about it.

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JZBs girl May 30, 2013 at 9:01 pm

My grandmother was an unwed mother in the early 1940s. When she met my grandfather and they decided to marry, the only way his parents would allow it was if she were to give them her young daughter to raise as their own (I assume to avoid the ‘scandal’ of having an unwed mother in the family) #rollseyes. My mom was their first child together and she was about 12 before she realized her 17 year old ‘aunt’ was actually her half-sister. I always felt bad for my grandma but the times would have been horrendous for her being in her ‘situation’ and I guess she felt it was her only option. At least she still got to sEe her daughter but she had to pretend like she wasn’t hers :(

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Noodle May 30, 2013 at 10:02 pm

My parents (mostly my father, but my mother was very complacent in this) treated me in a very similar manner when it came to controlling, etc. I was more of a house servant than a daughter. I was not allowed to get my driver’s license until I was 22 and my mom was going to have ankle surgery and was going to need me to run errands, etc. Before that, I had a learner’s permit, which suited them just fine because it meant I couldn’t drive without one of them present. It was made clear to me that had there not been a university in that town, my dad would not have “let” me get an education. They were both alcoholics and that had a lot to do with it–someone had to stay and take care of things. I was an only child.

The first thing I did once I got that license was get a passport, drive myself to the airport, and go to China with money I saved from my part-time job. My dad ended up dying of cirrhosis when I was 24 and, as bad as this sounds, it was like I imagine getting a prison sentence overturned. I went to grad school far out of town and got my life back. My mother also died during that time.

I have a house, fiance, and a toddler-aged son now and I am convinced this would not have happened if my parents were still living today. I’m surprised the father in that story didn’t run screaming from his parents and cut them off entirely.

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Kate May 30, 2013 at 10:11 pm

This is just weird with a capital W. Your father was indeed a strong person to put his own feelings aside and allow you and your siblings to have a relationship with your grandparents until you were old enough to make up your own mind.

My dad had a similar approach – he and my mother don’t exactly have fond feelings about my grandmother, but he didn’t tell my sister and I about his childhood because he wanted us to have a relationship with her. It wasn’t until I was a teenager and my grandmother started treating me badly that he came clean about how horrible she’d been to him as well.

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Terri May 30, 2013 at 10:42 pm

I really want to read the story about the pregnant mistress being brought into the home to help the pregnant wife.

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Goodness May 30, 2013 at 10:57 pm

VR518 — the theft of the money happened when friend was still quite young, and the family talked about it. It was after that her mother started going crazy — she had been raised in great wealth and the loss of everything was a blow from which she never recovered. The father was sweet but very damaged, as he’d spent most of his late teens & early 20s in a Nazi labor camp, and he’d thought he was rescued forever when the mother fell in love with & married him.

As a species, we certainly know how to mess each other up!

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NostalgicGal May 30, 2013 at 11:22 pm

@ Rap… this was mom brought them HOME, she handed them over. The kids were on formula by the time they came in the front door. They still had the half dollar taped on their tummies to keep their belly button in as it healed. One daughter, not multiples there either. She had off about 6 months between the age of 12 and graduation, from raising two of her brothers. And her parents seen NOTHING wrong with assuming she’d stay home and keep raising her brothers for them.

As far as TLC’s show, first I heard of it, I haven’t watched TLC in years.

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Cat May 30, 2013 at 11:35 pm

It’s folks like these that remind us why nursing homes are sometimes, not only an option, but also the best solution possible. No one should sacrifice having a life because parents want a live-in caretaker they don’t have to pay.
My mother had a plan like this. She made me promise when I was seven that she could live with me when Dad died. He had a bad heart and we knew he would not live to be an old man.
Mom’s plan was to move in with me, I would marry, have babies, go back to work and she would raise my children. It came as a huge surprise to us all when she died at fifty-seven and Dad lasted until he was sixty-two, three years later.
A friend of mine was not so lucky. His mother demanded that he remain single because no woman was good enough for him. She built a house next to his and he was required to keep up the housework and lawns for both houses and to sleep at her house every night.
When he was twenty-four and I was twenty-three, she called him at one am and told him he had to come home immediately because he was not allowed to be out that late-at twenty-four years old.
Now he is a recluse and an alcoholic who sits in the house all day with the curtains drawn. He won’t leave because he might have a flat tire on his car, which sits in the garage. Groceries are delivered. I have suggested that he see a counselor, but he says he cannot change.
Your dad did what a good father should do. Love is not ownership.

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selkiewoman May 31, 2013 at 2:28 am

I was born at home to an unwed mother in the mid-40s. As the story goes, when the doctor delivered me, he handed me to my grandmother, and she just never gave me back. I was in my teens before I realised my mother was not my sister and the children she later had by my stepfather were actually my siblings.

Growing up with grandparents and greatuncles made for an odd and somewhat lonely childhood, but certainly I enjoyed less chaos in my life and more material advantages than if I had been raised by my biological mother. Of course, there was a plan that I was to become a schoolteacher and never leave home so that I could look after them in their old age. Never happened.

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Jess May 31, 2013 at 2:46 am

“bringing a pregnant mistress into the house to “help” the pregnant wife”

Sounds like something my ‘newly separated from’ husband would do…

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Green123 May 31, 2013 at 2:55 am

There’s a phrase from the north of Britain that sums this one up nicely – ‘there’s nowt so queer as folk’.

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