Author Topic: Awful Uncle  (Read 6094 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Em-and-Em

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Awful Uncle
« on: January 21, 2013, 02:41:05 PM »
This is a story about the way my uncle treated my parents, and I'm curious to hear other's reactions to what happened:

To give some background, my grandmother, my father's mother and a widow, had dementia during the last year of her life and she deteriorated badly.  She was unable to handle her financial affairs or keep up her home, and yet she insisted she would not leave her house for any kind of senior-living center.  Her doctor was of no help in providing mental health or elder care, and so it fell to my parents to take care of her because they lived closest to her.  But close was not actually close - it was a 120-mile roundtrip from their house to her house, and they had to drive through Manhattan and Queens to get to her, so the drive could take anywhere from 1.5 hours to over 3 hours each way.  Towards the end, my parents were going out to her house every weekend, doing repairs, shopping for her, taking her to doctors appointments, etc.  My mother became co-signer on her bank accounts because she could not otherwise be trusted to handle her own money.  In the end my grandmother had to be carried out of her home on a stretcher, ranting and raving because she was so far gone mentally, and she was eventually placed in hospice care near my parents.  During that time my mother visited her every single day until she died, right around Christmas.  During the whole time she was sick, neither of my father's siblings (my aunt and uncle) ever came to visit my grandmother.

Upon her death, my parents found out that they were the executors of her will.  This meant that not only did they have to disburse her money, they were also responsible for selling her house.  The will stipulated that all my grandmother's assets be divided up equally between her three children.  My parents decided that, because the house sale might take awhile, they would initially divide up the money in the bank and send my aunt and uncle a check, and then when the house was sold they would send out additional checks to divide up all the remaining money.

All the financial affairs were finally settled up in the summer, around the time that my uncle was getting married.  My parents decided that they would enclose the final check to my uncle in the card they were giving to him for his wedding.  My mom folded it inside and included a little note that said, "I know you mom would have wanted you to have this."

After he got back from his honeymoon, my uncle sent my parents an email thanking them for going to the wedding and then wrote, "I'm curious, why did you write that about Mom?  Did she ever tell you something along those lines?"  My mom emailed him back and explained that no, she'd just written that because she had planned to give him the rest of the money and thought it would be a nice note to include.

Well, my uncle fired back an email taking my mom to task.  He said that what she wrote was hurtful and disrespectful, if in fact my grandmother had never actually said those words, and how could she think of doing a thing like that at his wedding?  The email was so harsh that it made my mom cry, and she and my father took a months-long moratorium on communicating with my uncle because they were so upset by what he had written.

I was angry at him on her behalf - after all, she and my father had spent so much time, and been under so much stress, being the sole caretakers of my grandmother, when he hadn't done anything at all to help out.  Not only was what he wrote rude in itself, but I felt it was especially galling that he was lambasting the people who had taken on the burden of caring for his mother without any of his help.  We've all moved on since then, but I'm still pretty unwilling to forge anything more than a surface relationship with my uncle because he never apologized, and I think this is indicative of the type of person he is.

MorgnsGrl

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 708
Re: Awful Uncle
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2013, 02:56:32 PM »
Maybe he's just crap at dealing with his emotions and his mother's death hit him harder than he'd realized? I definitely don't think your mom did anything wrong in including that note -- if his mother loved her children, I'm sure she WOULD have wanted them to have nice wedding gifts. People, both the grieving and those near them, tend to say less-than-ideal things when a loved one is dying or has just passed, and I think it's everyone's responsibility to try to remember that and be forgiving. (The exception would be if the behavior was part of a pattern.) So while I think your uncle should forgive your mom for what he found hurtful, I think your mom should try to forgive him for his reaction to her words, as much for her own benefit as for his, unless he has done other similar things to her in the past.

Margo

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1491
Re: Awful Uncle
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2013, 02:59:50 PM »
It seems odd to me to put your uncle's inheritance cheque into a card for the wedding. After all, this is something he was entitled to, it wasn't a gift for the wedding, or a specific wish or thought his mother had expressed.

Also the wording implies your mom was giving him something extra, for the wedding- I can understand why he would be upset.

It would have been better if she had sent him his share of his Mother's estate separately from any wedding gift and, if she felt that there was something extra such as a personal keepsake which his mother would have liked him to have, that could have been sent for the wedding.

His reaction seems to have been a violent one, but I think your parents were  in the wrong in the first place - they represented his share of the estate as being something it wasn't - an extra, special gift from his mom. Finding out it wasn't must have been hurtful for him.

I would suggest that your mom apologise, explain that she did not intend to be hurtful or disrespectful. Your uncle may the  feel able to apologise for his tone, and if he doesn't, she at least will know she has done what she can to  rebuild the relationship.

cicero

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 17397
Re: Awful Uncle
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2013, 03:02:12 PM »
I don't exaclty understand the note - what did your mother mean? the money from the house was money left to your uncle in the will. it sort of sounds like this was given as a wedding gift "from his mother". it wasn't - it was an inheritence that he happened to recieve on his wedding day. I understand your mother was feeling emotional about it- but i can sort of understand your uncle's feelings too.

that doesn't excuse his reaction which was OTT


            Created by MyFitnessPal.com - Free Weight Loss Tools

sparksals

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 17330
Re: Awful Uncle
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2013, 03:04:03 PM »
Your uncle behaved poorly, but I would be caught off guard to receive my entitled inheritance as a weddin gift.  It was up to your brother to keep those funds separate if he desired, but by putting it in the card, your mom made it a wedding gift to both of them.  I think while a nice thought, it stepped on his toes.    Did they receive a wedding gift in addition to the check? 

mich3554

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1282
Re: Awful Uncle
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2013, 03:07:43 PM »
It is hard to know if he was rude or not.  It sounds to me as if uncle is still grieving.  I'm not sure I would want to receive the balance of my inheritance in a wedding card.  That is a very sad reminder on what is supposed to be a happy day.

In any case, IMO this is something that she should not be involved in.  This is between her parents and her uncle.

JMHO

Em-and-Em

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: Awful Uncle
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2013, 03:09:19 PM »
Just to clarify, my parents gave a gift *in addition* to enclosing this inheritance check.  My mother thought that it would be a nice, symbolic gesture to give him the rest of the money on his wedding, nodding to the fact that if my grandmother had still been alive, she would have certainly been happy for him.

And, he has displayed a pattern of rather brusque behavior.  For example, a few years earlier, he had sent my a Christmas present and I forgot to send him a thank-you note.  Wrong of me, I know, but he ended up emailing my dad and telling him that he thought they had raised me wrong.

Salvage3

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1576
Re: Awful Uncle
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2013, 03:45:03 PM »
I'm sure your mother meant well; but I can see your uncle's point of view.  Sending money that he was entitled to through inheritance (with a will) in a wedding card with a note that implies (to me) that it is being sent by your mom as a gift on behalf of your uncle's mother is rather strange to me.  Uncle may have gone overboard in his reaction; but I don't find it to be extremely rude.  And I can understand, somewhat, his frustration.

Hmmmmm

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6265
Re: Awful Uncle
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2013, 03:51:55 PM »
I'm agreeing with other PP's that putting his portion of the inheritance in with a wedding gift seems odd.  I don't know what symbolic gesture your mom was meaning to give. It almost smacks of "Your parents are dead, here's the money, good luck on your life."  I'm sure that is not what your mom meant to convey, but I honestly wouldn't want my inheritance to be linked to my wedding in any way.  And your mom could have easily inclosed a note with the wedding gift of "I know your mom would be very happy for you." and just sent along the inheritance separately. 

His response to your's mom's comment of "I know she'd want you to have this" would imply that he was really wishing she had made some type of communication about him.  Like he was hoping your mom would respond back with "Yes, she knew you were getting married and she said she hoped your portion of the inheritence would help out with your new life."  But instead he get's "No, she never said anything, I made it up. But I think that's how she would feel." 

I'm sorry your mom got back lash for her actions.  It does sound like your uncle is over reacting.

WillyNilly

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7490
  • Mmmmm, food
    • The World as I Taste It
Re: Awful Uncle
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2013, 04:33:41 PM »
So your mom thought reminding your uncle in the most blunt way possible that his mother was dead  and not present for his wedding was sweet? It seems above the board cruel to me, like truly taunting. No his reaction wasn't polite, but I imagine he felt quite hurt and  attacked, and like his whole wedding was being marred, like "yeah, no happiness for you! You deserve to be reminded your mom is dead and won't share in this or give you a gift or her blessing, just the inheritance your legally entitled to devoid of emotion."

perpetua

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1856
Re: Awful Uncle
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2013, 04:53:00 PM »
I think your mother messed up, badly; now your uncle will forever associate his wedding day with his mother's death.

I'm not surprised he reacted in the way he did.

yokozbornak

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1199
Re: Awful Uncle
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2013, 05:02:56 PM »
I am sure your mom's heart was in the right place, but the timing and the note were odd.  I can definitely understand why your uncle was upset.  Thate being said, he didn't handle being upset in the best way either. 

Also, I want to note that your uncle is your father's brother, and not your mother's. Their may have been some upset on his part because he felt like your mother was overstepping.  Your dad should have been the one that communicated with him about his mother and the will.  I am not saying this is definitely the case, but it is possible that your uncle felt left out since it seems your mother handled everything (once again, I am not faulting your mother, only trying to look at it through someone else's eyes).

It sounds like they have forgiven each other and moved on so I would advise you to do the same.  It really is between the two of them.
Grief makes people act strangely sometimes.  It doesn't make rudeness excusable, but it should make forgiveness easier. 

Yvaine

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8716
Re: Awful Uncle
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2013, 05:07:14 PM »
but I think your parents were  in the wrong in the first place - they represented his share of the estate as being something it wasn't - an extra, special gift from his mom. Finding out it wasn't must have been hurtful for him.

I think this may be the crux. I'm guessing that their relationship may have been strained (hence the lack of visits) and he was given, briefly, some hope that your parents had a last message to pass along from her. Or, possibly, they got along so poorly that he knew she'd have never said anything of the sort and felt lied to.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2013, 05:49:57 PM by Yvaine »

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5031
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: Awful Uncle
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2013, 05:21:46 PM »
I can see both sides of this and I think everyone acted poorly.  OP's mom owes and apology, but so does uncle for the way he reacted.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

mj

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 571
Re: Awful Uncle
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2013, 05:31:30 PM »
So your mom thought reminding your uncle in the most blunt way possible that his mother was dead  and not present for his wedding was sweet? It seems above the board cruel to me, like truly taunting. No his reaction wasn't polite, but I imagine he felt quite hurt and  attacked, and like his whole wedding was being marred, like "yeah, no happiness for you! You deserve to be reminded your mom is dead and won't share in this or give you a gift or her blessing, just the inheritance your legally entitled to devoid of emotion."

This is how I read it too, my breath was actually taken away by the OP and then the following update by the OP.

Just to clarify, my parents gave a gift *in addition* to enclosing this inheritance check.  My mother thought that it would be a nice, symbolic gesture to give him the rest of the money on his wedding, nodding to the fact that if my grandmother had still been alive, she would have certainly been happy for him.

And, he has displayed a pattern of rather brusque behavior.  For example, a few years earlier, he had sent my a Christmas present and I forgot to send him a thank-you note.  Wrong of me, I know, but he ended up emailing my dad and telling him that he thought they had raised me wrong.

Your mother has no business in meddling between your Uncle's and Grandmothers relationship.  It seems like there is so much justification for the poor way your mother acted towards your Uncle, and since you are not one of the main party's in this scenario -- I'm guessing there is much history that you do not know. 

Asking about a thank you note from a niece is so many far leagues away from what your mother did.