Gimme, Gimme, Gimme!

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - An­nie Lane

Just a word to alert peo­ple to some­thing that must be very com­mon: greed in fam­i­lies. My dad has been crip­pled for many years. I have lived with him and taken care of him ever since the ac­ci­dent, after which he could no longer drive. My sis­ter has ba­si­cally ig­nored him ex­cept on Thanksgiving and Christ­mas, when her fam­ily usu­ally gets thou­sands of dol­lars from him.

We live in the same town, but I don’t re­call a sin­gle time when they in­vited him to go along on a trip to a shop­ping cen­ter — or any­where, for that mat­ter. Twice, they tried to get him to buy them a new house. The last time, he was to sell ev­ery­thing he had and buy them the new house — but not be al­lowed to live in it. I will not say where they were go­ing to put him, ex­cept a lawyer I know called it bar­baric. I am sure that would have lasted only un­til the Medi­care look-back pe­riod elapsed and then they would have moved him into a fa­cil­ity.

Dad was too smart to fall for that; I did not have to say a word. Neph­ews and nieces — they showed up when checks were be­ing handed out, but when the checks stopped, so did they. There is a lot more that I have held in for years, but the point is that I def­i­nitely do not feel part of that fam­ily, and now that my dad’s time and mine are grow­ing close, my will states that what I leave be­hind (a not-in­con­sid­er­able amount) will go to hos­pi­tals for chil­dren. I feel no obli­ga­tion to my sis­ter or other rel­a­tives. It would be far too late to change things now, nor do I want to. I just do not have the en­ergy, and Dad is too in­ca­pac­i­tated to do much of any­thing.

I know they are ex­pect­ing a shower of money and will be greatly sur­prised. The point is that you should treat peo­ple as you would like to be treated your­self, or at the end, you may just get ex­actly what you have earned. Would you ad­vise any dif­fer­ently?

— Dis­il­lu­sioned It’s won­der­ful that your dad could rely on you all these years. You should be grate­ful for the spe­cial bond you two have shared for so long. Let that grat­i­tude oc­cupy way more space in your heart than the re­sent­ment to­ward your sib­lings does. You will feel lighter.

My niece lived with a part­ner who had won­der­ful small chil­dren. They were to­gether for over four years, and our fam­ily came to love them all very much. When they broke up, she was not al­lowed by her ex to see the chil­dren or have any con­tact with them. Those chil­dren called her Mama, and we con­sid­ered them fam­ily.

I know the breakup was bit­ter, and there were prob­lems caused by both adults in the re­la­tion­ship. I just think about those kids all the time and how they must won­der what hap­pened to their “cousins,” “aunts,” “un­cles” and “grand­par­ents” who in­cluded them in fun, babysat them and gave them love and af­fec­tion. I know that the bi­o­log­i­cal par­ent makes the de­ci­sions, but I worry about the longterm ef­fects to these kids.

— Heart­sick

Sadly, most breakups mean say­ing good­bye not just to a part­ner but also to par­ents, sib­lings, friends and more. That there were chil­dren in­volved here makes it even more heart­break­ing. I hope the ex fully con­sid­ered the ef­fects on them and is help­ing them ad­just. It’s un­for­tu­nate, but you’re right that nei­ther you nor your niece has grounds to con­tact them at this point. Per­haps once the chil­dren turn 18, you could reach out and see how they’re do­ing.

You should be grate­ful for the spe­cial bond you two have shared for so long.

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