Dad up and died and left me to deal with my mom's Alzheimer's. I need so much advice

It’s wonderful to read that your mom is engaging with not just you, but others as well. May it last a long time.

Regarding the obnoxious copying everything. Always keep a record and log your interactions of who you send things to, because you may need to cover your butt legally and this kind of documentation is a perfect way to do it. What @nelliebly says goes to. The quicker APS is ready when they need to be, the sooner they can take blocking action. Hopefully, it will never be needed. Tell them that you want to know all information that they share with your brother. Without a doubt, paperwork is a pain in the neck. May you never need to use the documentation, but if you do, you’ll be glad you have already jumped through these hoops.

Just dropping in to tell you I think you’re doing a stellar job on this. The love is so clearly shining. Thank you for giving us a peek into your process, it’s really uplifting and encouraging to read. All the best {{{{}}}}

Ditto on the above, and I appreciate it on another level: it’s encouraging me to get the proverbial ducks lined up so that the Ottlets don’t have to deal with anything similar (not that either one would pull the crap that your brother is trying — still, best be prepared).


So far so good with mom–she’s remembering things a LOT more and her mood is really upbeat most of the time–sometimes she’s a bit TOO upbeat near Sundown time and gets pretty wound up. Her day/night sleep schedule is getting more into a routine.

I’m excited for the neuro-psych thing coming up soon. I dug through bone density numbers, that’s concerning. -2.4 t-score in one hip. That kind of stuff.

I sent the cordial, informative “please back off and stop attacking us” email which lasted exactly two days. I have a cousin who knows more about mom’s side of the family and all her ALZ siblings, so we’ve spoken a few times since the funeral. She promised me she’d help in any way she could, and told me to vent about my brother any time I wanted. I haven’t said much to her but I have told her a few of the things that have gone on. I think she’s fairly neutral, or thought so…
Last night I get a fuck-off long text from Brother’s 3rd Wife (she’s the one who initiated the estrangement back in 2011). It’s all about how cousin is “sharing all the texts and all my lies” and how I’m not financially responsible “for myself much less my mom.”

Finally at the end it was something I considered a warning–that they were “invited” to mom’s brother’s funeral “by cousin” so if we were to show up…

All I said to cousin was that “I regret trusting you” and that mom now feels unwecomed at her brother’s funeral (she had expressed wanting to go pay respects). “I didn’t realize funerals were by invitation now.”

I really don’t know what to do, but I know I can’t trust anyone anymore. I know they are trying to collect dirt which means I need my username changed ASAP please. I’ve now been directly attacked in writing by all but one nephew (but his wife has let me have it). All the attacks are vague “character assassination” type things–“we have no idea what you’re doing wrong but we are CERTAIN you are doing SOMETHING wrong.” I’m a liar but no specific lies…I can’t be trusted with mom but no specific reasons…just I’m in general a despicable person. None of these people have had a relationship with me on a personal level, so they have no clue what kind of person I am.

I feel like the lashing out is maybe a form of them realizing how boxed out they are, legally, so all they have left is try to wound me via text message.

Everyone’s muted but I’m getting to the point we are going to have to legally make them back off. I’m hesitant to contact our lawyer over this because she’s made it clear she’s risk averse, doesn’t do VPOs so I think I would have to find another lawyer–but what am I supposed to do…just absorb every bullshit thing they level at me every night when they all get drunk?

It’s problematic for my mom…I was kind of morose driving with mom to our little temp clerk job we’re doing together (long story but it’s fun)…so mom asked what was up…I told her I got an ugly message attacking me from Wife #3. Well, she’s been in her head kicking it around and keeps bringing it back up.

She’s ready to write them off and keeps wondering why we haven’t already.

I’m in the next tab trying to track down the jeans mom likes and figure out what women’s jean sizing mean (her poor jeans are from before she lost weight and she’s at least 2 sizes smaller now).

…but I’m a garbage person who can’t take care of myself, much less another person…

I’m so done with all that shit.

If we can help with the jean sizing, let us know. We can even suggest some good online retailers for you to try. :slight_smile:

I’d like to suggest that you run any request from APS or anyone by your attorney before you do it. Yes, you will incur expenses, but you’d be surprised by how many public servants don’t always know the full law. Your attorney may suggest putting some additional protections in place before you go much further. Note: I am not saying not to cooperate, but merely to check and see whether the requests are valid, legal, and in your mother’s best interests.

I’m so glad your mom is doing so much better. Your stories of her made me smile.

Sorry you’ve hit yet another giant dip in the dysfunctional family roller coaster.

If your attorney isn’t assertive and is reluctant to rock the boat, you may need another attorney. If the antagonistic family members hire a barracuda attorney, you don’t want to be represented by a passive jellyfish.

And I think this is important because what you really, really need to do is stop all direct communication with the difficult family members and tell them all communication must go through your attorney. You are far too vulnerable to their toxicity. For your own health as well as your mother’s, you need to protect yourselves from their vitriol. (And have you found a therapist yet?)

I know your current attorney said it might not be a good idea to cut off your brother from your mother, yet clearly the open communication isn’t working. You need to tell your current attorney that. I think it’d be also be helpful to have a written record showing you’ve communicated to someone how hard this toxicity is on you and your mom.

Ideally, if I were in your shoes, I’d get another attorney (working with this one in the interim), set things up so family (No exceptions!) communicated only with her/him, close my old email accounts and open new ones, change phone numbers, and tell the family calmly but firmly that I’d done so. I’d give them my attorney’s contact info but not my own. If they came to my home, I wouldn’t open the door. (This would be another reason I wouldn’t leave Mom home alone even briefly.) Unfortunately, if there were any family members or mutual friends or acquaintances I’d want to stay in touch with, I wouldn’t be able to give them my new contact info, at least for now. But that’s me. You have to do what’s right for you.

In the meantime, remember you’re on the side of righteousness, and you have all the legal might. They are, after all “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Nobody knows what women’s jean (or other clothing) sizing means. If you’re having a problem figuring that out, believe me, it’s not you.

I swear to god I’m going to have to write a book. It’s becoming obligatory.

Had a GREAT first half a day. We drove mom up to visit our bananas awesome “$20,000 but we got it for $1500” wedding venue and it was every bit as fun as we thought it would be. I got her a cool compartment tray and a fun little snowman craft kit that I just sat beside her and let nature take its course.

We were on the highway (it was a long drive up and back) and I start hearing the rattling of a plastic bag and the sounds of a kit being torn open, then a muttering under-breath of her reading the instructions. Sure enough, they are all done now.

I really love her. She makes my life better…I laugh so much more than I used to.

I made the dumbass mistake of taking a call from my adopted sister. I almost didn’t but the last time we spoke she was (almost) perfectly reasonable, and we’ve shared a few nice texts since. She said she was “above the bullshit” with the rest of them and as long as mom was happy and taken care of and as long as she had a few assurances she could have a few items of dad’s, she had no quarrel and “has my back.”

So she had asked for my dad’s old recliner and his bible. I had no objections but did make a point to say that was all MOM’S STUFF and I am not stealing from her, but that I would at some point assure her she would get it, be it after mom passes or before.

This is how she works–you let her stick her toes in the door juuuuuuuuust a little, and BOY, here she comes. SHE’S MOVING IN!!!

So I was amenable to her modest request, and we spoke more then it was “but I also want his high school letter jacket and he promised me that [old car].”

Ok you’re pressing your luck now. Now way in hell mom’s going to part with that letter jacket and there’s NO WAY I’m handing over a car until I have the full legal permission to in a way that is beyond reproach.

I haven’t heard from her for a few weeks. So she called tonight and I am a stupid idiot and I answered.

She remarked about how sad she is because tomorrow would have been dad’s birthday. I said I know I’m navigating the same troubled waters.

She then told me APS called her at work to tell her I was under some kind of investigation due to “allegations.”

Now, this person is a pathological liar. I am going to belabor this point: HER BRAIN IS MALFORMED IN A WAY THAT REALITY IS WHAT SHE THINKS IT IS, AND SHE WILL LIE ABOUT ISSUES OF NO CONSEQUENCE. Think: TRUMP. The part of her brain that forms “truth” is rotted out or something. The bottom line is she cannot be trusted, ever, nothing she says is on the up and up, ever.

I found that dubious because APS agent called me and said there were NO allegations but that she wanted to make sure what I was saying was true (re: my legal agency).


APS called her to say there have been NO allegations but that she wanted to inform the family that what I have been saying IS TRUE and that I do have the legal authority I have claimed and that all the documents are in order and binding.

I think that’s why wife #3 blasted my ass the other night–I think APS told brother I’m doing it right, paperwork is in order, and adopted sister caught wind–maybe APS called her to tell her I am in control and that’s that, maybe that is why she called me…


“Dude please you said we was cool my BF has a tow truck meet me there when mom’s not because she won’t let me have it, but I swear dad said it was mine!”

…so, you call me, tell me I’m under some kind of investigation, and ask me to commit a crime.


So as I was forcefully explaining everything will be done correctly with documentation because I am under INTENSE scrutiny and if she wants to be mad about it, blame brother.
“no no brother promised he won’t sue you over this, he said he doesn’t care.”

JFC on a donkey…these people are psychotic.

I blew my top. I wish I hadn’t but I’m also not sorry–the cursing started. “I’m not fucking stealing a car from mom that you specifically know she doesn’t want you to have you goddamn idiot.” Mom overhears.

I’m ripping ass and she quickly deduces who I am talking to and what’s happening. She STERNLY demanded the phone. I put it on speaker.

Mom…really let her have it. Both barrels.

“I love you but don’t approve of the way you treat me and I don’t approve of the way you treated your father and I think it’s DISGUSTING that none of you have offered to see me or check on me but now you’re trying to steal my stuff. IT’S MINE, my husband died and I’m just trying to get my head back on straight and HE HAD A WILL and THESE ARE HIS WISHES.”

I told you all, mom’s getting sharper. My jaw dropped before I demanded a high five. Sister started demanding a “reading of the will” and I said “WE DID THAT. ALL INVOLVED PARTIES WERE THERE: MOM. EVERYTHING. IS. MOM’S. How do you not know how wills work?!”

At that point my said to hang up so we did.

Mom has been spiraling since. We had to double up on her sleepy meds and I have her in bed where I’m about to go lay soon as I finish this. She’s terrified they are going to break in the house and take something she cherishes.

I have the house extra locked down, security system and motion camera inside. We also called the police to make sure they understand certain persons are not to be on that property and the make and model of the car and description, and they are going to do extra patrols. We’ll go there tomorrow to do something nice for dad’s birthday.

This is the end of the family. Everyone is blocked and I’ve already contacted a mean MEAN lawyer who is going to be the mediator. No one is to speak directly to me ever again. Mom wants some kind of restraining order on the property. She wants them to not be allowed to come withing X amount of feet of the property. I don’t know if that’s something I can do but I will look into it.

I can’t re-read for typos I really need to go calm her down. She needs rest.

You need some rest too! No re-read was necessary, all was fine.

Sorry you’re having to go through this, but sadly in my career I have seen so many families self-destruct this way after a parent’s death. No object or sum of money is going to ease the pain of grief. At least you have figured that out and aren’t capitulating to their shameless power plays. That would just cause your mom more pain.

Keep in mind that people who do that have NO scruples. They will keep escalating relentlessly. You might as well nip it in the bud right out of the gate. If you gave them the car, they’d come right back and then demand the house.

I’m glad you’ve retained a more assertive attorney and have blocked your family. A protective order may offer some protection, but if I were you, I’d look into security systems. Have cameras at both doors and wherever the car is.

Have you met with the new attorney yet? Have you told your family they must communicate through your attorney? Do they have his contact info?

They’re probably not done yet, but if you avoid taking the bait (and there will be bait) it’ll be harder for their BS to upset you or your mom.

This, this, this. Keep your eye on the house. Consider hiring a security guard for the day of your wedding.

Now, deep breathe three times, set these thoughts aside and think of the lovely woman you are marrying and think of how much fun and you and your mom will have.

Holy shit. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. Just let the attorney deal with them. I think that’s absolutely the right course of action. I hope today was a better day.

Congrats on the venue, by the way. It sounds like you found a lovely place. :slight_smile:

I just feel so ashamed. I’ve been accused of everything but nothing at all. I’ve cowed down to their level and tried to defend myself against the nothing at all. All I’ve done is give them more information to use against me by caving in to their demands.

I’ve been nice to a fault.

I’m tired of this. I’ve been foolish to let them in as much as I have.

I’m really stuck in my head today. I’m not ok.

Today dad would have been (**) today. I have to maintain plausible deniability because I’m under such intense scrutiny. But apparently someone’s dad’s birthday should have been today…

We did a special thing. A special storm tore through.

I’m sad. I’m lonely. I’m struggling.

I hate my family.

With all you’ve been through and are still struggling with, occasional depression and/or anxiety is to be expected. In the space of a few weeks, you lost your father, took in your mom, have been learning how to cope with Alzheimer’s, and have had to put way too much energy into coping with your toxic relatives. Oh, and you’re planning a wedding. That’s a mind-boggling load of stress.

At the risk of eye-roll-worthy tedium, I’ll say again: Get into therapy. Awhile back, you said,

You have a long history of taking on family burdens and mediating disputes. You didn’t want this role but it seemed obvious that if you hadn’t done it, the family would have fractured, and you thought that somehow that would have been on you . May I state the obvious? The family was already fractured. You managed to hold the fragments together, but neither you nor anyone else could have made your relatives healthy enough to function as a family. YOU ARE NO LONGER RESPONSIBLE for people who can’t be fixed. Your worth cannot be measured against such a warped yardstick.

That’s easier said than done: hence, therapy. In the meantime, know that savvy people like your fiancée, your mom, and people here on the Dope all recognize reality and know you’re doing the right thing.

1000x this.
I’ve been following this thread as I’m mildly in the same boat - VERY mildly. From an internet stranger - you are doing everything you can do with as much love for your mom as humanly possible. You’ve been sheltering her, both physically and emotionally, from the trauma of not only from losing her husband but from the clusterfuck of a family. You’ve had a massive life change, too! You clearly are drawing from massive internal strength and while the reserves run dry, you still keep going all to keep your mom safe.
You are a very impressive human.

Your family is your mother and your about-to-be wife. And whatever friends can be counted on who you choose to let in there with you.

And what everybody else said: this is a massive load dumped on you all at once. Your father’s death, all on its own, would have been major. Your father’s death, plus the realization of your mother’s state, plus the need to care for your mother, plus the need to arrange the wedding, plus the realization that your birth family is broken far past any possible ability of yours to fix it – this is just plain too much. Yes, you will get through this. But it’s a hell of a rough ride and your mental state is not going to be normal for a while. You’ll get it back. You’ve got this. But go easy on yourself as much as you can.

And try, implausible as it may seem, to get enough sleep – and “enough” may be more than usual.

I’m following for similar reasons. SunWife and I are just getting to the point of launching SunSon and SunLass and now our parents are the ones who will be needing a lot more help. They’re all in their 80s and we’re going to have some similar issues as things continue - my MiL is currently recovering from a fall which tore a muscle in her back (it could have been a lot worse). We have some family dysfunction, though not to the degree mentioned in-thread.

When I duck in here, usually someone else has posted a followup that’s a lot better and has a lot more food for thought and support than I could come up with, and I feel like adding some +1s would be a bit redundant; but I will say that with all you’ve been dealing with, Dr.Colossus, you’re doing extraordinarily well, and I hope and trust that you can take it easy on yourself (like thorny_locust said) as well as build a network of help that can do more than just post supportive messages on the SDMB.

Re: your mom’s phone. Others have mentioned this, but we finally set up my mom’s phone so that it only rings for people in her contact list (same for texts). Everyone else gets voice mail, which is my youngest brother telling them to call me and I’ll get her in contact with them.

Has worked great, the only problem being that mom doesn’t always answer her phone (not having it on her, it’s off, the ringer is off, etc), so when she doesn’t answer her friends eventually call me to find out if she is OK. I’m 8 hours away, so can’t really determine that - but can contact local people to verify she is still kicking.

Yes to therapy. Yes to understanding that these people’s brokenness is not your fault. Yes to the love and delight you have found in your new, contracted family. It will be enough. I promise.