I finally figured out my brother (long)

fairegoldNovember 5, 2005

I have three brother: good to Mother, distant to Mother and nasty. The last two live 2000 miles away, and the distant brother made the effort to come visit Mother when she was in the nursing home last summer. The good brother lives 530 miles away and aside from coming with the distant brother for one day last summer (distant brother flew to Nice brother's hometown and did the driving up here), hasn't come to visit for almost a year and a half.

He is 53, and an old 53. He had some sort of accident a year ago and hurt his feet; aside from getting xrays to determine that nothing was broken, it was 9 months before he wnt to a podiatrist, who has had some success in treating him.

At that point he finally did go to to the doctor, and blood work came back with some liver numbers bad. Far as I know he's refused to return for any follow-up.

So Nice brother calls last night and says that he had just talked to Mother, and the question came up, when can you visit?

OK, it finally sunk in. He's got enough excuses for EVERYTHING, and it finally all makes sense. He really has a serious drinking problem. He says he won't change jobs because another (larger) company will make him wear a tie to work (not true, but they probably won't overlook his drinking like the current employer does). He can't drive because his feet hurt. He can't fly because airports are so big and he can't walk that far. He can't stay with me because my house has stairs (I suggested that he stay with Mother in her nice apartment with a spare bed, but that didn't get far.)

Since i haven't seen a lot of him, now I think about it, he's a wreck.

So this AM when I talked to Mother, I told her why he can't come visit. (Poor Dear, she was thinking that he has a girl friend.... NOT!) I explained simply that Bobby can't visit because he has a serious drinking problem.

OK, thanks for letting me rant and vent. I honestly need to forget about this brother as I have already given up on the other two disfunctional ones, as well. He's never coming to visit (I suggested to him that Mother is 95 and won't be here much longer, and he said that gee, maybe he wouldn't be around much longer either, maybe none of us would be around...)

For a while, I was better about just not talking to him, because he would call me instead of calling Mother. From now on, he can call Mother. He'll get nothing from me. I don't have time for chit chat and excuses.

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"Detach in love", as they say in Al-Anon. My sense is that even if the moon was in the 7th house and Jupiter aligned with Mars, he'd still have excuses for everything. And you know that it's a waste of energy to point out things like "you can request a wheelchair at the airport", that type of stuff.

Brava to you for being straight with your mother and telling her that he had a serious drinking problem. No reason why you should cover it up. And you have every right to set boundaries and refuse to talk to him. You have enough to deal with.

It is indeed a sad state of affairs that he won't come to visit your mother, but unfortunately you can't do anything about that. You have given your mother (and continue to give her) all the love and attention that you can. So just detach as best you can from his sickness and know that someday, probably when it's too late, he'll regret his actions.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2005 at 6:09PM
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Thank you. Yes, I've already been thru all the wheelchair and other airport assistance. Excuses, excuses. But at some point I only got myself upset, and then I'd hear from Mother that she didn't know why he couldnt visit---she's always felt that she had a special connection with him..... she was 42 when he was born, after a couple of miscarriages, and he was terribly premature, the smallest preemie to survive back in 1952.

But I had to tell her what I think. I don't know if she's upset or not, or if she'll ask him directly or not, but at least it is honest. My dear cousin says why not let her have a fantasy about his having a girlfriend.... in some ways I think that stinks even more, that he'd not visit his mother for such a reason, and it would probably hurt more to think that he couldn't bring her to visit, don't you think?

Last night when the light *dawned* on me, I really felt used. I've never made excuses for him, I've never understood how anyone could have such dumb excuses for everything, at least to my mind. Now that I understand, I'll just let him go his own way.

I can still be civil when he calls. Just that he will always call when I am **very** busy from now on, and I'll just say, hi, can't talk right now, can we talk later? And I'll continue to be busy. But civil.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2005 at 6:51PM
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You sound as if you have made a good decision. You can't make him into a good, dutiful son. Even if there were someway that you could get him to visit his mother, she would probably sense that it was all a sham. Not seeing him allows her to remember him as she wants to. Perhaps the best thing that he can do for her is to stay away. It's hard, but you know that you can do what's best for HER.
Take care

    Bookmark   November 5, 2005 at 7:10PM
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I have had my share and them some of alcoholic friends and relatives giving excuses for everything.....so I know some of the disgust you are feeling at being taken in.
But....I don't think you really did your mother a favor with the truth....allow her her fantasies....
BUT....you have to keep your own sanity.....and sometimes you just have to say "because he's a drunk!!"
So.....while I don't think you did the right thing....I sure understand why you did!! LOL!
Hang in there, gal! This too shall pass....
As a dear friend used to say....."just earning stars for your crown..."
Tain't easy!
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 5, 2005 at 10:59PM
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Im glad you figured out your brother cause I will never get mine figured out..he is one mess and wouldnt you know it was Mommys little baby!! He blesses her with his presence on her birthday (sometime) and Christmas and she just falls apart..Its absolutely sickening and I have to bite my tongue..

    Bookmark   November 6, 2005 at 5:31PM
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My brother won't come for birthday or Christmas, I now realize. I always knew that he drank a LOT. It was a revelation to me to see that he drinks so much that he is unable to function beyond a narrow range. I suppose that I don't understand alcoholism enough to have realized that part of it.

Brena, yeah, bite your tongue. Hard, isn't it? My tongue is already sore.....

    Bookmark   November 6, 2005 at 5:59PM
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Glad that you did tell your mother why your brother doesn't visit. Why should you lie for your brother, he is a grown man and should take responsibilty for his actions. Your mother may already have an idea that he is an alcoholic but hasn't said anything.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2005 at 4:01PM
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I'm just so tired of Mother asking about when he is coming to visit, and then saying, Oh I bet he has a girlfriend because he is SUCH a catch, and I was tired of the excuses. For the 3 years that Mother was still in Arizona after Dad died, and before I moved her up here, I never was away for more than 3 months, and sometimes I was there once a month for 3 days or so. A 725 mile each way trip. He wasn't that far away and came maybe three times in 3 years, once when we were moving her.

I learn more every day I live. This is a whole nuther lesson for me.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2005 at 9:59PM
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How sad. Sorry to say, but I'm sure your mother has known for a while what his problem is, we mothers are pretty perceptive. If she doesn't want to acknowledge it now, so be it. Parents are funny that way.

He's an adult now, he's made his decisions, and they are terrible. Now he has to live with them. If he ever get's his act together, you can bet he'll have a lot of regrets about those decisions. You can feel a little smug! You can certainly be cordial, and always know that you did your best, but I agree, don't waste time trying to get him to visit or call, or change.

BTW - how is your mom doing?

Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2005 at 4:27PM
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OK I'm going to throw out a REAL inflammatory remark here, so I truly apologize in advance to those who take offense. I could PM this to Fairegold, but it is a lesson we have learned through watching other family members and I share it for those who could benefit.

Faire, you have been your mom's caretaker. Without compensation, and I don't suggest this is place to discuss that. But who is the estate executor? Are there POAs in place? Would it be insult added to injury if your mom left a (perceived) disproportionate to the unappreciating and unhelpful sons? Whatever your feelings, I just don't want there to be an unexpected surprise when the envelope is opened. That goes for all of us.

Just my two cents. Big hugs to you, FG. Hang in there.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2005 at 9:38PM
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I have to agree with Jessy on this, only because of past experience. It's been gnawing at me as I got to know about you and your mother.

A personal story - my parents had a cottage in Maine, we went up every summer, I loved it. (My father and grandfather built about a dozen cottages on the lake and sold all but two of them.) I still go to Maine every summer. After I married, my XH and I would go up to the lake (different cottage), and when we had kids, we took them up. My parents were there and we would all do things together, we had wonderful vacations. My kids loved it, especiallly having their grandparents at the lake for swimming and fishing, etc. When my parents got too old to make the drive by themselves, I would drive them up, get them settled, and later come up with my family. At the end of the summer I would bring them home.

My sister never went back, she did not like Maine or the cottage - too rustic. Apparently, this bugged my dad.

I would talk about how much I loved it up there, and looked forward to having the cottage some day for my family to use. He never really commented about it. Well, when my sister took over the financial management for my parents, she reviewed the will, and found out that my father was leaving the cottage to her, and not to me. He told her that if he gave her the cottage, maybe he could somehow change her mind about coming to Maine. She had a lot of long talks with him, and he finally undestood that his reasoning was wrong, and changed the disposition of the cottage to me. Well.......... then he started worrying about lawsuits (god, I never want to get old!?), and decided to sell the cottage to my cousin, who owns the adjoining property and cottage. He sold the cottage just when I was getting a divorce - I have to say, losing the cottage hurt me more than ending the marriage, I can't afford to replace it, but husbands are a dime a dozen! LOL

Your mom my have the same reasoning - my poor son, if I give him money, he'll love me, I can win him back. I've seen this happen to friends - it destroys families.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2005 at 10:24PM
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Thanks for the concerns. I have POA, medical and financial, plus am executor of the will. The brother in question is my back-up, because the other two are really out of the picture. We have already divvied up all personal items than anyone wanted, and I get what's left, in the way of furniture and small amounts of jewelry. The small (relatively) cash value of the estate gets divided 4 ways, or at least among those of us who survive Mother. It's always been that way, and I will honor that. It's about enough for a new car for each of us, not a lot.

I've resigned myself to that part many years ago. Several years ago, when I saw my sisters-in-law looking at Mother's jewelry, I sent them a copy of the will right then and there, and they were plenty POed that they didn't get anything, and nothing if their husbands died before Mother, either. Wonder why I am the wicked witch of the West?

The alcoholic brother is my back-up on the will and other paperwork. The attorney is a genius, and probably knows more than any of the rest of us, she's seen it all. If something should happen to my brother, I'll ask the attorney about replacing him with my husband. The other two brothers are out of the question to take on that job.

Maybe I should give the attorney a heads-up?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2005 at 11:37PM
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You should keep your attorney advised. Accidents and sickness can happen to anyone and you would want your husband, NOT your brother, to step in if anything should happen to you. Things never seem to go the way we expect them to. While I tend NOT to worry about things, I also feel a lot better if I know that there are plans in place for the unexpected.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2005 at 7:23AM
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