Friday, June 22, 2012

The Thief

thief photo: thief thief-1.jpg

During this process of caring for my mother, I have come to realize that not everyone is on your side and not everyone who claims to be supportive is, in fact, so. As it turns out, some who claim to be supportive are only so if you're going the way they would go and doing what they would do. The moment you move off the path they envisage as the 'right' path, you find yourself in deep trouble.

John 10: 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.

This piece of scripture came to me this morning as I was reflecting on a situation unfolding ('unravelling' is probably the better word) in my caregiver universe. During my reflections, I could only wonder why people in the twilights of their own lives would allow themselves to become 'thieves'. Is it a need for control? Is it a need to be included and have their opinions considered? I don't really know, can't say. What I can say is that the outcome of the negative behavior is thievery as it's described in John 10: stealing, killing, destruction.

I haven't said this in a while so I'll say it now: make a plan, insist that your parents make a plan and then talk to the wider family about the plan that has been made and what its execution will entail. If the plan calls for the sale of property, put that out there. If property is to be rented to generate income, put that out there (especially if you have a family member currently living in it rent free! Whoo sah! Don't even get me started on that one!). If there is jointly held property that will have to be sold or the joint relationship severed, put that out there. The last thing you want is for your parent's siblings or your own (!) to be mucking up the works when you're trying to do what you were instructed to do or what you have determined is best for you to do.

I'm pretty sure that my situation is not unusal. The challenges I'm facing are not atypical. When not included in the decision making process, siblings of an ill parent may make their unhappiness known to you. Some siblings may do so in civil and useful ways, others will not. The possibilities are endless.

I attended a funeral once where the sister of the deceased (an elderly lady) was not allowed to share her remembrances of her sister. She did NOT take it well in fact, she made a bit of a stink. In the funeral. So in addition to dealing with the loss of her mother, my friend also had to deal with ugliness with her aunt. Another person I know, mentioned recently in conversation that since the deaths of her parents, she and her siblings have been estranged. My thought at the time was, "Huh. But let something happen to you, my guess is they will come out of the woodwork and want to tell your kids what  they should and should not be doing." I didn't say that out loud of course.

So, I repeat: talk to your people. Create a plan and then make the plan public to interested parties. People will claim disinterest during the planning but once the plan moves to the 'execution' phase, you may start to see heightened interest,  intrusion and perhaps even interference....thievery. You've been warned. Govern yourselves accordingly. Please.

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