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Frustrated with brother AIBU?

(34 Posts)
Mamma66 Mon 23-Nov-20 02:49:59

My father died early in October. Although he was very elderly his death was unexpected. We loved him dearly and he was a wonderful Dad. We couldn’t bear the family home to be sold and tentatively had a conversation with Dad a couple of years ago about buying my brothers out and it becoming our family home. Dad loved the idea and supported it enthusiastically.

When Dad died we did those outstanding jobs you never get round to and put our house on the market. I am very neat and tidy and don’t like mess. Dad had not decorated the house or changed anything since Mum died some years earlier. Perfectly understandable, he didn’t want anything to change.

But, it is a substantial house and needs decorating and reflooring throughout. Both bathrooms need replacing. Obviously we would like the work doing before we move in.

My younger brother is not working at present and took it upon himself to organise emptying the house. I admit this is a mammoth task. But he is controlling the process, going very slowly and won’t allow any involvement from anyone else.

I realise that this is part of his grieving process, and have tried to be sensitive to this, particularly as he provided the majority of day-to-day care for Dad in the last couple of years. This aside, my brother is driving me nuts.

We wanted to start work on the house a month ago, but agreed to put it back till the beginning of December. This is nearly upon us and we are no further along. Three of the five bedrooms have fitted wardrobes which all need coming out, but my brother says he put them in with Dad and he wants to take them out. Any offer of help or involvement is blocked and yet we are supposed to be moving in early in February. He insists on controlling the process but is getting nowhere fast. Work is due to commence next Monday. The whole house was supposed to be emptied by then and I can see that not one room will be clear. There is a load of furniture which needs listing, he hasn’t done it, but any offers of any help are met with firm refusal. I love my brother dearly, but he is driving me nuts! He also has become very awkward about anything being taken to the house. We have taken 3 or 4 pieces of furniture over (we need to keep our house pristine whilst selling). I explained to my brother that finances dictate that we have to buy some second hand furniture and have snapped up bargains whilst we can. The house is large, we wanted to empty a room at a time, decorate, refloor and shuffle furniture about. Instead of which almost all the large furniture remains and nowhere can be used or decorated. My brother agreed to one room being emptied in readiness for decorating starting next Monday, I have changed my plans and want to decorate a small bedroom first as an anniversary surprise for my husband (in December). As the whole house was supposed to be empty by then I didn’t think it a big deal, but the balloon has gone up. I received a very stroppy text off my brother earlier about his frustration in me changing my plans.

I realise that my brother is particularly struggling with the loss of my Dad. He has been fairly prickly, I truly have tried to be sympathetic and supportive, but I can see us selling our house and having to live in absolute chaos whilst the work is carried out and it is so unnecessary.

Should I continue to just grit my teeth, keep quiet on the premise, least said soonest mended and hope for the best? AIBU? I don’t have the objectivity to tell anymore.

MellowYellow Mon 23-Nov-20 06:17:19

October is only last month so it seems very soon to be tackling a big project if your brother had been caring so closely for your father. So many memories in the house. He will hardly have started grieving. Maybe it's time to slow down expectations of when it should be done? Unless you need to get it sorted because of finances of course. I hope you can work it out between you.

gmarie Mon 23-Nov-20 06:30:49

A month and a half doesn't seem like much time for your brother to take care of a whole house full of memories and belongings, especially if he cared for your dad and is dealing with grief. My dad died over a year ago and I still have a hard time with it. His wife lives in the house that I grew up in.

We get along very well but I have only been to the house once in the last 15 months. It's just loaded with memories of him and my mom, our family, growing up, etc. She feels the same, so we can commiserate with one-another. We also both know that some things have to change, especially for her to move on in life, but we're in no hurry.

I understand that your situation is much different but, perhaps, some of the feelings are the same. Good luck!

quizqueen Mon 23-Nov-20 06:36:27

Message deleted by Gransnet. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

mumofmadboys Mon 23-Nov-20 07:15:05

That is uncalled for quizqueen! Not at all helpful

dragonfly46 Mon 23-Nov-20 07:16:25

The OP doesn’t say anywhere that her brother was living in the house.
Why so quick to judge Quizqueen?

GagaJo Mon 23-Nov-20 07:24:10

I usually disagree with qq, and it could have been written more tactfully, but yes, where is the brother moving to?

It looks as if it is a combination of grieving but also not being ready to move yet. Also, if your house hasn't sold yet, has your brother received the money for his share? Possibly he isn't able to move until he has money in hand.

vegansrock Mon 23-Nov-20 07:37:00

Presumably it’s your brothers childhood home as well, from his point of view it maybe he’s not dragging his feet as much as you are rushing in to change everything too quickly. If you have to move in and decorate slowly room by room so be it. Many of us have done that. It’s not worth falling out over.

Galaxy Mon 23-Nov-20 07:40:30

It's only a month ago. That's very early days. I have experience of family rushing those in grief and it was very uncomfortable. I have no idea if that is what you

Galaxy Mon 23-Nov-20 07:41:04

I have no idea if that is what you are doing but its perhaps worth reflecting on .

Kandinsky Mon 23-Nov-20 08:02:10

Way too soon to be going in with the bulldozer IMO, - I feel a bit sorry for your brother tbh.
I would have given it 6 months to a year if it was me, especially as there’s a pandemic going on. This pandemic has made many people feel more lost and vulnerable ( not saying your brother is feeling like that, but he could be? ) and that, on top of losing his Dad, is a blooming lot to cope with.

Message in a nut shell - ‘too soon’

Iam64 Mon 23-Nov-20 08:40:07

Your post gives the impression that your brother was living with and caring for your father. You say your father was enthusiastic about you buying your brothers out of their share of the family home and living in it yourself. Were your brothers involved in those discussions and did they support the idea.
I agree with others who say you're moving very quickly. When mum died, we three daughters agreed we would sell the family home. We decided nothing would leave the house unless all three of us were in agreement. It took several months to go through all the treasure boxes, paintings, books, jewellery etc. We were all still working, so finding time to meet and work together was essential. The process helped us grieve and grow closer.

MrsThreadgoode Mon 23-Nov-20 08:40:46

I’m sorry for your loss, but until you have given your brothers their share of the money it is still their house too. I can imagine that your brother must be so upset, removing wardrobes that he helped you r father to build let alone throwing out everything that he has been a part of for so long.
So, Yes URBU, give him time and slow down, sell your house, pay the brothers their share and then you can dictate the time frame.

M0nica Mon 23-Nov-20 08:50:32

After my DF died, it took my sister and I nearly 6 months to empty and sort the contents - and all that was involved was a two bedroom bungalow, admittedly a large one, with a large loft stuffed to the gills.

We had very few emotions invested in the house, because my father had been in the army and we had moved home many, many times. So this was just the time it took us to empty and dispose of the contents.

I would think it reasonable to think that it might well take your brother a year to disinvest himself emotionally from the house as well as sort out alternative accommodation.

sodapop Mon 23-Nov-20 08:51:50

I'm sorry for the loss of your father Mamma66 . I do have to agree with the other posters who say you are rushing your brother into clearing the house so soon.
I understand you want to get things moving but whilst you will be moving back to the family home your brother will be leaving it. Can you talk to him and compromise on a schedule which will allow him and you time to grieve for your father.

MrsThreadgoode Mon 23-Nov-20 08:53:54

Just a quick question , have you had probate done on your Fathers Will yet ?

Until it’s been sorted nothing should be altered in the house until the valuation has been done.

Onthenaughtystep1 Mon 23-Nov-20 08:57:06

Your brother does seem to be deliberately dragging his heels. Who is paying the bills at the moment (council tax, power, TV, phone, broadband)?
The family needs to get together and decide a timeframe taking into account everyone’s needs.
Was your younger brother living with your parents? If so he has major adjustments to make. Your needs don’t trump his.
Have you considered what you will do if your house does not sell? The market is quite unpredictable.

Sarnia Mon 23-Nov-20 08:59:27

Your post wasn't clear on a couple of things. Is the house your brother's home and did your brothers have the opportunity to voice their feelings about you taking on the house after your Dad's death? As an only child I had to clear my Mum's home on my own and it takes time and many emotions to go through paperwork and effects. You say your brother cared for his Dad day to day and has spent hours doing work in the house with his Dad so I can see that this must be a mammoth and difficult task for him, full of memories. Letting him go at his own pace may be frustrating to you and your plans but you cannot put a timescale on grief. Allow him the decency to grieve in his own way.

Shropshirelass Mon 23-Nov-20 09:00:28

I had to empty my parents house when my Mom went into a care home following my Dad’s death. It wasn’t a huge house but it took over a month to sort out, it is a very difficult process. I have also had to empty another relatives house following his death in May, this too took a few weeks. I have a sister and all she does is hound me, no offers of help though. I have told her that I don’t care how long it takes, it will be done in my own time.

25Avalon Mon 23-Nov-20 09:08:00

I agree with MrsThreadgoode you do need to get probate through first as you can’t touch the estate until it is done. Also who is the executor who has a legal responsibility to carry out your father’s wishes in accordance with his will? Unless the will specifically states you have a right to buy out your brothers it has to be by mutual agreement. All of this usually takes at least 6 months so I think you are rushing it. You too are grieving so try to step back a bit. You don’t want to end up estranged from your brother as so often happens in these cases when emotions are raw.

Hetty58 Mon 23-Nov-20 09:12:35

Mamma66, yes, I think YABU.

You say, yourself ' I am very neat and tidy and don’t like mess' and, it seems, you are in a tearing hurry to get everything organised, updated and changed.

What, at present, is the legal ownership status of the house?

I'd assume that the will and probate are ongoing. It's very early days, so I expect that your brother feels equally entitled to do things in his own way.

You've thrown a spanner in the works with your 'anniversary surprise' idea. Who is it really for? You come across as pushy. Are you the big sister, I wonder?

It's time to take a back seat, slow down and, perhaps, delay the sale of your present property, don't you think?

lemsip Mon 23-Nov-20 09:17:02

Feel so sorry for your brother to be honest!!

Nannan2 Mon 23-Nov-20 09:19:29

Quizqueen does have a slight point though, doesn't she?Maybe not the last bit, but maybe her brother literally has no where else to live? He does seem to be deliberately dragging it out-maybe because he has nowhere else to go? Have they even asked him this? Where was he supposed to be moving to? Maybe that has 'fallen through' and he daren't say? Or if he is meant to be staying in the house with you then maybe he is too overwhelmed by all this at once? Its a bit too much at once? Maybe you can try ask (gently) if you can help him yourself because you too wish to share in his memories of dad? So maybe just you & he on your own could do it?I see you're on a timescale but really maybe he needs more time? After all xmas has suddenly shot up on us in this lockdown and indeed i myself don't even know where the whole of most of the year has gone! But maybe it seems all a bit much for your brother, its only a few weeks since your dads death, perhaps your brother thought he would have been able to handle it more by now but finds he can't. You need more understanding, more careful handling of the situation, and he maybe then would 'allow' just you into one room to empty it while he tackles another? He might find it helpful or cathartic to go over memories with you as he sorts things, but he definitley needs gentle handling.Not like you only need him as a means to an end.(sorting/emptying house)

Grannynannywanny Mon 23-Nov-20 09:23:31

Mamma66 I think it’s early days after the loss of your Dad to be trying to make much progress. If your brother has been your Dad’s main carer in recent years I suspect he is feeling overwhelmed with emotions just now. I’m picturing him there on his own in a house full of memories and trying to dismantle it all.

I’m inclined to think you should let him move at whatever pace he is comfortable. Then if and when the house is officially yours you can move in and tackle the jobs you want done. If it’s a substantial house you’ll be able to do an empty room at a time.

In meantime, if you haven’t already, maybe your brother would appreciate being told he did an invaluable job caring for your Dad and you realise his loss has been particularly hard on him.

I hope it all works out in an amicable way for everyone ?

harrigran Mon 23-Nov-20 09:23:55

Yes YABU, there are others to take into consideration.
Sorting of estates takes quite a time and there are very few short cuts.
I took care of everything when my mother died and it took nine months.