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Deceased friend

(27 Posts)
Dee1012 Tue 18-Aug-20 12:41:49

I've found myself in quite a difficult situation which I'll try to articulate without identifying people / places which might be hard, so some detail will need to be vague.
A close friend of mine died a few years ago, she had several adult children and a second husband. All of the children except one live abroad or at the other end of the country. The "child" who lives here has a physical disability and suffers from anxiety and depression to varying degree's.
One of the last discussions I had with my friend was that I would keep in touch with her son and check he was alright.....this was due to the fact that over the year's he's alienated his family and friends totally by his behaviour. I try very hard to empathise with his situation and the difficulties he can experience but he's very manipulative and a deeply unpleasant young man.
I've kept in touch and assisted him as much as I can and tried to encourage him to get involved with groups etc but am hitting a brick wall with everything and recently had to help resolve an issue he'd caused in the local area. I'm now at a loss and feel guilty because I promised my friend I'd keep in touch with him etc but find it harder and harder.
I really would welcome any advice / thoughts on this.

Jaffacake2 Tue 18-Aug-20 13:02:30

Very sorry to read of the death of your friend and the difficulties you now face trying to fulfil the promise you made about her son. She must have thought so highly of you as she probably knew how hard this would be.
You have tried to keep in touch with him but he clearly is a lad with significant physical and mental health problems which need professional help. Could you alert adult social services that he is someone who is at risk ? It sounds that he needs a full health assessment. Sorry retired nurse here thinking of needs.
Sometimes keeping a caring eye means pulling in others to help. Please don't feel guilty you are trying your best in difficult situation.

Elegran Tue 18-Aug-20 13:02:42

Not an easy situation to resolve. Could you introduce him into a professional befriending organisation with relevant training and experience ? They are a step away from the obligations you feel to his mother, and he might be more co-operative with people who are more distant. You could ease back a bit on your commitment without feeling guilty.

I don't know what is available, but the local Social Work Department would.

Elegran Tue 18-Aug-20 13:03:23

Crossed posts, Jaffacake !

tanith Tue 18-Aug-20 13:04:25

I’m pretty sure your friend wouldn’t of wanted you to continue if it was causing you such problems you have tried your best and as he’s alienated his own family it really isn’t up to you to keep him on the straight and narrow. Limit contact to what you are happy with.

Dee1012 Tue 18-Aug-20 13:45:31

Thank you all for your replies.
This has been going on for some time and I have recently cut contact back quite a lot.
I'll have a look for befriending organisations in the area, I had tried adult social services and in all honesty, they didn't offer much help at all.

I think part of my guilt is due to his physical and mental health...I know I've made excuses for what is pretty appalling behaviour on occasions by him. I'm also pretty sure that he uses this fact.
His mother was a lovely woman and supported me through a very difficult time many years ago, I do feel an obligation to her but need to also think of my own well being which he's impacting!
Thank you again.

Beanie654321 Wed 19-Aug-20 09:36:38

Being an ex nurse too I absolutely agree with Jaffacake 2. You have done your best now leve it to the professionals. Your friend did not ask you to take over his life but to ensure he stayed safe, thus the decision to get help is one she may have made and you are making the decisions with a true heart.

polnan Wed 19-Aug-20 09:43:45

would keep in touch with her son and check he was alright."

from what I have read here, you have done that,,, and perhaps can continue to do so? I cannot see that your friend said how often and in what detail you should try to keep in touch?

and I cannot see that your friend specifically asked/told you not to involve any relevant people who would be better able, (perhaps) to help him.

so surely, "checking that he is alright" could lead you to getting someone else involved?

Disgruntled Wed 19-Aug-20 09:44:26

There's a very old joke "How many therapists does it take to change a light bulb? A: One, but the light bulb's got to want to change itself." If he's not meeting you even half way, don't flog yourself into the ground.
I agree with the others who suggest calling in professional help. Good luck.

NotSpaghetti Wed 19-Aug-20 09:52:56

I think your dear friend would be sad if they realised how hard this has become. They would want you to get professional help in. After all, one day you will not be there either.

It doesn't mean you have to 100% cut them off. It means you just don't feel responsible.

Good luck. 💐

GrannyAnnie2010 Wed 19-Aug-20 09:53:42

It's a tricky one. I think that you have to start to distance yourself from him, and let his family take over. I know you say they're overseas but they still have some responsibility.

Tanith is right, in that your lovely friend would not have wanted you to face such a dilemma. She cannot have expected that you would be able to simply take over from their mother and son relationship and continue indefinitely.

I say give him and everyone in the family notice that you will be stepping away from this situation, and wish them all the very best. (Look at it this way - were he to die and leave a huge stash to be inherited, do you think his family are going to be noble and let you have it seeing as you've stood in for his mum?)

annsixty Wed 19-Aug-20 09:54:26

You must "say" to your deceased friend very firmly either out loudly or in your head that you have tried to do your best and carry out her wishes but that her son is not listening to anyone and is in charge of his own life .
Your own part is over, you are not responsible and get on with your life.

Tanjamaltija Wed 19-Aug-20 09:56:50

You cannot do more than your best. If he refuses to be helped, or rebuffs you, you are still keeping your promise, because you are trying. If you know the whereabouts of the siblings, you could inform them of what is happening, notwithstanding that they are alienated from him., After all, they are his next of kin, and if anything happens to this chap, they could well blame you for not informing them of the situation, or for not "taking proper care" of him.

Dibbydod Wed 19-Aug-20 09:57:22

I agree with previous posts also, he does need professional help . Your friend just requested if you’d check on him to make sure he’s alright , not take responsibility for all his actions, by you always being there to pick up the pieces you will just be taken advantage of and will only get worse . You cannot let this continue as it will spoil your own peace and happiness your own life , and I’m sure your friend wouldn’t want that for you . Hope all works out well for you .

BlackSheep46 Wed 19-Aug-20 09:58:46

Yes yes yes to Jaffacake's advice. Lean on the professionals in cases like this - it's the best thing you can do for him. If you are in touch with his siblings tell them what you are doing so that they know the score. Don't beat yourself up - just do the right thing as Jaffacake advises.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Wed 19-Aug-20 10:05:19

What a horrible situation for you but please don't feel guilty about it. You did what you could and had good intentions. It sounds beyond the remit of a friend and that professional help is required.
I agree with annsixty to 'tell' your friend.
I'm sure she'd be upset if she knew just badly this has deteriorated but it isn't your fault. You must step back and keep yourself well.

jaylucy Wed 19-Aug-20 10:10:31

There is only so much that you can do if someone doesn't want to be helped .
I think possibly that it is time for you to contact professional help for him , but you may not get far as you are not his next of kin.
I think that "keeping in touch " is just that, not being expected to sort out the problems that he either does not admit to having or says he needs no help with.

Marjgran Wed 19-Aug-20 10:20:35

It sounds to me as if your friend knew that her son would be hard to help hence her request. I would doubt that his siblings, abroad, will do much but would be worth telling them you are concerned for him and would like him to have support but you have done all you can. Whatever his additional needs, one way or another his personality has become disordered and he drives other people away. I expect his sibs know that! He is likely to drive helping organisations away as well and not be seen as a priority as he rejects helping himself. Maybe slowly withdraw? It must be very sad for you though. I have a relative who everyone thinks I should do more for, and Covid was a challenge, but he is so difficult I do the minimum. He is very grateful for what I do, but he won’t change the ways he makes his life difficult and won’t accept any input from anyone else or extra from me.

Uninspiringcowkeer Wed 19-Aug-20 10:54:00

I have come across a similar situation. Eventually the police became involved and at that point he had help albeit police before social services. One person can only do so much and in cases like this it needs much more than one.

rowyn Wed 19-Aug-20 10:57:42

The fact of the matter is that all state run services are limited. Have you thought about charities such as Mind, who might be able to offer advice/support?

Davida1968 Wed 19-Aug-20 11:00:40

A local vicar once advised my friend that (in his view) many"death bed" promises are made "under duress" and thus people should not feel that they must be bound by them. I agree strongly with this view. Dee1012, please don't feel that you are "bound" by anything you said regarding your friend's son. Consider what is best for you.

Rosequartz39 Wed 19-Aug-20 11:53:35

I’m so sorry you have this burden. I think you have already done such a lot.
I would give him numbers for various helplines such as ‘the mental health helpline’ and Samaritans and withdraw. These helplines are very good. I have schizophrenia and no mental health team and find them a lifeline.
It would be useful if you could tell his community mental health team to help but I know that they are trying to cut patients, so I bet they won’t be able to help. They don’t have the funding that they used to, so relatives and friends are being burdened. This is very sad.

Their may be helplines or charities for help with his physical illness too.

Please don’t feel guilty. He knows you are there and have tried to help and he ought to be grateful. You did your best. Now you should congratulate yourself and have a well deserved rest x

Luckygirl Wed 19-Aug-20 11:59:48

I suspect that your friend would not have wished this to become a burden for you. She was just expressing her concern about her son's future - very rightly so - but I am sure she did not want you to take on responsibilities that bring you down.

There is more than one way to help someone and it does not always mean you have to do it yourself - making sure that the relevant services, both statutory and voluntary, are available to him is another way of keeping faith with your promise to your friend.

I do think you need to distance yourself as much as possible - as long as you are in the picture then others (family, services etc.) can cop out.

You must have been a good friend.

Notinthemanual Wed 19-Aug-20 12:09:50

I hope these posts have reassured you. May I add my two-pennorth.

My sibling, who I am going to refer to as X and avoid identifying detail because I am afraid of X: had all the negative personality traits you've described and also alienated from family and, from grapevine information, friends that didn't tow the line. X was also a thief and violent.

My poor mum couldn't take any more of the chaos X created but wanted to know her child was alive, well and functioning.

So, although we knew X was ex-directory we regularly rang directory enquiries for X phone number. Declining to give the phone number confirmed X was at the address, so we knew X was alive and paying the phone bill.

Maybe our experience was more severe than your situation; but I would have been afraid of reprisals had we reported X to any outside agency.

I have very conflicting feelings about my sibling. I wish so many things were different. Sometime after my mum passed, I tried directory enquiries and was told X was no longer listed at the address. I hope X is ok.

I'm guessing, as this site is for Grans, your friend's son is a grown man. I'm also guessing that if she thought so well of you to ask you to check on him she wouldn't want it to cause you any angst. I wonder... If she was alive now would she want to protect you from unnecessary angst.

Bless you for your kindness to, at the very least, a difficult person, but please don't feel an obligation to keep someone hurtful in your life.

grandtanteJE65 Wed 19-Aug-20 12:28:02

Yes, do try to get him professional help and please, don't feel guilty.

We do tend to promise these things to dying friends or family and you have tried to keep your promise.

Your friend no doubt knew exactly what her son was like and would understand that you have done what you could.