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Aunt close to my estranged brother and family

(11 Posts)
mosaicwarts Thu 26-Dec-19 13:50:16

My aunt is 300 plus miles away from me, and has just been hospitalised for pneumonia. Luckily she's now home and recovering, but I wasn't kept in the loop at all. She has made two women her POA, a neighbour who is very good to her, and a friend, with her solicitor having the 'last word'. She's asked me to carry out her funeral wishes, and has sent them through to me.

I estranged myself from my Dad and brother and his family because of the way they mistreated my late Mum, twenty years ago. My Mum had sold her bungalow and bought a house with my brother and SIL, sadly she died one year later. My SIL had already disposed of many of my Mum's possessions by the time I managed to get down there, and actually burnt my Mum's diaries, it still shocks me she thought she had the authority to do this.

My widowed aunt, who is now 82, although agreeing with me that they mistreated her sister, has maintained contact with all of them. It was very awkward for me when she was admitted to hospital, and her POA friend asked me for my niece's phone number. It seems my brother's son and wife, step daughter and partner, as well as my brother, visited her in hospital.

I only have my aunt as family now, but find it very difficult that she is still in contact with my estranged family. I don't have any contact with them at all, and don't have any addresses or phone numbers for them.

Writing it all down I seem to be on the outside of a farcical situation.

Hithere Thu 26-Dec-19 14:04:57

So sorry you are going through such a rough time.

Maybe your mother allowed brother and sil to clear her possessions? I can see how you are hurt some of her items were destroyed and are not replaceable.
The fact that your mother bought a home with sil and brother is very telling that they were close.

Unfortunately, this is about your aunt. She holds a relationship with some relatives you cut off.
Your aunt's wishes are the ones to be followed here.
Don't make your aunt pick between you and your brother. You can lose your only relative left.

Smileless2012 Thu 26-Dec-19 14:16:59

It seems that although your aunt agrees that your mother was mistreated, she felt the need to maintain her relationships whereas you made the decision to estrange yourself mosaicwarts.

I can understand why you find the situation difficult. Your aunt asking you to ensure her wishes for her funeral are adhered too, shows your importance to her and the trust she has in you.

Perhaps she chose those she did to have POA because of the difficult family history. I'm surprised that as POA her friend doesn't have contact details for other family members. This is something that needs to be addressed as family will need to be informed of funeral arrangements when the time comes.

20 years is a long time; you have made a life without the family members you estranged and your aunt has lived her's with them being a part of it. It's inevitable that your paths will cross when the time comes for all of you to make your final farewells at her funeral, and then you'll be able to go your separate ways once more.

Starblaze Thu 26-Dec-19 14:20:17

I agree with Hithere, some people are good to others even if they aren't good to us. Perhaps they have ulterior motives sometimes but it isn't for us to choose who adults have relationships with. I'm sorry your brother and SIL got rid of what should have been memories for you to hold on to. I have to say my diaries will be burned before I die though, too many unhappy memories to pass down to my children. Try to let it go and focus on your relationship with your Aunt x

Namsnanny Thu 26-Dec-19 15:02:03

I'm sorry you have been put in this situation mosaicwarts.
The reasons you give for why the estrangement has occured, left you very little choice. Either you acceptd their actions or you made a stand on behalf of your mothers treatment by her son.
Good for you I say.

But e everyone has the right to make their own mind up and your aunt did just that, and clearly you are thoughtful enough to see that and let it go.

In truth there is very little you do about the situation, except plough your own furrow.
You say you are tasked with arranging her funeral.
knowing the situation between you and your brother this has put you in a difficult position.
Is your aunt well enough to have a gentle conversation about this?
If she wants brother to be informed and attend that leaves you with a few more decisions to make.

Personally I'd ask if the poa could make the funeral arrangements.
Get on with making the best of the time left with your aunt and concentrate on making the relationship between you a positive one.

That's what matters now.

Whatever the reason for estrangement the repercussions go on and on down the family.

Starlady Fri 27-Dec-19 01:03:47

My deepest condolences on the loss of your mum, mosaicwarts, even though it was a long time ago. I'm deeply sorry, too, that ESIL (estranged sister-in-law) disposed of and destroyed so many of your mums things w/o giving you a chance to go through them, read the diaries, etc. Having a deceased loved one's diary, especially, is like having a piece of them, IMO, and I'm very sorry you didn't get the chance to decide if you wanted any of your mums.

Since ESIL and EB owned the house along w/ mum, however, they may have had the legal right to do w/ the contents of the house as they chose. IMO, they could/should have been more sensitive to your feelings, but legally, they may have had the authority, after all. I don't really know.

I'm saying "they" even though you seem to be putting all the blame on ESIL. I can't help but think EB must have had some part in all this, too, especially since you're CO (cut off) from him, as well. But I know I could be wrong.

I admit, I don't get burning the diaries. Is it possible mum asked them to do that b/c there were some very private or potentially embarrassing comments in them? Or perhaps there were some complaints about ESIL in them that she (ESIL) didn't want anyone to see (though, in that case, IMO, she should have sucked it up and let you read/have the diaries if you wanted them).

IF they were legally allowed to dispose of your mum's possessions, then I don't really see where they mistreated HER. I DO think they mistreated YOU, in a way, as I said, by not being more sensitive to your feelings. And again, I may be wrong, but I suspect it's your own hurt that caused you to cut them off (not sure why you CO your dad).

Regardless, I understand that it's uncomfortable for you to maintain a relationship w/ your aunt since she also has a relationship w/ EB and ESIL. As others have said, though, perhaps she values maintaining all her family relationships despite disagreeing w/ some behaviors. I'm sure you realize that's her right. Hopefully, she doesn't discuss her relationship/visits w/ them, etc. w/ you or vice versa. If she does and you would rather she didn't, please let her know.

Also, I suggest you make sure she has all the addresses, etc. she needs in an accessible place, so that her POA friend won't have to ask you for them again in the future. The point, IMO, isn't to change the fact that aunt has kept up w/ both you and your EB, etc., but to make sure that this situation isn't awkward for you. Hoping it all works out for the best.

Starlady Fri 27-Dec-19 01:10:02

"She's asked me to carry out her funeral wishes, and has sent them through to me."

Did you agree? Will this be difficult/awkward for you in any way? Perhaps aunt isn't being realistic about this?

You may need to tell her that you're fine about making the arrangements but not about notifying EB, EDIL, and your dad. Perhaps ask if one of her POAs or her solicitor can take care of these notifications? No doubt, this can all be worked out w/ a little more advance planning.

rosecarmel Fri 27-Dec-19 03:46:59

You're Aunt is aware that you've no contact with your family yet asked you to handle her arrangements, potentially placing you in a position of crossing paths with your estranged family members- How likely is it that she had this in mind when she asked you to manage her affairs?

Secondly, your Aunt only provided her POA with your information, kept you out of the loop regarding the details of her hospitalization yet some how some way her POA was some how some way placed in a position of needing to contact you in order to contact your estranged family members that your Aunt knows you've not spoken to since?

My advice? Keep an open mind- Because it's possible your Aunt is up to something .. If you've never known her to be cruel trust your instincts when following her instructions but proceed with caution ..

mosaicwarts Fri 27-Dec-19 14:14:17

Thank you for all your thoughtful replies, it's helped me see the wood from the trees. Or whatever that saying is.

Initially I thought she'd asked me to arrange her funeral to 'force' me to reunite with my family. My plan is to organise it, be polite to everyone, and return home.

I now realise it is because she is nervous my brother would not carry out her wishes - and if the despicable way he treated my Mum's passing is any guide, I agree that she should entrust her wishes with me.

Next week I'm going to ask her to write to me with her wishes of who to contact in an emergency, plus I'm going to ask that we agree not to discuss my brother and his family, and vice versa. I was very sad when she told me my Dad had moved house, without telling me. I wish I'd had a
Dad that loved me, in the way my late husband loved our daughter.

Namsnanny Fri 27-Dec-19 15:30:41

Oh mosaic I was touched by your last sentence! flowers
Please proceed with caution though.

Smileless2012 Fri 27-Dec-19 18:56:36

That's a good idea mosaicwarts, if you have her wishes in writing and contact details hopefully that will make things easier for you.

Your last sentence touched me tooflowers.