Grandma is in hospice

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Grandma is in hospice

Postby miwako » Sat May 12, 2018 7:35 am

My husband's grandmother, FIL's mother, had had cancer for about 10 years now. She never wanted to talk about it, so it just kind of faded into the background. She seemed fine when we saw her a couple of weeks ago and she said she was just getting over a cold. I guess it finally caught up with her, because she was admitted to the hospital last week for dehydration, which then turned into "we've run out of treatment options for her cancer," and now she's refusing food and water. She also doesn't want to see anybody except her two daughters who are out from opposite ends of the country. FIL will be back here again at the end of the month. She's always been a proud woman who never wanted sympathy, so I can respect her wishes, but I'm still disappointed that we're being turned away. The last time we saw her I had an intrusive thought that "This is the last time I'll see Grandma" but I brushed it off. I guess sometimes you just know.

I'm so glad FIL isn't out here right now. He is going to be a histrionic mess like he was when MIL died. I'm not looking forward to dealing with him. At least Grandma made arrangements to be buried, so the funeral home will take care of everything and we don't have to deal with him forgetting to bring the ashes to her funeral, like he did with MIL.

This is also going to be the first time we'll have to deal with a death in the family where there's a full house of stuff to deal with. All the deaths in the last 15 years have either been someone who left a surviving spouse, or who was already in a nursing home and reduced their own possessions first. Grandma has a 4 bedroom house with a finished basement. It's not hoarder level poorly maintained trash, but she definitely had plenty of things. In a way that means it will take longer because everything will have to be individually assessed vs renting a dumpster. At least I hope they'll go slowly at first, I know FIL and SIL hate stuff, but I'd hate to see everything just get trashed. There are a number of things we could use if no one else wants them.

I feel a little guilty thinking about what to do with her stuff when she's not even dead yet, like I'm some sort of vulture. I think it's just how I deal with hard emotions, by turning everything into a checklist. It's not like I'm thinking "Oh boy, I can't wait for her to die so I can get a curio!" That would be ridiculous!
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Re: Grandma is in hospice

Postby Yacky » Sat May 12, 2018 2:49 pm

I'm so sorry to hear about Grandma. I think that if there are specific things you'd like, and if you don't think it would create a big situation for everyone if you had them, perhaps now is the time to quietly set aside those items so that in the chaos that can sometimes follow someone's passing, you will be able to go right to the items you want.

When DH's grandmother died, my heart broke because she was literally the only person in his family who accepted me (and she seemed to even favor me over DH's siblings, to be quite honest). I have often wished there was something personal I could have had to be reminded of her, but my IL's are so wretched I wouldn't dare ask. They seemed to resent that Nanna loved me so much, so I'm sure they'd never agree to part with a single item.

Take care of yourselves as you prepare for Grandma's passing.
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Re: Grandma is in hospice

Postby miwako » Sat May 12, 2018 3:04 pm

Thank you. Not long after I posted this we got a call that she had passed in her sleep. She had requested not to have a formal funeral and just be buried next to Grandpa, which is probably a small blessing.
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Re: Grandma is in hospice

Postby Yacky » Sat May 12, 2018 8:29 pm

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that. Please keep us updated as things go along.
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Re: Grandma is in hospice

Postby jigglypuff » Sat May 12, 2018 11:19 pm

I'm so sorry. I don't think you're behaving like a vulture over planning on what to do with grandma's possessions. That is something reasonable to think about.

How did things go with everything? Smoothly I hope. I also hope FIL didn't give you guys much trouble.
'As the days go by, I think of how lucky I am... That you're not here to ruin it for me'
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Re: Grandma is in hospice

Postby miwako » Sun May 13, 2018 7:09 am

Thanks guys. We're heading up to her house today to see the aunts, he daughters. FIL is still in California until the 29th, so hopefully the worst of his behavior will be over by the time he gets here.

I know it's going to take a long time to deal with her estate. Not only does she have a large house full of a lot of possessions, she was also pretty well off. She was almost at the end of the process of selling her four rental properties. That's probably a million dollars right there by itself. She had told us years earlier that she had specified in her will that if anyone fights over the inheritance, then nobody got anything. My husband told his sister that, and she laughed and said she probably didn't mean it literally. He and I looked at each other and said, "I think she did." SIL had just a few minutes prior that he had been the closest to Grandma out of all the grandkids, so I trust that assessment. Although I'm pretty sure it can only mean legally contesting the will will trigger that, not that we all lose out if there's a heated argument over who gets to take the dining room table.
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Re: Grandma is in hospice

Postby rubycrownedkinglet » Sun May 13, 2018 1:24 pm

Sorry Miwako. My advice would be to ask your DH to propose to the sisters that they and FIL draw numbers or come up with some other fair system to choose things. Then anything left over can be chosen by the Grandchildren, be sold at an estate sale, or bought for cheap by other family members.

It's when nobody has a plan that it all hits the fan. Maybe her will will specify. I hope so. If not, somebody should propose a fair plan.
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Re: Grandma is in hospice

Postby miwako » Wed May 16, 2018 8:56 am

It looks like the plan is for the aunts to keep a list of the things everyone has requested and keep that in mind as they sort things. They're planning to take a year to go through everything before they sell the house. We offered to help, since we live nearby. We'll see how it goes, it's going to be a long process.
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Re: Grandma is in hospice

Postby rubycrownedkinglet » Wed May 16, 2018 9:26 am

Wow, a year! That sounds like unnecessary torture, to prolong it so long. Hope it goes well.
Grandma probably would have wanted family to get use of her things, instead of them being trashed or donated to strangers. My advice is that you keep a written or photo record of all that you are given so that no one accuses you later of taking more than was agreed to.

I know that seems unlikely now, but people lose their perspective over time-especially a whole year-and start remembering things differently and creating memories to justify whatever jealousy or resentment they are feeling.

My ESIL actually mentioned in a letter after we cut her off that we had "taken" the very anniversary plates she had shipped to us after we told her we definitely didn't want them. She also accused us of making a copy of the key to the PILs house so that we could come back later to take what we wanted. There was nothing in that nasty house we would have driven 600 miles to steal, that's for sure. Would she have trespassed in our home and stolen something if the situation were reversed? Absolutely. Classic projection.

Even though it would have never happened, I hope the idea kept her up at night. :wink:
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Re: Grandma is in hospice

Postby miwako » Wed May 16, 2018 10:57 pm

It seems like a long time, but there's so much to go through, Grandma kept all of her parents things as well, and everyone is so far away with her children living on opposite coasts and her in the middle, it probably will take about that long to finish all the legal stuff and sort everything out.

I'm concerned FIL will throw a wrench in everything by being too blasé about the stuff. We were just talking about the possibility of him trying to give random things to the neighbors without checking with anyone.

I understand the projection going on with your SIL Ruby. When I moved out of my parents house, not under the beat circumstances mind you, my mom told me I was welcome to come back any time, but demanded my key in the same breath. Her reasoning was that "We won't have a key to where you live." What did she think I was going to do?
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Re: Grandma is in hospice

Postby Hiddenjem » Sun May 20, 2018 10:11 pm

Miwako,

Female parent kicked me out for not agreeing to a arranged marraige when I was 18. She demanded my house key and I wasn't allowed to pack any blankets or a pillow. It was winter! I agree with you. What were they worried about us suddenly being untrustworthy?
"I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou
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Re: Grandma is in hospice

Postby miwako » Wed May 30, 2018 8:57 am

Hiddenjem- Who knows?

So I found out what the plan is. Grandma's three kids all get an equal share of everything. Anything that happens to any of her stuff must be approved by all three siblings before it can be removed. Every individual thing. Ruby said a year sounded too long, but I don't know how it could even be done that quickly.
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Re: Grandma is in hospice

Postby rubycrownedkinglet » Wed May 30, 2018 9:27 am

Yeah, it's gonna be a tough year! :|
At some point it may be very helpful for the three to hire an estate sale service. They help with the sorting of keep, give to family, donate to charity sell or throw away. They would make the process much faster and help them correctly value the items to be split or sold.
Nobody ever thinks they have enough stuff or "good enough" stuff, but since the service usually ends up getting more money for the items, then they take a percentage of the sale for their time and effort, it's almost like getting lots of help for little cost.

Not to mention it speeds up everything by creating deadlines and incentive$ for not procrastinating. If your FILs sibs are anything like him, it will be an interesting time.
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Re: Grandma is in hospice

Postby MountainLover » Sat Jun 02, 2018 3:55 pm

miwako wrote:Thanks guys. We're heading up to her house today to see the aunts, he daughters. FIL is still in California until the 29th, so hopefully the worst of his behavior will be over by the time he gets here.

I know it's going to take a long time to deal with her estate. Not only does she have a large house full of a lot of possessions, she was also pretty well off. She was almost at the end of the process of selling her four rental properties. That's probably a million dollars right there by itself. She had told us years earlier that she had specified in her will that if anyone fights over the inheritance, then nobody got anything. My husband told his sister that, and she laughed and said she probably didn't mean it literally. He and I looked at each other and said, "I think she did." SIL had just a few minutes prior that he had been the closest to Grandma out of all the grandkids, so I trust that assessment. Although I'm pretty sure it can only mean legally contesting the will will trigger that, not that we all lose out if there's a heated argument over who gets to take the dining room table.


I'm sorry, Miwako. This is a tough life chapter for anyone.

It is very common to have a "no disputes" clause in a will. For that clause to take effect, a legal dispute has to be filed. If they can sort out their arguments about furniture without involving a legal complaint, they'll not be cut out.

Please remember: No item is worth your sanity or sense of self worth. Don't let them make you crazy over "stuff."

When my dad died, we managed to divvy up the "stuff" easily enough. It was the disposal of the real bulk of the estate that we struggled with. We agreed that the ranch should remain in the family, and one of our brothers was positioned to stay there, but he basically thought we should give it to him, and another brother wanted about twice what the place was worth. My sister and I tag teamed to "beat them both into submission." It was tough.
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Re: Grandma is in hospice

Postby miwako » Sat Jun 02, 2018 7:23 pm

It won't just be them that gets cut out. If it comes to anyone filing a legal complaint, everyone will be cut out as well. When Grandma was alive I thought that just meant she had decided who got what already and we just had to follow it. Realizing that it has to be done by committee under threat of everyone losing everything is more than I want to deal with.

You're absolutely right, it's not worth it to go crazy over stuff.
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