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Lost my brother and mother within 2 weeks of each other


suzanne222

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In April, my brother was killed in an ATV accident. Meanwhile, our mother was suffering from stage IV breast cancer. She died 2 weeks after my brother. They were the two closest people to me in my life. I still have my father but he is grieving the loss of my brother too. My parents were divorced for a long time and my dad re-married, to a wonderful woman, 26 years ago. I'm having so much trouble with losing half of my family so suddenly. I guess I always counted on them to be there...especially my brother. My sister-in-law was much younger than my brother. They were only married for 5 months. I loved her like a sister, but my brother had serious trust issues with her. I didn't realize what he mean't until now. She comes across as one of the sweetest people you would ever want to meet but, I have found out that she has an evil streak. Long story...issues with his will...her not being happy with it, etc. She has never had to work much and wanted to be taken care of. I feel like I've lost a sister too after all of the lies, stealing and back-stabbing. She has turned my fiance' and me into "outcasts of the neighborhood" (her words) that my fiance" lives in. Before, my brother was the magnet that brought everyone together. He would absolutely hate that she has torn us apart. It is difficult enough trying to deal with two losses and both estates but, her dishonesty, greed and childishness have caused the pain to be so much worse than it had to be. Causing people I thought of as friends to turn on me and anyone associated with me hurts so much. I tried my best, regardless of my brother's will, to make sure she was taken care of but, it wasn't enough...she wanted it all. Just a few months before, she said "I don't care about money, all I want is his last name." How quickly things change...if they changed. It has been 7 months and I still can't let go of the anger I feel toward her and the so called "friends" who bought into her line. I feel betrayed by all of them. They all knew how much I loved my brother and he loved me but, choose to believe that I was horrible, greedy and mean. They seem to have forgotten that I was grieving the loss of him AND my mother. I was lost, confused, still in shock, etc. and I got blind-sided by her attempts to get everything she could from my brother's estate even though I was being VERY generous with her.

If anyone has any insights or suggestions of how I can handle this and get past it, PLEASE let me know. I've been told I think about it too much and should let it go but, I can't. It hurts so much on top of everything else. It feels like the ultimate betrayal. I don't like being angry and resentful but can't seem to get rid of those feelings. I just want to grieve my losses in peace, handle the estates, and try to move on and start a new, hopefully happy life.

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In April, my brother was killed in an ATV accident. Meanwhile, our mother was suffering from stage IV breast cancer. She died 2 weeks after my brother. They were the two closest people to me in my life. I still have my father but he is grieving the loss of my brother too. My parents were divorced for a long time and my dad re-married, to a wonderful woman, 26 years ago. I'm having so much trouble with losing half of my family so suddenly. I guess I always counted on them to be there...especially my brother. My sister-in-law was much younger than my brother. They were only married for 5 months. I loved her like a sister, but my brother had serious trust issues with her. I didn't realize what he mean't until now. She comes across as one of the sweetest people you would ever want to meet but, I have found out that she has an evil streak. Long story...issues with his will...her not being happy with it, etc. She has never had to work much and wanted to be taken care of. I feel like I've lost a sister too after all of the lies, stealing and back-stabbing. She has turned my fiance' and me into "outcasts of the neighborhood" (her words) that my fiance" lives in. Before, my brother was the magnet that brought everyone together. He would absolutely hate that she has torn us apart. It is difficult enough trying to deal with two losses and both estates but, her dishonesty, greed and childishness have caused the pain to be so much worse than it had to be. Causing people I thought of as friends to turn on me and anyone associated with me hurts so much. I tried my best, regardless of my brother's will, to make sure she was taken care of but, it wasn't enough...she wanted it all. Just a few months before, she said "I don't care about money, all I want is his last name." How quickly things change...if they changed. It has been 7 months and I still can't let go of the anger I feel toward her and the so called "friends" who bought into her line. I feel betrayed by all of them. They all knew how much I loved my brother and he loved me but, choose to believe that I was horrible, greedy and mean. They seem to have forgotten that I was grieving the loss of him AND my mother. I was lost, confused, still in shock, etc. and I got blind-sided by her attempts to get everything she could from my brother's estate even though I was being VERY generous with her.

If anyone has any insights or suggestions of how I can handle this and get past it, PLEASE let me know. I've been told I think about it too much and should let it go but, I can't. It hurts so much on top of everything else. It feels like the ultimate betrayal. I don't like being angry and resentful but can't seem to get rid of those feelings. I just want to grieve my losses in peace, handle the estates, and try to move on and start a new, hopefully happy life.

Hi Suzanne,

I am so sorry about the losses of your mother and brother. I know it sounds so awful, but something happens at times to families when it comes time to settle estates, particularly when feelings are raw and fresh with grieving.

Do you have any idea why your sister in law is feeling the way she does towards you? I take it you were the executor of your brother's estate. Did they have a prenuptial or something and she now feels like she has been unfairly dealt with? Have you tried to openly discuss this with her? Have you asked her what she is so angry at you and your fiance about? Is she lost in her grief and trying to take things out on you? Maybe she thought as his wife she had a right to everything that was his--that is a natural feeling--and may be feeling betrayed that it didn't work out that way. Or maybe she is evil and you will have to simply walk away from her and move forward with your life as best as you can. This is a difficul situation (believe me, my family went through a huge rift over my grandmother's estate). It's not something that CANT be worked out; it's just going to take some time, love and forgiveness, which I am sure feels almost impossible right now.

ModKonnie

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Hi ModKonnie. Thank you for your response. I have considered all of the things you mentioned about my sister-in-law. I know she was grieving too, but I don't think it was a matter of taking it out on me. She told me and my father that she loved us and wanted to remain a part of the family. We loved her too and wanted to do what was right by her. However, my brother had a will that left everthing to my mother first, then me. She knew about it. My brother had changed her to beneficiary on his IRA but nothing else. The lies she told my father and others had to do with my brother's investment account. She told everyone that he wanted her to have everything but didn't get around to it. My brother always had issues with her and money. She had forged his name to his checks before, he wanted her to work and contribute to the household bills more, and she also had two kids by other men that were living with them that didn't seem to respect what he was providing for them, and she didn't do much to correct them. He felt taken advantage of and they had several nasty fights over it.

He and I talked about his will a few months before his accident and he said, basically, that he wasn't going to leave her anything but maybe leave a little something to her girls. I am executor of his estate and had to make a lot of difficult decisions. I found out from his investment advisor that he wasn't ready to change her to beneficiary on his investment account. She said that he had started the process on it but something went wrong and he never got around to correcting it. Also, if he had wanted to leave her everything, he knew, and I know, that all he had to do was change his will. He had never made any attempt to do so. It all led me to believe that he had done all that he was ready to do at that time in his life. I wanted to do right by her but also respect my brother's wishes. She did feel entitled to everything and was preparing to contest my brother's will. On the morning of the accident, while he was still lying in the street, her friend, who was there with her, called me and very rudely asked me if she was going to get to stay in the house. I was shocked that she was thinking about the house while looking at my brother's body in the street! The estate was the very last thing on my mind. I can, however, understand that she would be worried about where and how she was going to live. Anyway, I decided on a family settlement agreement instead of enforcing the will, leaving her the house, furnishings, cars, boat, etc. and some of the money from his investment account...basically 2 thirds of his estate. Apparently that wasn't enough but she couldn't fight it because, legally, they hadn't been married long enough for her to be entitled to anything if she contested the will. Since my brother had always wanted her to work, and since I was leaving her his house when I wasn't sure that he would have wanted that, I didn't want to give her all of the money. I wanted her to work as well...for my brother. She has everyone believing that I did it out of greed.

My dad and I had both caught her in several lies by this point, some very personal and hurtful, all in an attempt to make everyone believe that my brother wanted her to have everything. She also closed out his checking account and took the money, and got into his and my mother's safe deposit box the day after my mother died, took everything out and closed it out. At that point, nobody but the executor of his or my mother's estates should have had access to any of that. It turns out that she got a fraudulent letter and took it to the bank, said my brother didn't have a will and she needed to get into the box to look for it. I think her anger was over not getting all of the money because she didn't want to work and she wanted to try to live off of the interest from the investment account. The lies she told about me to mutual friends, I think, were to make me look bad. She was probably worried that I would tell people what she had done, and she wanted to make me look bad so they wouldn't believe me. I'm not as gossipy as she is, and had no intention of spreading our personal business to everyone we knew. Unfortunately, she had been telling everyone we knew all kinds of things from day one. A lot of those people believe her, and I have done nothing to try to convince them otherwise, except for the very few who have actually given me the benefit of the doubt and talked to me about what was going on.

I did let my emotions get the best of me after hearing what some of the lies were and finding out about the fraud and theft regarding the bank account and safe deposit box. I said a lot of things to her that I shouldn't have said. I did eventually apologize to her for that. She apologized for "things getting out of hand", nothing specific. She will never admit everything she has done because she wants everyone on her side and would never want them to know the truth. If she would admit it, I would respect that, and could be better able to forgive her and move on. It's a little bit funny that you said what you did about her being evil. Several people who know the whole story have used that word. I'm afraid that it is a situation that I will just have to walk away from. The saddest part about that is that I'll also be walking away from the people I thought of as friends who have chosen to believe that I am the evil one. It hurts to think about and I can only hope that someday they figure out the truth.

I'm sorry for rambling on and on. I don't talk much about this to anyone but when I do...well, it just pours out. Thanks for listening and trying to help:)

Suzanne

Hi Suzanne,

I am so sorry about the losses of your mother and brother. I know it sounds so awful, but something happens at times to families when it comes time to settle estates, particularly when feelings are raw and fresh with grieving.

Do you have any idea why your sister in law is feeling the way she does towards you? I take it you were the executor of your brother's estate. Did they have a prenuptial or something and she now feels like she has been unfairly dealt with? Have you tried to openly discuss this with her? Have you asked her what she is so angry at you and your fiance about? Is she lost in her grief and trying to take things out on you? Maybe she thought as his wife she had a right to everything that was his--that is a natural feeling--and may be feeling betrayed that it didn't work out that way. Or maybe she is evil and you will have to simply walk away from her and move forward with your life as best as you can. This is a difficul situation (believe me, my family went through a huge rift over my grandmother's estate). It's not something that CANT be worked out; it's just going to take some time, love and forgiveness, which I am sure feels almost impossible right now.

ModKonnie

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Hi ModKonnie. Thank you for your response. I have considered all of the things you mentioned about my sister-in-law. I know she was grieving too, but I don't think it was a matter of taking it out on me. She told me and my father that she loved us and wanted to remain a part of the family. We loved her too and wanted to do what was right by her. However, my brother had a will that left everthing to my mother first, then me. She knew about it. My brother had changed her to beneficiary on his IRA but nothing else. The lies she told my father and others had to do with my brother's investment account. She told everyone that he wanted her to have everything but didn't get around to it. My brother always had issues with her and money. She had forged his name to his checks before, he wanted her to work and contribute to the household bills more, and she also had two kids by other men that were living with them that didn't seem to respect what he was providing for them, and she didn't do much to correct them. He felt taken advantage of and they had several nasty fights over it.

He and I talked about his will a few months before his accident and he said, basically, that he wasn't going to leave her anything but maybe leave a little something to her girls. I am executor of his estate and had to make a lot of difficult decisions. I found out from his investment advisor that he wasn't ready to change her to beneficiary on his investment account. She said that he had started the process on it but something went wrong and he never got around to correcting it. Also, if he had wanted to leave her everything, he knew, and I know, that all he had to do was change his will. He had never made any attempt to do so. It all led me to believe that he had done all that he was ready to do at that time in his life. I wanted to do right by her but also respect my brother's wishes. She did feel entitled to everything and was preparing to contest my brother's will. On the morning of the accident, while he was still lying in the street, her friend, who was there with her, called me and very rudely asked me if she was going to get to stay in the house. I was shocked that she was thinking about the house while looking at my brother's body in the street! The estate was the very last thing on my mind. I can, however, understand that she would be worried about where and how she was going to live. Anyway, I decided on a family settlement agreement instead of enforcing the will, leaving her the house, furnishings, cars, boat, etc. and some of the money from his investment account...basically 2 thirds of his estate. Apparently that wasn't enough but she couldn't fight it because, legally, they hadn't been married long enough for her to be entitled to anything if she contested the will. Since my brother had always wanted her to work, and since I was leaving her his house when I wasn't sure that he would have wanted that, I didn't want to give her all of the money. I wanted her to work as well...for my brother. She has everyone believing that I did it out of greed.

My dad and I had both caught her in several lies by this point, some very personal and hurtful, all in an attempt to make everyone believe that my brother wanted her to have everything. She also closed out his checking account and took the money, and got into his and my mother's safe deposit box the day after my mother died, took everything out and closed it out. At that point, nobody but the executor of his or my mother's estates should have had access to any of that. It turns out that she got a fraudulent letter and took it to the bank, said my brother didn't have a will and she needed to get into the box to look for it. I think her anger was over not getting all of the money because she didn't want to work and she wanted to try to live off of the interest from the investment account. The lies she told about me to mutual friends, I think, were to make me look bad. She was probably worried that I would tell people what she had done, and she wanted to make me look bad so they wouldn't believe me. I'm not as gossipy as she is, and had no intention of spreading our personal business to everyone we knew. Unfortunately, she had been telling everyone we knew all kinds of things from day one. A lot of those people believe her, and I have done nothing to try to convince them otherwise, except for the very few who have actually given me the benefit of the doubt and talked to me about what was going on.

I did let my emotions get the best of me after hearing what some of the lies were and finding out about the fraud and theft regarding the bank account and safe deposit box. I said a lot of things to her that I shouldn't have said. I did eventually apologize to her for that. She apologized for "things getting out of hand", nothing specific. She will never admit everything she has done because she wants everyone on her side and would never want them to know the truth. If she would admit it, I would respect that, and could be better able to forgive her and move on. It's a little bit funny that you said what you did about her being evil. Several people who know the whole story have used that word. I'm afraid that it is a situation that I will just have to walk away from. The saddest part about that is that I'll also be walking away from the people I thought of as friends who have chosen to believe that I am the evil one. It hurts to think about and I can only hope that someday they figure out the truth.

I'm sorry for rambling on and on. I don't talk much about this to anyone but when I do...well, it just pours out. Thanks for listening and trying to help:)

Suzanne

Suzanne,

The positive side of all of this is that you know who your true friends are now, and that will come in handy later in your life. This experience has weeded out the people that wouldn't have been good for you.

Unfortunately, your SIL will learn the hard way what she lost when she has no support and is forced to sell the house, etc., because she doesn't want to work. We all have to work in some capacity, whether it's at home or not, and she hasn't figured that out yet.

You are smart in walking away from those people; maybe one day they will apologize or maybe they won't. Your true friends know you and understand your decision--that is good enough. I've learned in my line of work--you can't please everyone no matter how hard you try and not everyone will like you. It's just the way life is. So, you are doing a good job in moving forward and looking towards the future for this.

ModKonnie

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To Suzanne: First let me say i am so sorry for both your losses. I am a 15 year breast cancer survivor. Your brothers wife sounds well greedy. Maybe you can get advise from a lawyer in how to deal with her. Because she is the wife i believe she has quite a bit of say unless he left a will. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

I just lost my mom at 87 and it was hard, she was ok with me but the nursing home let her go and i am furious but have a level of acceptance now.

Prayers for all of us.

Debbie

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