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My oldest brother Fritz passed away 8/5/07


mimi11

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My oldest brother Fritz, died of a sudden heart attack on 8/5/07 when he was set to dive on a shipwreck scuba diving expedition on Lake Michigan in the Chicago area. When my other brother called me with the news that afternoon, I totally lost it. So much so, I nearly ran off the road, I was so distraught. All my emotions boiled to the surface like a volcano about to explode. I am the youngest of 4. Fritz was 48 and I am 44. I have two middle siblings. My dad passed away in 2003. I lost two other uncles in 2006 and one earlier this year. Fritz and I wrote a letter and sent it to mother. I sent mine exactly two months before Fritz died. He sent his a little less than 2 weeks before he died. Basically the letters chronicled deep hurts from our childhood all the way to as recent as June of this year. We had alot of things to get off our chests. We felt we had harbored our hurt long enough and used a letter as a vehicle to deliver our messages effectively. It was effective all right.  Instead of talking to me regarding my interpretation of how I felt (along with Fritz) felt wronged, it was utterly attacked by my mother. The timing of Fritz's death made it worse. Mother is very narcissitc. Since this is a public message board, I won't devulge details. Because of my thoughts and feelings in a letter, I was shunned at Fritz's funeral, burial; not allowed to attend family gatherings; had to stay in a hotel alone as punishment. My church, my counselor, my doctors could not believe how my family was treating me. All of Fritz's friends and some of mom's friends were baffled by her treatment. It gets better. My sister and other brother shunned me as well. Now my sister states she will never speak to me again. I am on thin ice with my brother. Having to deal with Fritz's death has been extremely painful magnified by the fact I had to deal with it alone. It has affected my work so much that I have to go on disability to get the help I need in dealing with all the strong emotions. I feel like I am loosing control, focus, concentration. My health is being affected. (My sleep and eating patterns are off...I may sleep too much or wake up alot during the night); I have alot of crying spells. I don't have the energy or motivation to do anything..I just want to come home and sleep all the time when I am not working or on the PC. I don't even watch that much tv. I like silence. Luckily, I have a devoted dog, a black lab my mother could not keep two years ago, so I took her. I have turned into an emotional mess. With my schedule, flexing is not an option because of the hours my office is open so I was forced to take a leave of absence (disability) to deal with all that I am going through. Fritz would have been so angered by all this. He had such a strong, in your face, don't mess with me or I will kick your a$$ attitude. He was a devoted friend with a generous and kind soul once you got through his tough exterior. He got angry easily which did not help much. He had a high stress job with alot of traveling. However, he was a single guy with no children and never married. My parents had high expectations for all us kids. My two middle sibs got the wrath in their choice of mates that caused one of them to end in divorce. My mother knew how to push our 'emotional buttons' as Fritz and my other brother used to say it drove them nuts. My mother even said recently, she never wants to see or hear from me again as long as she lives. I am the straightest arrow in the family and she treats me like a hardened criminal. I have sent her a nice card and a final letter. If she does not reach out in forgiveness, she is the ultimate looser not I. I have to live my life as hard as it sounds, as if she is already gone...As for my sibs, live my life as if they are too busy to talk to me or something. It will be very difficult for me to not see my neice and nephew until they are old enough to make decisions for themselves to choose whether or not they want to communicate with their aunt again. When they are old enough to understand. My neice came to the funeral, she will remember it and how I was treated. My sister is just like my mother. I pray and hope my neice has the wisdom and the caring to see you don't treat your family members that way as she gets older. My mothers side of the family did not read the letter or so they say and of course are siding with my mother naturally. They should be neutral in the matter like my dad's side of the family has remained through this utter mess. The entire world saw my mom's conduct at the funeral and burial, Fritz's and her friends. This will be a side of her they will never forget. I have to move on with my life, somehow..I cannot do it alone as I tried for the last three months...All the venomous insults/words thrown at me have taken their toll...Attached is a wonderful picture of my brother Fritz.

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Hello Mimi,

I've read your note and my heart goes out to you.  It's difficult enough losing a brother, and more difficult when family is treating you as an outcast.  I hope that you will continue coming to these boards to share your feelings and to make friends with others who have also lost their brothers.  This is a time when you need support and a friendly ear.  I lost my brother to a heart attack 4 weeks ago and I have found that visiting this board and hearing from others has helped ease the pain.  I sometimes have just left ramblings of my thoughts here, I feel safe in doing so and have felt the support of other members here.

I like the pic you posted- Fritz had a wonderful smile!  Right now you are not alone - please continue to visit here, I'm willing to listen to you. 

Peace to you,

Linda

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I have not gotten better. My sister said no more contact with my neice. In a sinister way, they probably want me dead too so they can cry their crocidile tears. I have been overwhelmed emotionally, I feel paralized. My doctor changed and my insomia has worsened. Trying to see therapists, playing phone tag with them...so frustrating...How can I heal when I have been hurt so deeply? Where do I begin?...Why can they see that what they are doing is wrong?...All the therapy in the world cannot replace family...They are strangers not blood. I don't understand it at all. My mother's friends are starting to abandon her not only for how I was treated at my brother's funeral but things she has said and done. Her behavior is embarrassing. Well, my surviving brother did not show up as he said he would at a Thanksgiving gathering probably to the strong disappointment of my mother and sister. He hated my mother as much as my deceased brother did yet he abandoned me at his funeral and stood in solidarity with mother and my sister. My deceased brother said he was a snake and a sneak..My deceased brother also said my mother and sister were total idiots. I could go on and on...I am just so sad....I have heart palpatations and that sinking feeling...The holidays without family is absolutely awlful. No calls..No nothing..Like I don't exist. I am the straightest arrow in the family..the youngest yet treated the worst..One of the things Fritz said in his letter and has known all his life about me...The weakest bird being peked to death.

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Hello Mimi,

I'm sorry that you have to deal with being treated terribly by your family at such an awful time.  I hope that you are talking to the people who are supporting you without passing judgement - your friends at church sound like they have been supportive.  My philosophy is to spend time with the people who I like and who have supported me and not to worry about everyone else. 

When my brother died, I was sleeping about 14 hours a day.  Now, I have terrible insomnia and am lucky to get 4 or 5 hours of sleep.  I will be seeing my doctor next week to see if I can get some help with this.  I know that if I'm sleep deprived, then it's so much harder to get through my days.  I hope that your doctor will be able to help you with this.

In April of 2006 I lost my best friend and cousin.  We adopted each other as sisters at a young age as I was the only girl in my family.  When she died, I adopted a puppy that I got when visiting other family in Michigan.  My dog is a black lab too, although she's part daschund and part blue heeler.  My dog was my lifeline - as goofy as it sounds - my dog helped me make it through the really bad times.

Mimi, I hope that you continue to get support from the good people in your life and from your friends here.   You've been through so much in a short time and it's going to take alot of time to work through it. We're always here to listen to you and offer support.

Peace to you,

Linda

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Thanks Linda for responding. Getting through Christmas and the New Year will be extremely difficult. I have taken paid leave from work since Nov 5th because I have been overwhelmed emotionally. I just don't understand at all that my mother just lost her son, she chose to sever ties with another, it is like loosing two children at once. She has her two favorite children left to protect her. I cannot believe mother's side of the family chooses to do or say nothing to persuade her to reconcile with me. My mother was treating me like crap this time last year. Well, she just lost her brother, dogged me about my appearance, weight and lifestyle she knows nothing about. She wants me to be like my sister. I refuse. I am who I am like it or not. Tough. My sister is nothing to sneeze at. My mother always favored her over me. She always got all the attention. I hope her boyfriend breaks up with her then the word 'poor' will rear its ugly head again. Fritz never would have wanted any of this to happen. God if he were here, I know EXACTLY what he would have done. Unfortuantely what was said in the letters came true. Mom's friends see it, Fritz's friends see it. Mom's friends are beginning to leave her for the way she has treated me, the things she says and does to her friends when she has her little parties. She will have NOTHING. My sister told me via email without talking to me that she has severed ties with me forever because her best friend from high school who turned to be Fritz's best friend since dad died in 2003, had a heated email conversation. My sister slighted Fritz's friend by saying her 4 children were worthless. She ripped into my sister and said a few things which prompted an email to my sister to cut off ties with me. I never told Fritz's friend anything. My sister is nuts like my mother. Fritz's friend said Fritz told her about my sister's past not me. She told her don't blame your sister, blame Fritz. I cannot have any contact with my neice and nephew (my sister's kids). It is too bad my sister is going to plant twisted, untrue information about me so they will never want to see me again. When I came back from Chicago with Fritz's furniture that I wanted to take back to GA with me, I decided to stop by mother's condo to talk to her. After almost 45 minutes outside her locked condo, I could hear her sniffling and footsteps on the hardwood floor, she heard me talking and crying to her. She never opened to door!!. Her friends know of this. Fritz's friends know this. I even told her oldest neice who kept in contact with Fritz this. How cutting and cruel she is! Mother's reputation in the small town where I grew up is laughable. Since my father died, she was safe. Now that dad is gone, she is exposed to the criticism and the 'gossip' about her. I need to make one more long trip to Indiana in a couple of weeks...Going up, I will be flying, coming back obviously, I will be driving. The weather this time of year in Indiana will be dicey..I pray for clear skies and no bad weather. Deep down inside, I knew how much Fritz was hurting. He was worried he would loose his job due to downsizing. Had to sell his house. Move somewhere. How humilating. At his age, where would he go, what would he do?. The last time he moved home after loosing his last job, my parents were totally unsupportive of him. Reconciling with mother and moving in with her in her small condo was not an option. I told Fritz, he could stay with me if worse came to worse. I would never turn him away. He appreciated the gesture. I offered him this option on several occasions. It is so sad, Fritz as much as he wanted to, did not get all his financial affairs in order the way he wanted. The note that Fritz left on his refrigerator with his signature and dated that mom and my brother not to benefit financially and to not get any proceeds from his house or possessions and unenforceable in court, just upset me even more. He did not want them in his house. Seeing mother and her side of the family going through his house, through his personal belongings, they totally disrespected his wishes even though his note unfortuantely was not legal in the state of IL. My mother, sister and brother decided to let Fritz's house go into foreclosure instead of putting it up on the market to sale to save realtors costs because of the time it would take to sell it. Fritz had perfect credit and now..It is just so sad..All they care about is what they are going to get out of it moneywise in the end. Fritz had no will despite what he told me otherwise. When Fritz's attorney now representing my sister as administrator filed docs stated he had none. His friends state he did. I was never consulted nor agree that my sister be administrator of his estate. I was pressured to sign over a motion that she is. They did not want me to know anything about who much money he had in his bank account, his credit card debts nor anything else. My mother in a mean and sinister way on the phone said, '...and you are not the beneficiary...(meaning of Fritz's 401k and life insurance).  Fritz took out a 2nd mortgage on his house, two years into owning it, went on at 3 major trips in 2006 and at least two cruises the year or two prior to that. He was a single guy, having the time of his life..But he was traveling alone....Taxes on that 401k have to be paid, along with the attorney, the realtor, the bank and who ever else. My brother most likely is the beneficiary. Fritz never changed it at work thinking his note would suffice but didn't. Their job is to pay the beneficiary. There is nothing they can do to change it. Or is there?? My sister even said to me, you better loose weight or you will die like Fritz..She said this to me while I was up in Indiana at his funeral!. My brother even said, are you driving back to GA today, the day of Fritz's burial. He wanted me to drive back to GA after what I have been through....Getting support from anyone but family is hard because they are not family..not blood...They know my life..how I tick. I may reach out more to my dad's side of the family. I really need them...I will let the holidays pass, lay low and get into the new year.

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Hi Mimi,

How sad it is that your family has turned their backs on you.  It seems that the money is more important than their own daughter/sister.  It's so unfortunate that Fritz's wishes cannot be followed.  Have you thought about hiring your own lawyer to ensure that you get what you're entitled to?  You may just want to have a consult to run some questions by them.  In my part of the world, if someone contests a will, the estate must pay the lawyer fees of the person contesting, regardless of whether it's a valid claim or not.  I don't know any of the American laws, but perhaps there's a website that can give you more information about inheritance laws.

I wish I would have stayed off work like you have.  It seems to take every bit of my energy to get through my days.  I took 8 days off during my brother's illness and funeral and it wasn't nearly enough time. 

When I was looking through some of the other threads here, it seems like everyone is just dreading this holiday season - and I  know I am too.  I'm not going to be having a Hallmark card Christmas this year, but I am lucky that I will be with my family and we will continue to honor my brother's memory.  I think that one of the keys to getting through this month will be to remember my brother's goodness and his positive spirit.   I hope that you will be able to do it too.  Will you have to see your mother and your siblings during the holidays? Or are you planning on being with your dad's family?  Please remember to do what is best for you, not what other people think you should do.  Stay close to the people in your life who are willing to give you support and not change you .  I'm sending you lots of hugs and keeping you in my prayers.

Wishing you peace,  Linda

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Hi Linda....My family considers me an 'outcast'...I am not welcome...I will be spending the holidays alone. Why would I want to spend the holidays with my family after the way they treated me and the things they said? They don't care about my feelings, if they hurt me. All they care about is what money they can get. Fritz had no will according to the court document submitted by the attorney representing the family..Legally, the attorney must stay in contact with me with regard to any legal docs submitted and finalized by the courts because I am an heir. The attorney's secretary very rudely told me the attorney does not want to talk to me, don't call again. I know 'my family' specifically told him not to talk to me for any reason. That is bull**it!..My sister said, 'Fritz's estate is very small..' They will be using Fritz's 401K money to pay the attorney, the realtor and whoever else they legally have to pay. Taxes on that 401K have to be paid...and by whom? the beneficiary..which is most likely my brother who Fritz 'disowned' over a year ago. Fritz did not get around to changing things as he planned. Taxes don't have to be paid on life insurance. Fritz from what he told me in a conversation awhile back, had 'two small policies'. Taxes don't have to be paid on life insurance in the United States. Least that is my understanding. Linda..they are letting Fritz's house go into foreclosure instead of selling it! My attorney, who I obtained through my EAP at work, won't return my phone calls probably because he knows there is nothing in it for him, as in money. I even called Fritz's bank before the administrator of the estate was finalized..Good move on my part. They told me, Fritz took out a second mortgage, when he purchased it, how much he has paid on it and what it is worth. My brother goes, '...Nobody is going to stick it to you...'

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Hey MiMI, My name is Rich, I lost my bro on the same day you lost yours. Not a good thing to have in common, however I am the black sheep of my family too. The only advice that I can give you Is to make peace with your brothers death on your own, and in your own way. Its not worth dwelling  on family differences. You need your peace of mind especially after losing your bro, lord knows I do too! Its those things you shared privately with your bro thats gonna get you thru this eventually, those things that nobody else may know, that only you two shared. These memories are worth far more money or material things that your family may be consumed with. In the end carma (god ) will catch up. Dont involve your self in family disputes. It is thru my experience that I found, with family, its not worth arguing Let them think what they want to, eventually theyll come around when they figure out that their missing out on a life that is sill here..... Yours!! I use to carry grudges with family members too but when you experience death  as much as i have you realize its not worth being mad at eachother. TOMARROW IS NOT PROMISED! Make peace with your parents,  give kindness, if they still dont care, at least you did it for yourself. negativity only begets negativity. If you need to talk were all here for you!!!!! peace and blessings.   

>>>>angelsbro<<<<

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Hi Rich...I am so sorry to hear you lost your brother on the same day..What happened? How old was he if you don't mind me asking?..Were you and your brother close? I hope you don't have to spend the holidays alone. If not, you are lucky because I will. I will be with some friends but it is not the same as family. My parents had high expectations of us growing up. When 'we fell short', insults, criticism came at us like paintballs to a target. It hurt and hurt badly. Mother was especially harsh. Fritz, the oldest and me, the youngest, never married. In our minds, we were never good enough for someone else and that was cemented in our minds. My father died in 2003. In the last year, I lost 2 uncles and my brother. My mother has always been 'insulated' from the real world. When dad died in 2003, she started saying and doing things irrationally. Acting like a child without dad there to correct her. One of mother's dear friends just contacted me via email. My sister and the kids came out to visit my mom for Thanksgiving then mom went back to stay a week with them then flew back home. Mom's friend said the one who is hurting the most is me because I am suffering alone and that mother is doing just fine. She said mother is having a 'girls Christmas party' in two weeks. I can just imagine what that is going to be like. I hope some of her friends have a 'coming to Jesus talk' with her about me. Thanks for responding and am sorry you lost your brother too. Take care Mimi

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Hi Mimi,

I think Rich has made some really good suggestions.  When we carry anger at others, it can hurt us more than it hurts them.  Sometimes we just have to let go, even when the other person can't.

Two years ago, I lost my best friend due to neglect on the part of her husband.  Unfortunately, he wasn't charged.  She was aware she was ill but he didn't take care of her.  She had told me that he was so mean and cheap that if she died, he probably would have her creamated and thrown in the back garden.  Guess what, yep, that's what he was going to do.  Luckily, he gave in and allowed a funeral, as long as he didn't have to pay a cent for it.  He didn't even come to the funeral, church service or memorial. He spent the day of the funeral with his girlfriend.  I went to the house to get clothing for her to wear in the casket.  He would not allow me to take shoes or stockings because noone would see that part of her.  Needless to say, I was harboring some serious anger at him.  It didn't take me long to see that I was the one who was being hurt by it, he really didn't care how I felt about him. 

We live in separate cities and I probably won't ever run into him.  Instead of focusing on what a dispicible person he is, I focus on how my relationship with Martha enhanced my life and how I was able to bring her joy. It's not always easy, but she wouldn't have wanted me to ruin my life because of a scumbag like him.

Mimi, I hope that your good days start to outnumber your bad days. 

Peace to you,

Linda

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Hi Linda....That is awlful what happened to your friend. Some men can be so cold hearted to do something like that...I am so sorry. I glad she had a dignified funeral and a peaceful sendoff. Her husband will have to answer to God one day for how he treated her. He will carry that guilt for the rest of his life. I was just out and about for a few hours today...Everybody shopping and doing their thing. When I hear certain Christmas songs, I get sad. All my mothers friends are talking 'behind her back' about how she is treating me yet they cannot intervene or mother will threaten to cut ties with them for talking to me. These are women my mother has known for many, many years. Linda I have not received one Christmas card...I did not receive any calls on Thanksgiving day. I feel like I am dying inside. I miss and need Fritz so much. I have never missed Christmas with family. I am so deeply hurt. I don't know why I cannot let go of my anger...I am hurt so bad. Sometimes I wish I was never born. Easier said than done if you have any type of support. My sister said talking to mom's friends makes me look like a fool and will backfire on me. My mother got wind they were talking to me and told me to not to call them again because they don't care about your problems. There are some things I wish on my mother but I am not going to say it because her time will come. I just want to get Christmas over and done with. Thanks for the encouragement. I have a very long road ahead. Mimi

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Hi Mimi,

Hang in there, you're going through so much right now.  I can't even imagine how difficult it is for you.  We expect our parents to set an example and do the right thing - it seems unnatural that our parents don't want to treat us well.   I hope your mother realizes what she's doing wrong and tries to make it different for you.  If she hasn't, than she's the one who's really losing out. 

 I went shopping for the first time today - and hated that everyone was walking around getting ready for Christmas.  You know, when I was a kid I would count down the days to Christmas, now I'm counting down the days for Christmas to be over.  I don't want to celebrate this year, but I will because I have 2 sons and must do it for them and for Freddy's kids. 

This is the first year that I won't be attending our Christmas party at work - I find it's too hard to do most things, and I can't imagine going out and celebrating.  Last weekend, I accepted an invitation to visit one of my friends.  It was the first time I've been out for enjoyment since Freddy's death.  At least it was a quiet night and there were no expectations placed on me. 

You mentioned your dad's family before - do any of them live close to you?  I see that you are in Atlanta.  Martha and I had planned to take a trip there, but didn't because she passed over before it could happen.  She was in a car accident in Atlanta when she was 13.  Her uncle and 6 year old cousin were killed in the crash.  She stayed in a hospital there for 6 months because her legs had been crushed.  She was always grateful for the kindnesses she was shown while in the hospital there and wanted to visit the doctor that saved her legs.  Because of this accident, some of your DUI laws were changed.  She was always impressed that complete strangers were so kind to her and her family during those long months.

A week after she died, I was talking to a lady in a store.  It turns out that she worked at the children's center in Toronto where Martha was transferred to for rehab and she had worked with Martha 25 years earlier.  Now, Martha was from Toronto and the chances of meeting someone outside of Toronto who knew Martha - well, for me, it was a chance meeting that really soothed me.  I believe people come into our lives for a reason.  This same lady also knew my brother because he went to this store a few times a week.  I went to visit her yesterday to let her know that Freddy has passed.  The store was closed -  because the store is in another city, I'll have to wait another week or two to try again.  Anyway, what I mean to say is that people come into our lives for a reason - and I believe we were both brought to BI in order to begin our healing.

Have a good night - I hope tomorrow brings better things your way.

Peace,  Linda

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