Friday, March 09, 2007

Money Changes People

I want to post a few emails that have been going between my aunt and I over the last two days. It’s basically the family’s dirty laundry, so why would I want to share it? What I’ve learned (so far) in life is that everyone has dirty laundry, and sometimes it’s nice to know that you’re not the only one!

Before Christmas my uncle John died. John is the eldest of my mom’s side of the family. John never married nor had children. His nieces and nephews were the light of his life. When they started to go through his house the first thing that my mom noticed was that he had a Thank-You card on his coffee table from my youngest brother, Matt. The card was from 3-years ago! Next to the card was the Thank-You from MacKenzy’s birthday part last spring. In his checkbook he carried a picture of MacKenzy.

John lived on disability so it’s not like relatives were coming out of the woodwork to stake their claim. My mom knew he had some investments, but figured it would be used to pay off his debts or bills. No one was sure if John had a will, but a friend of his made mention that he had left everything to my brother Mitchell, as John was his Godfather. From the get-go Mitch made it known that he wouldn’t feel comfortable if that was the case. He would certainly split it up with the other nieces and nephews, even if it was just twenty bucks.

After the funeral I learned that there was not a will and that everything would have to go into probate. In my experience probate can take months to years, so I basically forgot about it.

A few weeks ago one of my cousins emailed me:

‘Amy, What's new?... …Are you working the EMS job and the mortgage job at the same time? I ask because you mother thought it was crazy, why would she say that about u? I spoke to her a couple weeks back after her inheritance was finalized from John. I'm curious, would u split it with her siblings/nieces/nephews? She is and will pay a price for it, I hope it's small, she means a lot to me! Anyway, I guess this makes me sorta of a gossip king but, I'm curious what u think about everything? Do u know how unhappy her siblings are with her choice not to split it up with them? Take Care’

I had no idea what he was talking about and immediately responded with “WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT…I know nothing about any inheritance.”

A few days later we spoke and I learned of the drama surrounding the death of my uncle. I talked to my older brother the next evening and he was just as mystified as I was by it all.

Two days later I decided to write a quick e-mail to my aunt to make sure everyone knew, WE DIDN’T KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON.

So here goes…the chain of e-mails to illustrate how messed up my background is!!!



Okay so Dan and I are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO out of the loop that it's not even funny. I seriously just learned about the crap my mom pulled with John's inheritance on Tuesday. Gee, can you say I'm a little slow in finding out?? To make matters worse, I didn't hear it from my mom but from ******** (though he shall remain nameless as my source!). He emailed me asking what I thought of all the John BS and I replied that I had no idea what he was talking about...we talked on the phone Monday night and WOW!

I am SO ashamed. No child should ever have to say that, but it's true. I don't know who she is anymore. The person that did this is not the person that raised me, and certainly not the type of person I associate with.

Tuesday night I spoke with Dan and he was just as mystified as I was. The first question he had, "Are you going to call her out on it?" DAMN STRAIGHT!

The reason I'm writing to you is to let you know that Dan and I just learned of this...and are bothered by it just as much as the rest of the family seems to be. I don't want anyone to think that Dan or I had anything to do with any of this...we are both ashamed to even be in a position for that to be assumed.

I do plan on confronting my mother. If I were to talk her today, it would be the last time for a very long time. I need to cool off a little...but not too much....and then she'll be getting the worse of me. I do not plan to tell her how I found this all out...b/c THAT isn't important.

Love you all!



Dear Amy,

I'm sorry this has happened as well. I'm also sorry that you had to hear this second hand and not from your mother. I guess we assumed you knew. But I truly thought about mailing you and asking you where you fit it now.

The family is quite surprised, to say the least, of her actions. This has created an even greater divide in the family, so the saga continues. Sadly. I truly think John probably set up his policy quite a few years ago. He probably put your mom as a beneficiary trusting her to be righteous and fair. That must have been back when they were on speaking terms. Knowing John has spoke highly of ALL of his nieces & nephews, the rest of the family agreed the right thing to do would be to divide it among them to help pay for their education. However being your mom's name is on the policy it stands as a legal document that it is hers to keep. That is what she has decided to do, and there really is no turning back.

So in the end she has written off her family for about $35,000.
Gee, now she can pay off a car or remodel the house??

Good luck on this Amy.

Whoever said kids can do the darnedest things?... so can parents!

Love Always,

Hi Brenda!

I'm very glad to have heard from you. And I do hope you pass the word on to the rest of the clan that Dan and I are 100% on your side of the fence. In every way we are repulsed by her actions.

Over the last couple years Dan and I have really been talking about confronting her on a lot of issues. There has always been that "not quite right" feeling in our relationships with her...but since her illness they have taken a nose dive. We don't know who she is anymore, and do all that we can to avoid her.

Both Mom and Kent have been very controlling over the years. Kent not so much up front, but he'll rag you once he gets a chance. For instance, both of them have a problem with me being on the volunteer ambulance. My mom got on my case when I joined "You're busy enough! You'll get sick if you push yourself too hard...." Oh Shut UP! I'm an adult and can make an adult decision without commentary! There's been times where I'm talking about working a traffic accident out in the sub-zero weather and Kent will say, "Well maybe you just can't hack it." Nothing good to say! I'm volunteering my time for my community (hmm, doesn't Kent do that?) and in turn I get to use my EMS skills!

Dan and I feel as though mom feels she's owed something. Her life has been so off the charts in difficulty that the world should now treat her like a porcelain doll. She doesn't feel the need to go out of her way, because "she's sick." She doesn't have to call and say, "I'm not coming." She'll wait until you call and put on the groggy voice and say that she isn't feeling well. I GET IT, YOU HAD CANCER BUT THE KEYWORD IS 'HAD'...get over yourself! You're alive, so give life a shot!

A year ago when were moving into our house Mom was to take MacKenzy. Plans were to pick her up at the house at 8am, and then bring her home later the next day. At 9am Jason called me wondering where she was...he had a little bored little girl in an empty house. I called and she answered with her sick voice. She said she wasn't feeling well but would leave right away. At 10:15am I called Jason from the apartment to tell him that the movers were done and on their way. Panic screamed through Jason's voice when he said that my mom still wasn't there and now the movers were on their way! I immediately got on the phone but no one answered. I got to the house just after 11am to find Jason in a tizzy, and MacKenzy running around in a freezing cold house (b/c the doors were all open). I picked up my phone and called answer, hang up and dial again, no answer, hang up dial again......again and again until she answered the phone. I went ballistic on her and all she could say, "Well, I told you I was sick."

Instead of hanging up on her I should have said "What about a phone call at 7am saying that you can't do it? Or maybe at 9am when I called!" She called a few days later like nothing was wrong. When I wasn't perky and she could tell I wasn't all that pleased to be on the phone with her she said, "You're not still mad about me not watching MacKenzy?" She tried minimizing the gravity of the situation! I went on a tangent, "You'd freak out if I didn't call to say I was running late for lunch... You did NOTHING! If this would have been a priority on your list, you would have called."

"Well, Amy...I was sick."
"Being sick doesn't exempt you from common courtesy!!!" She ended up hanging up on me because apparently she didn't have anything more to say....and then as usual, a week later she acts like everything is A-Ok!

Sorry for the novel, but I wanted to share that with you b/c it proves that her behavior hasn't been on track for awhile. The "I'm sick" excuse has been worn out for a very long time, but she continues to use it. She's even gone as far as to say that Dan and I weren't there for her when she was sick...which couldn't be further from the truth. Just because we weren't there holding her hand everyday doesn't mean were any less of a supporter.

Dan helped with the boys, while I banked vacation time. I had wanted to take days off to sit down at Mayo with her but she 'asked' for me to wait and use it when she got out of the hospital. I had two weeks off to help her, and unfortunately her discharged got extended at the last minute. I had already taken off the time, so I did what I could. I still was at the house...I cooked meals, cleaned, did laundry, and whatever else I could do to make her transition easier.

So now here we are, years later and she's acting as if we were MIA during the entire thing. Ugh!

Dan has said that he'd back me 150%, so my thoughts are to confront her on this issue and see how she handles it. I'm 99% sure it won't go well, but that will only set the stage for the next step. INTERVENTION. Basically like a drug/alcoholic intervention, but this will be a mental intervention. She needs to get help, and stick to it. She needs to treat people as they deserve to be treated...or sorry, we just I need to step back until you figure it out.

I'll let you know what all happens...


Hi Amy,

I will pass the word on to others.

I want them to here me on this family issue as well, so I have cc'd them in.

I and probably many others, share your frustrations on the word "Mother".

I was born to a mother who was not yet diagnosed with bipolar disorder/depression. There has been very many roller coaster rides our immediate family has been on, no thanks to this disorder.

Thank goodness in the 1980's a mood leveling medication was introduced to control the effects of depression, anxiety, panic disorder, bipolar etc. and it's other derivatives.
These conditions are very genetic. I keep this is mind, because I have concluded it is in our genetics on both Tom's and my side of the family. I have watched myself, and my children closely, due to this and have had talks with them on their families medical history. I am no psychologist , but am very much about awareness and openness, because I do not want my family to struggle when there is help, if they need it.

Even though my mother has doctored all of her life there a still quirky things she does that are thoughtless, selfish, and rude. I chose to write my mother off for at least 2 years, through their divorce after 39 years. She at the time was trying an herbal drug and off of the meds prescribed. Not advisable by any psychologist!

We have rekindled our relationship over the past 5 years. Dad has remarried and we are thrilled to see him finally extremely happy to be married to his best friend.
Last Fall I convinced my mom to try a REAL psychologist and quit going back to the family doctor in St. Peter who does NOT specialize in BP and treats her like a lab rat, trying this and that with her meds. No stability in that.
I researched a shrink online and found one for her. She has gone to her quite a few times over the past months. Her meds are stable.
She called just this week excited to have finally gone to a Bi-Polar Group meeting in Mankato, put on by the clinic. She has been going to alanon for years, who constantly talk of drugs and how no one should take them. This has made her feel like she should quit taking her BP meds! So she had, a few times. UGH!
So she is FINALLY understanding that this lack of serotonin disorder is similar to a diabetic not taking insulin. Whew! When you struggle with depression you can cyclically struggle with feeling tired, crabby, and sickly.

I see similarities in your relationship with your mom. Maybe she has acquired through her cancer treatments, or even genetically, with age, depression, which can come on, but like I said I am no doctor. When one struggles with depression they can cyclically struggle with feeling tired, crabby, and sickly. It's easy to bring on the POOR me line.

I don't recommend writing your mom off at this point. I've done it. It's a long haul of awkward, uneasy, frustrating emotions. YES, even worse than how you are feeling about her now. Every holiday, family event, birthday, etc. it's a dragging question, "Should we invite mom?" Of course you should, because she's your mom and then the guilt ways heavy.
Even with as much frustration she has caused you, I have found that if you can call her on the rug on it immediately, and carry on, it's better for you emotionally. In a month or 4, she'll do something again that bugs you, deal with it with her, and keep on. Family members are loved unconditionally, for the most part.

So I recommend you don't do write her off. Consider the idea that maybe she does have some depressive issues, help her realize it, if she doesn't already. Ask her to share what she is doctoring for. Flat out ask her if she is taking an anti-depressant.
If you truly think she needs more help, you may want to suggest it. If she values her kids’ relationships, she may consider it.

Clear the air with her on this issue of John's and carry on the best you & Dan both can.

Keeping my distance seems to work for me. So I also understand the avoidance you feel necessary. It seems the less information my mom knows about myself or the family, the less stories she can assume about us. She still does this.

Go about your good deeds girl. Do what you love!

Take Care,



I know for a fact that she's been on anti-depressants over the years, and I'm pretty sure she's taking them. I think she needs a drug consult! Over the years you have to switch it up...higher dosage or new drug.

I started taking anti-depressants in 2000 after having a melt down at work contemplating my boss coming to work. For weeks I had to sleep sitting up because my chest was so tight, I couldn't talk straight (mumbled), my thoughts were two conversations ahead of me, eating made me feel sick, and breathing was a chore. I had hit a bottom and didn't realize it. Then one day I had the breakdown in the office and it was like a light turned on in my head, "This isn't right." I went to my Dr the same day. After I told her what was all going on she grabbed an Anxiety pamphlet and read it...word for word it was me. It took awhile, but I started feeling a lot better within a month or so. Over the years I had to change up my medications when I didn't feel like myself.

This summer I came to the realization that something wasn't right. I was doubling up on my medication and it wasn't helping. I found that I would dread being home alone with MacKenzy, like it was too labor intensive. All I wanted to do was sleep, and my mood swings were monstrous!

I went back to my doctor and she suggested that I go to a Psychiatrist for a medication evaluation. I met with him once and he suggested that I see a therapist on top of working with him. Can I say this? I love my therapist! She is incredible! I always knew I should go talk to someone, but felt that if I admitted that it was a sign of weakness or looking for the "poor Amy." I had always imagined that it would be a cry-fest and I'd be twice as miserable. After my first session with my therapist it was like a new person was born.

My therapist works closely with the Psychiatrist and so far so good.

In therapy I have come to terms with who my mom is and I've decided that she raised me to be a good person, but I have to work every day to be a better person. We've barely cut the surface when it comes to my Mom but I have defined her in one word: Irrational. She has irrational expectations of people and she justifies her own behavior irrationally. Once I came to that realization it was like WAH-LAH! To work at being stronger I distanced myself from her. When she calls and says, "What have you been up to?" my answer is CENSORED! I've also learned that standing up to her doesn't necessarily mean I have to include screaming. Subtle and firm. The first time that I did it I was damn near jumping up and down.

I'm not perfect either...I've taken myself off my medications before too. Not wise! I'd be fine for about a week (if I was lucky) and then EVERYTHING would start pissing me off. My blood would boil for the most ridiculous reasons. Some time or another the light turned back on and said "TAKE YOUR MEDS YOU IDIOT!" After a day or two I'd be back to myself again. I too have justified my medication as a need, not a luxury. If I don’t want to be that dark and miserable person, I have to take my medications. There's nothing wrong with ME as a person, I just need help. And that's ok. I have also got to remember and give myself praise for realizing I needed help, and was strong enough to ask for it. Many people aren't so lucky.

With that said...yes, the Weber's have a strong ripple effect when it comes to depression. I think and hope the fact that Depression (etc.) is no longer something to be ashamed of and is out in the open, the younger generations will do better.



…and that’s all I got to say about that.

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