On Thursday, October 11, 2012, the public defender went to court to get conservatorship over L, my mom’s former housemate. The public defender's case was based on the premise that L was under “undue influence” from K, the woman she allowed to live in the house rent-free. And, for the most part, that premise is true. Yes, L is the one who went to the bank to transfer money from my mom’s account to hers (my mom’s account was actually a joint account, in her and L’s names, because my mom trusted L to do the right thing, so this is how L was able to transfer my mom’s money into her own separate account). L is the one who picked my mom up from the convalescent facility, lied to her about going home, and then drove her to another facility over 70 miles away. L is the one who went to an attorney, trying to change my mom’s will so that she, her son R, and K would receive all my mom’s money and property, with none of it being left for my mom and I. But, according to the public defender, K is the one who influenced L to do so. Had K not been invited to live in the house and become a part of L’s life, according to the public defender's argument, L might not have ever done any of those things, and because L succumbed to K’s undue influence, it’s obvious that L needs someone to help manage her care; someone other than her son R.
I have my doubts as to K’s “undue influence” over L. I don't think it was as complete as the public defender made it appear to the judge. I will agree that K definitely had a lot of influence over L, but I think L would have most likely made some of those choices on her own, without K’s influence, and K only pushed her to do what she was already thinking about doing. K just gave her the extra support to take action.
Regardless, L’s conservatorship is now in the hands of the public defender. According to Ms. Wright, investigator for the public defender’s office, L didn’t put up any opposition to the conservatorship hearing, and her son R didn’t either. Ms. Wright said he was actually cordial and agreeable to her in court, whereas before, he’d cursed her out and at my mom’s conservatorship hearing, told the court he believed the public defender’s office needed to leave my mom and his alone.
So L's passivity and R's cordiality lead Ms. Wright to believe that they might be coming around, might be more willing to admit the error of their ways and perhaps try to repair their relationship with my mom and I. Ms. Wright said that L even went to visit my mom at the convalescent facility last week, the day before the hearing. Which I initially took as a positive sign, too, thinking that L might actually feel bad about her actions. ...Only to discover that the only reason L went to visit my mom was to ask her for money. I guess a leopard really can’t change its spots.
Prior to L inviting K to live with her, my mom and L came to a verbal agreement to pay L as my mom's primary caregiver. They wanted to save expenses by not hiring a full-time caregiver from an outside agency, so since L is a retired nurse, she agreed to function as my mom's main caregiver and my mom would pay her the going rate. L did employ several part-time caregivers from outside agencies, but L was my mom’s main caregiver for nearly 3 years. Then my mom fell, broke her hip and had an extended stay at a convalescent facility, during which time L was not my mom’s caregiver and she invited K into the house. When my mom returned home from the convalescent facility last year, L hired more part time caregivers and delegated more of the work to them. L is in her 80s and, truthfully, shouldn’t have been my mom’s main caregiver at all. But my mom is VERY selective about who she trusts (a symptom of her borderline personality disorder), L has continued to enable my mom's fear and mistrust for over 40 years, so of course my mom thought of L as her primary caregiver, even though more of the work was being done by the part-time caregivers.
So L believes my mom should pay her this money, which is what she asked for when she visited my mom last week. And I will agree that she should be paid for some of what she did. I’m not so heartless to believe someone should do the thankless job L did for nearly 3 years without any compensation. But if what Ms. Wright has hinted at is true – that L has spent large portions of my mom’s money without my mom’s consent; essentially stealing from my mom – then she’s had her compensation and doesn’t deserve any more. And the fact that she went to visit my mom after nearly 6 months of no communication with her, outside of her kidnapping attempt in July, and asked my mom for “payment due,” rather than trying to repair the relationship after all the shit she’s done, is so beyond ridiculous, I don’t know how to qualify it.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, considering all the b.s. that’s come before. But I still am. I’m still shocked and sadly surprised at the depths to which people will go to get what they want. In this case, money.
As soon as I learned from my mother the purpose of L’s visit, I immediately left a message for Ms. Wright, telling her what happened. When Ms. Wright called back, she told me she was aware L had asked my mom for money. She agrees L does not deserve any payment, considering the amount of money she's already stolen from my mom. Ms. Wright explained some other things going on at the moment, which may explain why L asked my mom for the money (aside from her obviously poor character).
L apparently wants to leave the house and move into an elder care facility that asks for a $40,000 down payment, and she doesn’t have the money. I think she assumed she could demand payment from my mom and it would help her make the down payment on this facility where she wants to live. According to Ms. Wright, L will have to borrow money from my mom to make the down payment, but that money will eventually be paid back to my mom’s estate, which will then fall to me when both L and my mom have passed on.
Once L is out of the house, the public defender’s office plans to rent the house out. They expect they can ask approximately $3,000 a month for it. That money will be used to help pay for my mom’s care at the convalescent facility where she is currently staying, and possibly to help pay some of the rent at the facility where L wants to stay.
Renting the house means getting rid of all the furniture and other stuff in it, and Ms. Wright suggested that L’s son R and I should get together to look through the house and decide what we want to keep for ourselves, if anything. I told Ms. Wright the only thing I want to keep is my mom’s piano, but Ms. Wright continued to push the prospect of R and I getting together to look through the house, mostly in an attempt, I think, to help us repair our relationship. And I have to admit, it didn’t seem like a bad idea to look through the house one more time to see if there’s anything left, besides the piano, that I might possibly want.
With that in mind, I got out of my comfort zone and left R a message, asking him to call me back so we could possibly plan a time in the near future to meet up at the house and go through it. For some inexplicable reason, I thought it might be a good idea to call L, too, and let her know that if she had any furniture or things in the house that she wanted to specifically leave to her son R, she should let him know so he could claim those things. So on Wednesday and Thursday of this past week, I had several phone conversations with L and R, after not speaking to either of them for the greater part of a year.
Unfortunately, these phone conversations only gave me further proof that neither L nor R really regrets their actions towards my mom and me, or believes they’ve done anything wrong. I do think L is beginning to realize that, had my mom and the public defender decided to press charges, she could be going to jail instead of a nice elder care facility. I think L’s a bit shaken up by that, but overall, I don’t get the impression that she really regrets her actions.
I also believe L lied to me about who owns the piano, the only thing I want from the house. Based on what my mom has told me over the years, I’ve always believed the piano was my mom’s. Most of the furniture in the house was purchased by my mom and L together. There are a few pieces that are specifically L’s, furniture that she purchased on her own, before she pooled her financial resources with my mom, but I don’t believe the piano is one of them. When I discussed the issue with L, she claimed the piano was hers, that she had bought it on her own. Which I don’t believe is true. Unfortunately, my mom's memory is so bad, she doesn’t remember who purchased the piano, so I have no way to prove whether L is telling the truth or not. As far as I know, the piano has been in the house since 1969 or ’70, and I’m sure it would be extremely difficult now to find any financial records or documentation to show who actually bought the piano over 40 years ago. So I may be losing more property to yet another lie L has decided to tell.
My conversation with R was even worse, clearly proving his asshole nature and his refusal to believe that his mom L wants to leave the house and move to a facility where they’ll cook all her meals and essentially do everything for her. He maintains that Ms. Wright and the public defender’s office is “forcing” his mom to move there, and seemed completely clueless about the fact that his mom had engaged in criminal activity and, by rights, should be going to jail for the things she's done instead of an elder care facility. He acted like a jerk, refused to be reasonable or apologize for any of his actions, and didn’t seem to care at all how his actions, his mom’s and K’s have hurt my mom and me.
After nearly a year of no conversation with either of them, L’s lies, R’s attitude, and their continued show of poor character only served to enrage me – an anger that would have consumed me this past week if I hadn’t decided to give it up. It’s the only thing I could do to save my sanity, to keep me from harming them or myself. And in order to let go of my anger, I needed to let go of them, which is not something I do lightly. But I have decided to end all contact with L and R from this point forward. I will neither speak to or see them ever again. They know how I feel, how angry I am at their attitude and actions, and they both understand that L could have gone to jail if my mom and the public defender had decided to press charges, and is lucky they’re trying to help her get into a nice elder care facility instead.
I have done with them. I will no longer consider them family, and nothing they might try to say or do can ever touch me again.
It’s freeing, a sense of relief, but a deep sense of sadness as well, that it has to come to this, that they have proven themselves unworthy of my consideration, that they are two of the dumbest assholes on the planet and are undeserving of any rewards that may come to them in the future.