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Well, back from the beach and wading through tons of junk mail to find bills and birthday cards - and I open a card and have a WTF moment? - ostensibly it is from my near 100 year old godmother and aunt. It starts with "I have calmed down enough to accept your offer of help" = ??????? I have not talked to this woman since my Mother died in 2000 - who knows what I said to her then????? She included a phone number, I am afraid to call her. The rest of her card is a litinany of financial problems that scare me. When she died I was making a ton of money every week and salting half of it away and spending the rest freely, especially with my 6 week vacation.

It was weird enough to get thatg e-mail about calling an aunt last night from Fear who has seriously lost her voice, yet if you call her she won't.shut.up! The emergency? Well, it idid not exist, she jsut tried to call me and someonw told her she had the wrong number, so I called myself after I got home, and, nope, still my number. My aunt did call the wrong number. She wants me to call her tonight, I guess she is not talking to her own children right now. Actually, she and my mother talked all the time, I think I sound enough like my mom that it comforts my aunt.

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WHAT? was this a chain letter she sent out to everybody she knows or just to you...

Yeah family...I'm actually feeling kinda bad because when I went to NYC there were two family members on my list to see and somehow didn't manage to see either one. Now I find out my cousin in Newark has been sick for a year and she kept it quiet. I hope nobody tells her I came that close without looking her up. eek!

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Nope, a hand written letter written to me. Sadly, at nearly 100, her handwriting is more ledgible than mine. I hope she is not going to make me take care of her cats or dogs. She didn't want anymore animals because she didn't want to have them out live her, but her neer do well grandson came to stay for a few weeks and when he left, he left her with a german shepard and two cats.

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Did you ever call your aunt? I can't help thinking of my mom, whose sense of timing is all messed up. All month she's been preserverating on this woman who is her niece--daughter of a woman her brother divorced and then lost contact with both of them. The brother died pretty young, many years ago. This niece moved to Raleigh and somehow ended up in contact with my mother briefly a few years ago, but lately my mother is convinced that this woman just came to visit. Every time I see her, sometimes multiple times in one visit, she talks about this woman having just come to see her. She found an obituary which she says is this woman's husband. I don't think it's him. He's 82 and she would be in her 60s, I think, and he doesn't have the same name as her husband. Two out of three of the first middle last names, in a different order. My mother says that they got the name wrong and even though it doesn't mention the niece in the survivors, these are mistakes, and it is this woman's husband. I dunno, I guess it could be. Lord knows what my mother's fixation is. I think maybe she feels guilty because she lived with her brother for awhile when she was going to college in Charlotte and had to move out because she wasn't getting along with this woman's mother, who subsequently got pregnant with the niece "trying to save the marriage," according to my mother. Maybe she blames herself for the divorce and this woman's loss of her father?? Not that she should. Anyway, the way your aunt's letter is phrased, it's as if you just saw her or talked to her, which is what makes me think of this situation with my mother and her niece. Anyway, if you talk to her, and she has a genuine need, financial or otherwise, maybe you can organize the whole family to share out the responsibilities among everyone. You'll have to explain to her that your circumstances are quite different than they were in 2000, and don't take on something you can't handle. Holly would not do well with more pets in the house, would she?

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Holly does not like any animals, just people.

It was funny how familiarly my aunt addressed me, I talked to her occaisionally at family funerals, and not that often or for long, maybe every 5 or so years we would exchange a few words. She did call my mother a few times a year to talk, but my Mom died 7 years ago and I have the other aunt who calls me, who talked to my mother every night for years. The aunt who wrote lived with us for few months when I was 5, but she never talked to me then, my grandparents also lived with us and my grandfather talked to me nonstop and taught me to play gambling card games until I was about 8.

You did remind me I have to take a ride out to see the aunt show calls me frequently and visit for a little while. We actually know a lot about each other - our families used to vacation together for a couple of weeks in the summer until I was a teen and there were lots of visits until I went away to college. Maybe I will bring Holly.

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Do ex-husbands count as relatives? :P

The other day I sent mine a list of this week's itinerary for Stu's birthday. He had lots of options to find some time to come out and see him (it's about a 3 hour drive). He told me he thought he could make it this coming weekend. Then he called yesterday (the real birthday) and when Stu hung up the phone he looked quite dejected. Apparently he's still saying "I'll try" but it's sounding more like "I probably won't make it because I'm too busy". Nice.

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So sorry that your ex wasn't there for Stu, luckiest. Pffffft! Sounds like he had a fantastic birthday anyway, thanks to you! :F_05BL17blowkiss:

Just because it's an interesting story, here's a follow-up on my mother and the niece she was preserverating on. Today when I got there, my mother was on about this again, and had started to change her genealogy records to make the names in the obituary match the names in her records. She'd also added a line saying that the niece's daughter had visited her in July 2008. Remember that my mother has no idea that she's been telling me this story over and over for weeks--every time is like the first time for her--but it was getting more and more elaborate. So I decided there has to be a reason she's stuck on this. We have her keep a daily diary of visitors and baths and stuff, and so I checked that. I found an entry for early July that said she'd had a very vivid dream about the niece coming to visit her--according to her entry it was so vivid that she wasn't sure if it was real or a dream. Apparently with time, she had decided it was real. So I thought, I've got to do something, so I called this woman up. Turns out she is literally dying of cancer, "Hospice stage," she called it, and is almost as loopy as my mother. She told me several times that she did come to visit my mother last month (and contradicted that other times). She talked to me for half an hour at least--just memories of her father's wives (three altogether), her brother, other children of other wives, her daughter, a long-ago visit with my mother (that really did happen) and how cool she was for such an old woman, and so on. I've never met this woman before--but she really was happy to talk to me. I put her on the phone with my mother, but they didn't talk much at all. I decided that she really did visit my mother recently, just not on this plane, and on that other level they probably have a lot in common right now.

She told me that she and her brother had been very concerned about my mom because they'd both e-mailed her recently and she hadn't responded, so they were glad to know she's still OK. My mother's had a lot of correspondence with the nephew over the years because they are both very interested in genealogy. There's one part of the mystery I haven't solved--there really might have been a visitor because she said the visitor worked in the "Methodist building" in downtown Raleigh, and that doesn't fit with any part of this story at any point--in other words when the niece actually did visit years ago, the only time my mother has seen her, possibly ever, she wasn't living or working in Raleigh. She was visiting her son in Chapel Hill. So I don't know about that part, but it was interesting figuring out the rest of it.

Oh wait--the niece's husband was a Methodist minister (as was the guy with 2 of 3 of the same names in the obituary--understandably confusing), so maybe she just had an errand at the "Methodist building" (whatever that is) that she was doing at the same time she visited my mother. Years ago.

Follow all that? LOL. It keeps life interesting, anyway.

At any rate, I think the vivid dream and the obsession my mom has had with the visit that was "like yesterday" for both of them, and also with this obituary for someone she thought was the niece's husband despite the difference in names and the absence of any mention of the niece in the obit (although my mom has now added all the surviving family members in the obit to her geneaology records--LOL), shows that my mother is really connected to reality in some ways, even though it often doesn't make immediate sense. I just have to remember that it probably does make sense on some level and try to figure it out. Her psyche was clearly telling her that something important is going on. Or maybe her nephew had told her his sister was very ill--unfortunately my mother deletes all her e-mail and empties the trash, so I can't "follow along" with her life in that way to try to figure things out.

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jmh, I am amazed that your mother is able to check & send email. And I applaud your patience with her.

My mom was visiting for the weekend, to celebrate Stu's birthday. I see her becoming her mother more and more every day, and it's kind of freaky to watch. Her mom (who we all called Nanna) passed away a couple of years ago, so her memory is still fresh in all of our minds, and even my kids can see it happening quite clearly. She suffered from dementia in her final years, and had some delusions that included what she called 'gremlins' who she believed got into her home and stole her things (that she really just misplaced), and now I see the signs that my mom is believing in them, too. We all (including my mom) used to try to convince my Nanna that she didn't need to hide her things, because the gremlins didn't exist, but now my mom is hiding her purse or wallet, even though she tries to make sure we don't see her doing it. I'm sure it's just genetics, but being adopted, I find it fascinating. Who will I 'turn into'? I'm feel I'm more like my (adoptive) mom in temperment, and I don't feel as though I have much in common with my birth mom. But will genetics ultimately prove me wrong? Do do do do do do do do....

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When am I going to get people to understand I AM WORKING.

I get home... all set to make up for the Sunday and Monday that I couldn't really work because I was in Oceanside... My plan was to work 4 or 5 hours tonight. But first I have to take my mom to my sister's house..but oh she's making spaghetti for dinner and doesn't have saunce and can I stop at the store on my way.. go to the store, drop her off..say hi to everyone..come home to my peace and quiet...why did I answer the phone..relatives over to use the computer..I love them but got nothing done in that hour..by the time they leave I'm so tired I can't even concentrate..I try yet I only get about 2 hours of work tonight. I'll never make it to New York at this rate. I'm almost temnpted to take my laptop to a library or something..they just don't stay open late enough.

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When am I going to get people to understand I AM WORKING.

I get home... all set to make up for the Sunday and Monday that I couldn't really work because I was in Oceanside... My plan was to work 4 or 5 hours tonight. But first I have to take my mom to my sister's house..but oh she's making spaghetti for dinner and doesn't have saunce and can I stop at the store on my way.. go to the store, drop her off..say hi to everyone..come home to my peace and quiet...why did I answer the phone..relatives over to use the computer..I love them but got nothing done in that hour..by the time they leave I'm so tired I can't even concentrate..I try yet I only get about 2 hours of work tonight. I'll never make it to New York at this rate. I'm almost temnpted to take my laptop to a library or something..they just don't stay open late enough.

I know you're just ranting, but you gotta create space for yourself--it's obvious that they aren't going to do it for you. Don't answer the phone, and if you do make that mistake, say sorry, you can't come over and use the computer, I'm working. It isn't bad to do this or to say no. You don't think others are wrong to ask for what they want--why should it be wrong for you to do it? It doesn't have to be a big production. Just a quick and quiet, oh I'm so sorry, but I'm working, and I can't do XX right now.

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I'm almost tempted to take my laptop to a library or something..they just don't stay open late enough.

If you really feel the need to get out of the house, how about a Starbucks or a book store? I know the Barnes & Nobles and Borders around here are open until at least 11:00 PM.

I agree with jmh though - you gotta put your foot down! :mixed-smiley-011:

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I need some advice. I am stuck between a rock and a hard place and am not sure what to do.

My brother Jeff lives in Taiwan with his wife Nancy and 11 year old daughter Amanda. They visited last year, for the first time since the daughter was born. I get along great with Nancy & Amanda, Jeff not so much. He and I have never seen eye to eye. But my mom loves him, of course, and was thrilled with their visit. We had words a few times while he was here (because IMO he was acting like an ass) and when he got back to Taiwan he told Nancy she should not keep in touch with me, as I was a bad influence (story of my life, LOL). Of course, Nancy and I still keep in touch regularly, just without him knowing. She is my lifeline to my niece, who I love dearly.

A few months ago I got an email from Nancy telling me that Jeff was diagnosed with testicular cancer. She was asking about his options for coming back to Canada and getting health coverage again. Long story short, he didn't have the time and had the operation in Taiwan. However, Nancy was not supposed to tell me, or anyone else in Canada, about it. So now I knew but Jeff didn't know I knew. The operation was successful.

Last week I got another email from Nancy, saying that the results of Jeff's 3 month post-op bloodwork were not good. His cancer cells are high again. He needs to go back in for more tests to determine the best cause of action. This morning I got an email saying that Jeff has decided not to go to his tests because he can't face the whole process. He's done a lot of research on the internet about his cancer and he's saying things like "I should just kill myself instead". Now, Jeff is a dramatic guy, prone to depression, and not very logical at times, so I'm not surprised to hear stuff like this, but poor Nancy doesn't know what to do with him. She's wondering if anyone here can talk any sense into him. Now, since we are not supposed to know about any of this, I'm not sure how that is going to happen unless I blow the whistle. Which will really piss him off and make him angry not only at me, but at Nancy as well for telling me.

To make this whole thing worse, my mom has battled cancer herself twice and is, so far, cancer free again. To hear about my brother is going to be very difficult for her. It feels very wrong to me to be keeping this from her, but I don't want to put Nancy in an awkward situation by telling her and then having Mom call Jeff in a panic. What should I do?

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I wonder if he won't change his mind after he has a little time to think about it. This is just his first reaction--he doesn't want to face more treatments--but after he's had time for it to sink in, he may very well change his mind. I'd give it a little while before doing anything. If after some time has passed, he still doesn't want to act, and (this is important) you think your mother would be able to have a positive effect on his attitude, then I think it would be better to get Nancy to tell her. Once Nancy tells her, then you can still be there to comfort and support your mom.

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Thanks, jmh. Yeah, I do think that Mom will be able to have a positive effect on his attitude, once she has absorbed the information and is able to think clearly. After all, she is a success story, and he is probably still in panic mode and only seeing the negatives. Right now I've left it in Nancy's hands, to try and convince him to 1) have the testing to find out what they are dealing with and 2) call his mom.

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Hi Lucky.. I remember you telling us about their visit and your relationship with your brother. Sorry he is going through this. It must be so hard on his wife. I too think once he gets through the first reaction he may change his mind. But the man needs his mama. If the wife is asking for help she must be overwhelmed and cares more about his life than whether or not he gets mad. Let us know how it all works out. I'm sending out good vibes.

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I spoke to her again this morning, and she is quite scared of what he might do if he finds out she told me. Unfortunately, I don't trust him not to become violent. So I'm going to wait and hope she can get through to him. I hate being stuck in the middle like this! But thanks everyone, I just needed somewhere to vent and figure stuff out. :)

ETA: He went for the tests, but now he is saying ridiculous stuff like "I won't live as a woman, I'd rather go to Hong Kong and jump off a tall building". OMFG. And he's saying this stuff in front of his daughter. Nancy said they will have the test results in a week, but there is also some concern about his lung. :(

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OMG he has two tumours, one in his lung and one in his liver. He has agreed to start chemotherapy next week. He plans to call my mom and tell her. This weekend is my mom's birthday. :(

That's the kind of cancer Lance Armstrong had, isn't it?

It's great that he's agreed to the chemo!

An old friend I've lost touch with worked for the cancer information hotline when I knew her, and I remember her saying that the type of cancer cell makes a big difference in terms of how treatable the cancer is, even after it metastasizes. You might try to get as much information as you can (a cancer hotline in Canada? the US one will send info, answer general questions, etc. or maybe these days, there's a website?) so when your mom finds out you can be as informed as possible. ETA: (From a quick google, what I remember from Armstrong's case seems to be correct: there's an extremely high cure rate even after it's spread widely, for this type of cancer. As much as 85%.) Just be there for your mom--she can handle this. And I know your SIL really appreciates the support.

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I'm thinking that that's about all I can do, is be there at this point. I don't have much of any info to go on except a 3 line email so far....I've suggested my SIL call me to talk if she can get away. I'm heading to mom's tomorrow to take her out for lunch but if there's a possibility that he'll call this weekend I will stay. Mom leaves on a 10 day trip wtih friends on Monday. I am not sure if she will even go if she gets the news before then. But it's all out of my control, all I can do is wait for events to unfold. Argh.

This is worse than the worst case scenario I had envisioned.

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