Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Peace of Mind: Stop Ongoing Abusive Behaviour

It’s almost December. January and another new year with two anniversaries of death will soon return; my husband’s on Jan 5 and my mother’s on Jan 10, on the third anniversary of my husband’s burial.
You don’t forget or set aside these times, these dates, when the people who passed are intricate and daily parts of your life who you loved, cared for and about.  
Visiting Mom’s gravesite is a little difficult but I know other relatives visit when they go to see their own loved ones. We’ve found remnants of flowers, a potted Pansy (for remembrance), on Mom’s grave when we visited several weeks ago. It’s an hour’s drive to the site and a gravel road, not great travelling in this cold and uncertain Winter weather.

Visiting my husband’s grave is far more difficult even though he’s buried much closer. Although I’m still comforted by surrounding gravestones with memorable sayings that gave me solace when we looked for a different gravesite for him, for me and for our daughter and her future husband, it’s disturbing.

I can’t go as frequently as I’d like because I won’t be buried with him. My oldest son has made that impossible. I will not allow myself or my daughter, and she is of the same opinion, to be controlled and manipulated by him or by the cemetery who calls our situation “a family matter” and refuses to stop the abuse we’re enduring.

We won’t continue to be abused now and we won’t be afraid of a future where my oldest son or his heir(s) might refuse or make the whole process of burial and saying goodbye full of hostility and regrets.

When I agreed to inter my husband’s body in a cemetery different from the one we had planned, actually just across the street, it was openly discussed within the presence of a representative of the Cemetery
    • (1) we had available burial space, free and clear, titled to me, within the other cemetery
    • (2) both sons had shown through their reactions and our talking they would prefer not to have their father buried in that cemetery due to its lack of care and maintenance
    • (3) I was not able at the time to cover the amount required to inter my husband but would take over payments
    • (4) I negotiated the lowest possible payments over the longest span of time believing as times passed we’d both (daughter and I) get jobs and be able to make minimal payments,
    • (5) daughter suggested burial with us and her taking responsibility for 1/2 of the cost and myself 1/4 and we would purchase 2 graves with possibility of four internments, 2 in each, and  
    • (6) it was agreed by all I would be on the contractual agreement
My oldest son was given a copy of the contract on the first day we visited the “new” cemetery – the day before we actually made the decision and the commitment to inter my husband. It was a significant additional expense and I was basically asking both my sons for help with burial assistance due to the debilitating expenses of both my husbands long term medical challenges and the costs incurred with my Mom’s growing care needs and our having used all resources we’d accumulated.

On the second day, when we decided as a family to have the burial at the “new” cemetery, I recall asking my oldest son when he went outside the conference room “to check on the contract’s being ready” if I should go with him and his telling me it wasn’t necessary as he was just checking. Then, when he came back, asking him if there was anything I should do and his answer that nothing was needed at that time and he’d signed the contract. I asked if they needed me to sign and he said it wasn’t necessary.

He lied. Plain and simple. Nothing new. Same problems we experienced when he was younger; same problems we experienced in our relationship with him and also with his wife. You don’t think straight when you’re mourning; when challenges are coming right and left as life throws curve ball after curve ball.

I cannot chose to live with the emotional abuse his ownership of the gravesite provides both me and my daughter. We don’t know which of us might need that site first, daughter or myself; God alone knows.

The law provides no rights to our daughter.. Oldest son and his heirs hold all the rights of internment and monument erection as everything currently stands.

He knew it. He received a copy of the contract and I did not. Again, over a year of medical caregiving and emotional distress with husband’s more than 100 days hospitalized almost all in intensive care/critical intensive care and the ongoing challenges faced by the woman who abused Mom – neither of us were thinking, considering or believing this son, this brother, would abuse us – again.

The Cemetery is owned by the same religious denomination who turned their backs on the abusive situation caused by one of their members; who told us we had to forgive the woman who abused Mom and our family.

What to do? How to regain my rights my oldest son took away and this religious denomination turns their back on remedying? Walk away? Be buried elsewhere? Cremated? The choice is not just for me; the choice also involves my daughter.

We’re deciding.  We’re focused on ending the abuse we’ve endured for almost four years. If we decide to move my husband, the cost will be extensive and there are legal procedures with high costs.

On our forty second anniversary, my husband lay in a hospital bed in critical intensive care. I couldn’t find a card in the hospital gift shop. I saw a child’s “Magic Slate” and wrote a special message I placed it where he could see it:  “Happy 42nd, Darling!  In Sickness and in Health, To Love and To Cherish”.

Now, our oldest son, violates our vows as he changes the words: “Let no man put asunder” the joining together of husband and wife, of my husband and myself, and instead makes even more meaningful the words, “Til Death Do Us Part” as it appears I will be forced to do by my oldest son.

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