Tuesday, June 10, 2003

just when i thought life was sweet. nearly empty nesters, my husband and I had thoughts of a vacation house in the woods and a few summer trips. of course, the first obstacle to peace in mid-life was the arrest of our daughter, the community activist and political artist, for feeding the would-be protesters of bio-genetically altered foods (see the Post-Dispatch, search the site for "protests"). then, daughter no. 2 called to say that at 19 she had accepted a proposal of marriage from the young man she's dated for a year but plans to wait until she graduates in three years to marry him. considering, she may never pass college math, it could be a LONG engagement.

When one reaches middle-age, the forty mark, if one started one's family at a young age (22), the children are out of the house but the parents are reaching the dementia stage. yet, the one surely to go crazy dealing with it all is YOU. that is ME. Last week, my mom (76) fell in her kitchen and broke the top of her femur below the hip. Twenty-four hours later she was having it put back together in surgery at a hospital not conveniently located to my house. She has a cockatiel named Sam and a house filled with more junk than the Smithsonian. Between Sam, wading thru the junk to find medical cards, paying bills etc, and staying at the hospital as much as possible i had very little time to get anything else done. The pain meds they had her on caused halucinations and when a person is 76 it all just seems like senility. And then i found her financial statements from her investment broker with a national firm (let's just call it EFG). And what to my wondering eyes did appear was that my mother, usually a savvy and conservative spender, had loaned tons of money from her life savings to a man that had once worked for EFG and had been my parent's investment advisor when my father was alive (he died in '97). The shyster pays NO interest to my mother for this loan. She pays $1000 a month interest on this loan. He didn't borrow it all at once. But little by little he came back for more. I think he actually has blank check of some sort that allow him to just tap into the well whenever he wants. He's been careful not to take too much at any one time. She thinks her dividends have dropped because of the stock market. They've dropped because she is paying the interest and her principle has been depleted. WE are talking a total loss of over $400,000. That's it. That's dad's retirement fund that he'd saved and invested to protect them and care for them in their old age. And now with a broken hip, she needs to be taken care of by professionals. Her arthritic knees made it difficult, and at times nearly impossible, to walk. So, now with the hip into the equation, I have little hope for her rehab and walking well ever again. Emotionally she will be devastated. This man has broken a trust. I have a significant fear that she won't believe her attorney when he comes to explain it all to her in the "skilled nursing facility" where she is getting rehab. I can't even believe it. I do believe that this shyster is capable of ripping off weak, elderly people like my mom. I can't believe she fell for it. The fall in the kitchen is nothing compared the fall she's made from wealthy widow to pennyless cripple.

None of these events is really happening to me. Truly, they are happening to people in my life, but not actually to MY life, to me. I can walk, I wasn't arrested, I have a home, my savings, my husband, my children and my mother. What I am affected by is the fallout from what's happening to them. Well, okay, there is that small point of my doctor suspecting that I have glaucoma, but we aren't really sure about that, yet. I sit in the early morning, listening to the rain, and I wonder when did life become so difficult? Life really would be easy if we'd all stop making it so difficult.

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