23 February 2013 at 7:43 am #1985davidcsParticipant
From the time I can remember, my now 77-year old mother engaged in some form of gambling: bingo, lottery tickets, slots…but, it was very controlled. My parents were debt-free, and lived rather comfortably. They moved to Florida, and occasionally went to the casino together. They had plans to travel around the world in their retirement.
Fast-forward to 2002. My mother suffered a brain aneurysm. She survived. My father, fearing that her time with him was going to be short, took her to the casino as often as she wanted. He gave in to her requests to withdraw more and more money. Soon, my parents — who only had one credit card and paid it off every month — were in major credit card debt, maxing out several of them via cash advances. The house that they both worked so hard to pay off before they retired, now had a mortgage to pay down the credit cards…only to rack them up again with fresh gambling debts. My father tried to close lid of Pandora’s Box, but in the end, he got tired of fighting and arguing and begging her to slow down or stop, and drove her to the casino. I tried to reason with my mother, but there was no reasoning. She didn’t think she had a problem.
On September 9, 2012, my father died from heart failure. While he laid on his deathbed (and everyday while I was there, including the day of his cremation), my mother had the nerve to ask me to take her to the casino. I was furious. I realize now that it was both her addiction and her way of coping, but it doesn’t make me feel any better about it. I helped her complete the paperwork for her survivor’s benefits, as she is functionally illiterate. I thought I was being wise when completing the life insurance paperwork to not have the payout sent by check or deposited into my mother’s bank account, but to leave it a separate account that she would have difficulty accessing, so it would be there when she truly needed it. I was wrong…they sent her checks to draft against that account. Something that my mother conveniently forgot to tell me.
I tried time and again over the next couple of months to talk rationally with her about the rate at which she was going through my father’s life insurance payout. I can’t tell you the number of times she promised to stop going to the casino, or how many times she would tell me “just one more time and that’s the last time”, only to learn that she was back again. She has threatened to commit suicide when her money runs out, which she has threatened to do several other times in the past. Eventually, I just stopped trying to help her, as my love for her is now just resentment, guilt, and frustration. I resigned as her power-of-attorney, as she would not allow me access to try and help her control her funds. I wrote a letter to her doctor expressing my concerns. I stopped calling her. I feel as though I’ve done everything I can to help her, but she refuss any and all assistance. I decided that I don’t want to have anything to do with her until she hits rock bottom, and is truly willing to make a change. The last time I spoke to my mother was December 23, 2012.
Earlier today, I received a call from my neighbor that my mother claims she has no money. She has wiped out that life insurance account. All of her bank accounts are overdrawn. Her one credit card, maxed. Out of desperation, she pawned her jewelry. Instead of using that to buy food to sustain her until her social security and pension checks arrive in about week, she took a taxi service and went to the casino.
I refuse to send her money, but I feel guilty. She’s my mother and even though she makes me so f#@$ing angry, I still care about her well-being. I just don’t know what to do…
David6 March 2013 at 12:10 pm #1986velvetModerator
I just wondered how you were doing.
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