8/17 The Book of August

In 1995 Mom and Dad wrote wills assigning all of their property and assets into trusts.  When we sat at the attorney’s table, mom, dad, The spider and I, it was  before I recognized her as the spider.  Before it became obvious what she was after.  At that point I was still very naïve for my 45 years.  When asked by their attorney who they wanted for power of attorney for property and healthcare they declared me.  I hadn’t expected this.  I don’t know what I thought–I guess I hadn’t thought it through that someone would have to be named to do that.  I saw the look of shock and hurt on The spider’s face.  She apparently had expected they would pick her because she was older and it had been her idea to place the assets into a trust to save taxes.  I said I didn’t really want to take care of someone else’s money and besides didn’t have time, what with struggling to make a living as an artist.  The spider spoke up and said “Oh I’ll do it.  It’ll be fun.”

Dad died a couple of years later and mom had a stroke the following year (1998).  That is when The spider started keeping mom’s records, handling her finances,  keeping her checkbook, etc.,  I didn’t pay much attention and our eldest sister lived far away.  By the end of 2000 it was obvious that something was terribly wrong.  By then mom was addicted to Vicodin and having panic attacks.  She was afraid living in her mobile home and wanted to go elsewhere.    The spider continued to give her Vicodin.  The Spider said she couldn’t afford to leave.  When confronted with why that would be, as she’d had about $800,000 in cash assets when dad died, she refused to provide any information about mom’s finances.

My older sister, The “actress”, came home, helped me find an assisted living center for mom and her poodle Muffin.  The spider was removed as power of attorney and I was unhappily given that role but mom’s assets and will were not changed, leaving everything evenly to the three of us.  Mom’s attorney helped us turn the trust over to a bank for handling.  I didn’t have access to any of her assets which made me happy and I thought should assuage others. Mom was very happy in her new home.  She felt safe, she wasn’t paranoid anymore and everyone in the family was free to see her and be a part of her life.

But I had torn apart The spider’s web and so she set to work rebuilding it.  She had already convinced my mom’s favorite sister from Arkansas that I was after mom’s money.  Until the fall of 2000, I had never had any trouble with any of mom’s family.  But a word here, a lie there, an exaggeration of this or that and it’s easy to scare an old woman especially when she’s depressed and hallucinating on vicodin.  And even easier to twist the perception in the head of someone living out-of-state, that’s not too bright to begin with.  So BABS as I’m fond of calling her after she babbled through our family, thinking she knew what was going on all the while seeing herself as some matriarch savior, just became The spider’s unwitting tool.  Mom had always told BABS that I was the one she could depend on, I was honest and trustworthy.  But never mind any of that–because now The spider was gabbing with BABS about how Sharon could barely make ends meet as an artist and Sharon needed mom’s money so she wouldn’t have to get a real job.  Nevermind that by the year 2000 I was paying more in taxes than she ever had.  Well to be fair though, her income was always unreported.

So when they got done spinning the story, Mom is a prisoner in assisted living with me keeping the gate.  In truth, The spider and her family didn’t want to go visit her.  They awaited until the time was ripe for causing more mayhem.  So 3 years passed peacefully.  Mom missed them, but she was afraid The spider would cause trouble if she came around.  When she called me crying in the summer of 2004 saying The spider (of course she didn’t call her this, and neither did I back then–not until mom died) wanted to come see her.  I assured her that there wouldn’t be any trouble (wishful thinking) and said to her that she surely didn’t want to end her life not having a relationship with one of her children.

So what followed was the most ludicrous turn of events.  After The spider’s return coupled with BABS clucking around, I was confronted with mom telling me to just go ahead and do it???? What is it?  “Kill me if you’re going to.”  This  was followed by all kinds of accusations, insults on both sides and threats, and a plot by The spider to secretly move mom out of the assisted living care center and into her “home”.  By then mom was anxious to go since I was apparently paying the staff to poison her with the money I had stolen from her with the help of the banker that I was evidently sleeping with.  Actually I’m having a little too much fun now….I’ll try to be good.

So that was when I really learned the hard story of family relationships gone wrong.  When there is money involved, there is always someone that can’t get enough.  I learned that some people aren’t above intentionally scaring old people.  And old people are easy to scare, really easy.  Like babies easy.   And when there’s jealousy involved it amounts to throwing grease on a flame.  And when there’s a family history of abuse also, well it’s like handling mercury.

With things spinning out of orbit I accepted the advice of the “actress” and hired an attorney to file for guardianship of my mom.  That’s how crazy a family situation can get–and this amongst three sister’s whom I thought until 4 years before, had only minor issues with each other.  So now I’m asking to be the guardian for the woman that now thinks I only care for her money (I heard BABS tell her that) and whose feelings I had to hurt by trying to have her declared incompetent in order to do the very job she asked me to do since 1995 which was to protect her health and well-being by making decisions for her when she wasn’t capable of making the best ones for herself.  The attorney that The spider hired to represent mom told mom that given a choice between chocolate and vanilla ice cream, she would have to eat the flavor I said.  That’s not a metaphor–he actually used that as an example.

Temporary guardianship granted.  The judge gave orders for everything to remain status quo and then the circus began.  During the next 9 months while we were awaiting trial The spider with BABS clucking along, broke countless rules and laws.  There were illegal documents presented, attempts to tamper with mom’s medications, her doctor was changed to someone that wouldn’t speak to me, dangerous tests ordered which were unnecessary and put her at additional risks, bullying of staff.  I had the legal obligation to protect her, but those surrounding her now daily would not play by the rules.  It’s like gorilla warfare.  They keep jabbing at you, and sneaking up behind you and tormenting, until you start acting like them.  Like the day when in utter frustration, trying to get mom to agree to go see her physician of the past 4 years and whom she had only had one complaint about so that he could give her a brief physical and reorder her meds.  But no, she couldn’t do that because The spider wanted her to see the doctor whom The spider’s daughter worked for that wrote her a letter to mom’s bank in 2001 stating that Helen Basler was Hazel’s daughter and POA and that he thought Helen had handled mom’s finances well in the past and that they shouldn’t allow mom to have access to her own bank deposit box.  Oh, yeah……think about it. So as the conversation evolved or actually dissolved to the point where I can’t get this woman-mom-child to understand logic, I got more irrational myself and in a moment of anger and hurt and utter frustration I reminded her of how she had suddenly started treating Robin like a nigger back in 1999 when he was doing work for her for free, just out of respect for her and me and to keep his promise.  And then right after The sider had no influence, she loved being around Robin again.  But what it amounted to was me yelling at my elderly and feeble mom to try to get her to listen to me.  No different than what The spider did–except for the motives.

It’s very difficult to prove some one is so incompetent as to need a guardian and it was my word against, mom, The spider, BABS and a hotshot attorney.  Despite the fact that mom’s attorney of 10 years testified with me, along with mom’s physician of 4 years, the director of the facility and the “actress” we didn’t prevail.  We were not allowed to bring up any past history, which is key to understanding how elder abuse works.   So at wit’s end, during the trial I asked the judge to name someone outside the family as her guardian.

The judge decided no guardian and said that mom had expressed a desire to remain in her apartment at Big Muddy with Muffin and he stated that the trust work done by her long time attorney was appropriate.  I laughed to myself, because I knew none of that was happening.

When the judge made his decision in October of 2005, mom’s  hearing was not very good and her hearing aids didn’t help that much with her kind of hearing loss, so she was reluctant to wear them.  She was blind in one eye and had poor sight in the other eye.  However she could  walk with a walker, lived in her own apartment with her dog, walked 3 times daily to the dining room for meals, saw the hairdresser once a week and was always clean and tidy.  Within 3 months she had an elective surgery because as one of my aunts told me, mom was afraid that if she didn’t have the surgery she’d end up in a wheel chair.  Of course she ended up wheelchair bound after the surgery until she died.  She was moved out of her apartment while she was still hospitalized in January.  Her whereabouts was kept secret.  Doctors, nurses and nursing home staff were all told by The spider to not acknowledge to me or the “actress” of her presence in their facility and when I found her on occasions they refused to answer even the simplest questions about her condition.

If you know anything about the elderly, you probably know that they get very disoriented in unfamiliar places.  Aside from being in the hospital, she was moved (that I know of) to 3 different nursing homes  in the area in the 6 months before she died of failure to thrive.  That’s what her death certificate says.  Nothing could be more truthful.

And what was all of that for?  Gain of money and revenge.  As far as I officially knew when mom died, the will that I held could be filed and was legal.  My attorney wanted me to file it, but I knew that was useless, I knew I had been removed as POA–I had been notified of that shortly after the judge’s ruling.  But I also knew unofficially that there would be a new will heavily favoring The spider.  Would I be cut out entirely?–most probably because I was certain that She wanted everything.  Or would I be penalized for the guardianship–for putting mom through that humiliation.  For causing her more stress.  For asking that my attorney fees would be paid for trying to protect her.  The judge granted me that–evidently he didn’t see my concerns as unfounded.  Mom was mad that she had to pay my $15000 in attorney fees.  (better send that to the Department of Corrections to check out that exact figure)

On August 14, 2006, two weeks after mom died a new will was filed at the courthouse.  My attorney had been checking daily evidently.  I wanted to see it.  I didn’t want to see it.  On August 17 I found my way into the courthouse.  Robin waited in the car for me.  I felt embarrassed asking the clerk for a copy of Hazel Jolly’s will.  I waited while she found it, copied it.  As her hand slid it across the counter, my eyes magneted down on the 3 lines that mattered.  It was under Article 1 Introduction.  I am the widow of Ralph D. Jolly.  I have three children now living, namely  CAROLE CHILIMIDOS, HELEN BASLER, and SHARON MATUSIAK.  I intend by this Will to provide for HELEN BASLER, and TO MAKE NO PROVISION FOR MY OTHER TWO CHILDREN.    (caps were in the text of the document on file in the Williamson County Courthouse, Marion, IL)

I didn’t get what I expected.  I expected to be cut out of the will–I was prepared for that.  After all that had happened–most especially after the scene at the hospital and the head injury, I knew mom’s quick demise was important….Why? To prevent the discovery of the contents of the new will before she died.  What I didn’t expect was to be gutted.  I guess I thought it would read something like, I’m leaving everything I have to my daughter Helen Basler.  It was the cruelty of adding NO PROVISION FOR MY OTHER TWO CHILDREN, and we were named above.  It was like throwing salt in an open wound.

But what I really wasn’t prepared for was how deeply it hurt to see in writing my mother’s rejection even though I knew it was caused by manipulation.  And it was my own flesh and blood sister whom I loved that worked to gain that benefit.  It was a wound through the bowls and the back right to the soul.

My moms’ signature on her last will, dated 9 months to the day before I first saw it.

will signature

2 Responses to “8/17 The Book of August”

  1. Dear Sharon,

    Oh wow, what a nightmare. I knew that you had put up with a lot of crap during that time, but had no idea just how bad it had been. I really hurt for you because I see what Johnny’s going through and I know how painful it is to have a family member treat you like this. It’s like having your heart ripped out. I think the worst part for him are the lies being spread about him. Sometimes I want to take out a front page ad and tell his side of the story!!!

    Peace, Love & Joy,


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