2016-01-18 - 12:59 p.m.
Today I am trying to help my sister find out how to proceed with contacting everyone who needs to be contacted to get the ball rolling on her social security death benefits, survivor benefits, life insurance paper work, etc.
First I'll establish the good: My sister really loved her husband. He petted her and complimented her and rubbed her feet, pretty much every night. She thought he was sweet and she liked the way he talked about her to other people. He bragged about her being his beautiful wife and the best cook ever. He called her numerous times a day (to the point of annoyance), he smothered her with his attention and she had to sleep with his big meaty paw on the top of her head every night. She called it her "sleeping hat". The "hat" business alone would have driven me off the deep end, but she apparently likes that type of thing. There were things about their life that were exactly her fairy tale dream life. Everyone else she'd ever been with treated her like an afterthought, even though she is pretty, sweet, talented, and a money maker. She attracts addicts and addicts can't put anything before their drug of choice. Hence, she's spent her life being an afterthought. He seemed to be lazered in on her to an almost obsessive degree and she ate it up.
Turns out, he was an addict of sorts, too. But his drug of choice was shopping. He had a pathological shopping addiction. My sister is so far in debt it is mind boggling. I've been telling her for 5 years that she MUST set aside money for taxes (she is self employed) and stop him from spending insanely, but she never heeded any warnings. She didn't want to fight with him about his spending. His spending FAR exceeded his earnings and my sister right now owes hundreds of thousands of dollars. While he was recently unemployed he charged up many tens of thousands of dollars worth of unnecessary stuff in her name. Everything is in her name. The truck, hauling trailer, and tractor payments equal $2000 a month that she now owes. That's just 3 of his toys that he bought for himself in her name. There are tons more. She's responsible for 25K in brand new solar panels, an expensive brand new air compressor, assorted power tools, a hauling trailer that was 500 a month, 2 commercial sized greenhouses, thousands of plants, a 50K dollar truck, an irrigation system, on and on and on. Plus he took out one credit card after another and charged them up to the hilt. All in her name. One is 15K and 2 others are 5 & 10 thousand, some are smaller amounts. These are just the cards she knows about. Like, she doesn't even know where the bottom is.
She is overwhelmingly sad and only remembering the good about him, of course, and she wants to sentimentally cling to all his stuff. But she really can't afford to. She can unload that 2K worth of bills right away if she will. She better. They could barely keep their heads above water with both salaries and now his salary is gone. If she doesn't reduce the load, she's going to lose it all. I think she will be sensible after a few days when reality starts to set in. Let's hope.
I'm thinking whatever has to happen, will happen. If she cannot bear to give up his stuff (the source of her problems) then she will lose it all and eventually she will walk away with her clothes, her kid, and her ability to make a large living. She will start over from scratch. That might not be a bad thing. She seems receptive to my help, but we will see if she follows through. He didn't want her to have a separate account for saving up her taxes, so she just... didn't. She knew it was crazy to keep making large purchases, but she would not tell him no. She just rolled over and let him use her name and spend every bit of the money she made, far out into the future. He's been bankrupt twice before and was well on his way to number 3. She is actually bankrupt as it stands, but if she will listen to me, I can re-organize her finances and save the house and land.
She can see his grave from her porch. The church he grew up borders their property and he is in the cemetery right there. If I was her, I'd want to get the Hell out of dodge. I would see the grave site as a painful reminder every day. I hope she comes to the realization that she should sell it and move to a bigger town where she can get a decent internet connection and opportunities for her kids. She could live here and have a much better life. I'm not going to press her for that. It wouldn't be well received at this juncture.
I hope that with a little time she can find herself and be stronger. I hope she learns to protect her own name and run her own business dealings whether she finds a new man or not. You can be in love without letting your beloved ruin you.
Having said all of this, I've been crying about this tragedy and my lost brother who didn't deserve to die even though he does deserve a bit of a beat down for the mess he put my sister in.