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Daughter not allowing my mum to see their dad after horrific accident

(66 Posts)
brownpaperbag2 Thu 16-Jul-15 13:59:23

More of what on earth do I or my mum do?!

My mum and her boyfriend lived together for 27 years, but 3-4 years ago my mum instigated a split and they sold up and each bought a 1 bed flat. Subsequently they got back together, and the last 2 years they have seen each other 2-3 times a week, been on holiday together 4 times etc. he has written letters saying how much he loves her and is so happy she is back in his life.

My mums boyfriend has 2 daughters who didn't like my mum. When they split up the eldest daughter was furious at my mum. My mum and her boyfriend are in their 70s and it was seen as unfair that he lost their 3 bed bungalow with garden to each move into a 1 bed flat. My mum hurt her dad and she can't forgive my mum for it.

Since they have been back together my mums boyfriend has been to our family parties and gatherings. Seen a new grandchild born, been at 50th birthdays etc. however, my mum hasn't been to her boyfriend daughters houses at all. Her boyfriend lived with me from age 12 so he is in all but name my step father, he is very much part of our family.

On Saturday he was cycling along a path and fell off his bike into the road and on coming car. He was air lifted to hospital quite far away to the neurological department. He has a broken neck, spine, ribs etc and a nasty head injury. He is not himself, barely conscious and doesn't know who my mum is. He thinks it is 40 years ago and thinks his youngest daughter is his wife, who he divorced over 30 year ago.

I am praying for a full recovery, physically he should but it will be a while. Mentally we just don't know. Clearly his daughters are very distressed. They have been at his bed side everyday. I don't want to cause more upset for them.

However, their hatred of my mum meant they didn't phone her to let her know and refuse to answer her calls. When they found out his sister, their aunt, was giving mum information, they stopped their aunt from coming to the hospital. It was only when he didn't turn up for a date on Sunday and she called round all his friends and family that she found out.

I took her to the hospital (3.5 hours drive away each way) on Tuesday and we were met with coldness. It was clear they were shocked to see us as they assumed my elderly mum couldn't get to the hospital. They said that only 2 people were allowed round the bed, ie she can't be there. So I gave eacha big hug and said how sorry I was for them and which one should I buy a coffee for to allow mum some time as one of the two allowed.

We phoned the hospital yesterday to be told that the daughters had specifically said that only they could be spoken to over the phone with news. Mum is really upset. I was going to take her to the hospital again tomorrow but she said not to as she couldn't face his daughter distain.

It seems so cruel. I have emailed them saying how sorry I am for their worries and how much their dad means to me and my siblings and we will do all we can to support him and them. I said that I was really pleased that after 27 years they were back to seeing each other again and that in time, once he heals, we should all get together. I basically hoped that seeing it written down that we are also part of his life would soften their stance a bit. Not only that, but once he recovers they will have to explain their behaviour to my mum (his partner). Although I did not say that to them specifically.

Sadly, on top of all this, my father is being treated with chemo for cancer, in a different hospital. It is very stressful and I worry for my mum as well as her boyfriend.

What to do?

brownpaperbag2 Thu 16-Jul-15 14:09:03

Sorry, I hadn't realised how long that would be!

Seriouslyffs Thu 16-Jul-15 14:11:56

It sounds awful and you're bending over backwards to smooth things over.
flowers

myusernamewastaken Thu 16-Jul-15 14:12:21

Thats awful...your poor mum....i'm afraid i don't have any advice as i suppose his daughters are classed as next of kin....how cruel of them to keep your mum away when he needs her the most xx

captainproton Thu 16-Jul-15 14:16:26

Unfortunately I don't think there is much you can do. If unmarried and not sorted out next of kin arrangements then the daughters are automatically next of kin. I know it is not what you want to hear, but seeing as your stepfather cannot remember your mum I am not sure seeing her would make things better or worse. Just support your mum as much as possible I guess. Not much help sorry.

Hassled Thu 16-Jul-15 14:18:05

I don't think there's any more you can do except keep trying to glean what information you can and support your mother as much as possible. It's a hideous situation for you all - I'm sorry.

I was going to suggest you email the consultant/whoever spelling out the 27-year relationship and asking for your mother to be kept informed, but that may well not get you very far - the daughters would be next of kin, presumably. Do your mum and the stepdad have wills which mention next of kin, though? Is there any legal framework whereby it might be transferred/someone else could be named which they might have already sorted out?

ollieplimsoles Thu 16-Jul-15 14:18:12

Oh this is awful, so much water under the bridge with everyone involved. 27 years is a long time to be together, she is definitely part of his life and just because they went through a rocky patch doesn't mean she should be treated this way by his daughters (who are also understandably going through a really rough time). I can't believe that such a grudge would be held over a break up and the loss of a house- was your mum an OW or something?

I think they are being unreasonable but what can you do, everyone is suffering sad

brownpaperbag2 Thu 16-Jul-15 14:19:38

Our view is that as he is not really compus mentus that he isn't actually missing mum. I really hope he recovers mentally as well as physically, and once that starts then my brother, sister and I will bring mum to and from the hospital to allow her to see him. I am worried that his daughters will say that mum and I can't visit at all. Of course, once he is recovered he can speak for himself, but there will be a period of time when it isn't as clear cut.

It is the not knowing how he is. Mum is really suffering which upsets me but I don't want to upset them either over it. I know how hard it is to have a dad in hospital!

I know that if I were to stop my dads partner from seeing him, when he woke up, I would have to explain my actions and I would be in huge trouble with him. I don't think his daughters are thinking it through.

Alanna1 Thu 16-Jul-15 14:22:25

This isn't my area of expertise, but it is an area where you should urgently get some legal advice, but you need someone to help you do it gently and in the right way, I'd have thought. Ultimately this is potentially Court of Protection territory, and how your mum (and you on behalf of your mum) handles it is quite important I'd have thought to how the court looks at it. There is also a risk that older people do not always recover easily from serious accidents. If it was me (and this isn't legal advice - this really isn't my area at all!) I'd think about writing them a nice letter explaining some of what you've said here and how important it is to your mum that she sees her boyfriend and how important it will also be to the boyfriend and asking them to be reasonable and let that happen, despite the problems four years ago and how they might feel about it, what you must both try and do is put the interests of the couple first, and that your mum is very distressed currently about it all. You could suggest you'd be happy to meet with a mediator to discuss it or to discuss it with the local social services, or something like that. I'd also ask and see if the hospital has any resources you can use or tap. But honestly have a look for some specialist advice - I just goggled for you and these are the firms recommended in the Legal 500 for court of protection related work - www.legal500.com/c/london/private-client/court-of-protection

brownpaperbag2 Thu 16-Jul-15 14:24:45

No mum wasn't the other woman. He had split from his wife a few years before mum came in the scene.

I do not know why the daughters don't like my mum. It started waaaaay before they broke up. My mum is a difficult person, I love her but am not blind to her. She thinks she can point out things subtlety, but she can't! So any comments over the 30+ years regarding: weight, house cleanliness, money, etc would have grated - they grate on me and my siblings! But we forgive her as she is our mother.

Of course, that is sumising on my part, I don't know why they don't like her.

Ruledbycatsandkids6 Thu 16-Jul-15 14:26:16

How awful for everyone.

I can see how his dds would dislike your mum after she instigated the break up and the selling of the home after all they must have seen him desperately hurt at the time so naturally they were upset on his behalf.

Some of their behaviour may be down to shock too.

I guess you will just have to see how things pan out and you are doing all you can op.

Good luck to you and wishing him and you all the best.

brownpaperbag2 Thu 16-Jul-15 14:30:52

Thank you Alana. I was all prepared to stick up for mum firmly, but when I got to the hospital their distress was etched on their face and I wouldn't put more pressure on them, it would be morally wrong.

Mum is prepared for him to move into her OAP home and she cares for him should he need it in the future. But in all honesty, I'm not sure she is physically up to the job. She is elderly herself.

If he doesn't come back mentally, it may very well be that mum has to accept that she has to walk away. He may not know who she is! His daughters may well be the correct people to care for him. However, it is all very early days. We just don't know.

MiddleAgedandConfused Thu 16-Jul-15 14:31:57

Surely there is a good argument that seeing your mum will help trigger memories for him? That her presence will aid his recovery? Are his daughters really going to put their grudges before his health? I would explain to the the doctors what is going on - they may well take a view that it is in his best interests medically to see your mum.

brownpaperbag2 Thu 16-Jul-15 14:36:42

I will call or write to his consultant if there is no news by Monday next week. I also think mums presence may help him to remember and the consultant won't have all the information.

brownpaperbag2 Thu 16-Jul-15 14:39:29

To be frank, I am hoping someone may see this thread, recognise the situation and try to talk to his daughters about the situation.

It may be that their friends can softly explain things to them and get through to them.

SylvanianCaliphate Thu 16-Jul-15 15:05:35

No help but it sounds like you are handling this brilliantly, without giving anybody the chance to be upset further.

Good job. flowers

brownpaperbag2 Thu 16-Jul-15 15:13:56

Whilst he is my mums next of kin, I don't think he had a next of kin, or he changed it to his daughters when they split up and hasn't changed it back. Who could have imagined this? He was fit and healthy and had a cycle accident!

I am sure he would want mum to be kept informed and be able to see him in hospital. He would be upset with his daughters over how they have treated my mum and his sister. If he ever recovers, or recovers enough, he will speak to them about it, I am sure. What their answer will be God only knows.

brownpaperbag2 Thu 16-Jul-15 18:41:33

I've just found out mum's boyfriend has had a temperature and has had a bad day. Mum is beyond desperate to see him, but won't go to the hospital for fear of seeing his daughters and them asking her to leave.

Can the daughters do that? Ask someone to leave, even if they aren't causing any trouble? Mum is 75 and bey frail. She looks like a little old lady, which she is.

Isetan Thu 16-Jul-15 19:15:22

I'm not condoning their behaviour but just because you forgive your mother's 'ways' doesn't mean others will. Give it time and let their shock and hurt to subside, if you try and force it you'll probably only harden their feelings about your mother.

I'm sorry this is happening to you and your family.

MadisonMontgomery Thu 16-Jul-15 19:24:28

I would have thought they would be able to refuse to let your mum (or anyone else) see him. Some years ago when my mum was in hospital and unable to give consent I asked the ward not to let anyone else see her or be updated on her condition other than specified family members and this didn't seem to be a problem.

Cherriesandapples Thu 16-Jul-15 19:24:32

I think you need to speak with the ward staff because it is not right that a partner of 27 years cannot see her loved one in hospital. It may be that your mother visits at different times so no contact us made with the daughters. it it is not acceptable to just erase your mother or you from their father's life.

dixiechick1975 Thu 16-Jul-15 19:38:40

I think you and your mum need to speak to matron on ward and flag up that this is occurring. Your mum isn't next of kin but has been his unmarried partner for 37 years. It may impact on his recovery and is important Drs are aware. I'm sure hospital will have seen this scenario before and may be able to assist.

dixiechick1975 Thu 16-Jul-15 19:39:12

Sorry 27 years.

Toobusytowee Thu 16-Jul-15 20:11:42

I used to be an ICU nurse and saw this type of scenario all the time. Who gets to visit a patient is not decided by the next of kin, it is decided by the nurses caring for them. If the nurses decide that your mum is an important person in your step dad's life, they will allow a visit. They look at the situation from the patient's point of view, not the NOK.

If you can speak to the ward manager or the nurse in charge when you ring you can explain the situation. If they knew all the facts they could decide you are allowed to visit or at least be given information over the phone.

We used to give time slots to warring relatives so that different factions of the family could visit without meeting each other. The nurses will have seen this sort of thing many times before and will be able to help you find a solution.

WhoNickedMyName Thu 16-Jul-15 20:18:01

Sounds like the daughters are going through an extremely distressing time, and their relationship with your mother is very different to your relationship with their father. By your own admittance it hasn't been good for a long while and your mother can be a difficult person by the sound of things, with comments about weight, house cleanliness, money, etc. Just because you brush her behaviour off, doesn't mean others will.

You seem to be doing a great job as mediator and your contact with them sounds well thought out. If this gentleman believes he's woken up 30 odd years ago then it may well be distressing for him to have your mother visit and in all honesty I'd leave things as they are for a day or two but keep the lines of communication open with the daughters without pressuring them about visits.

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