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my mother lived a double life

Discussion in 'Christian Advice' started by Persis, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. Persis

    Persis Titus 3:4-7

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    ** CAUTION: LONG POST **

    My mother, a widow, in her later years met a man, a widower, of the same age, and they became a couple for 15 years. The man wanted to keep the relationship a secret because he did not want the church people to gossip about them, since they were living together. From what I understand my mother and he never had sexual relations, but were just companions; helping each other out etc. My mother consented to the idea. As well, her friend also wanted to keep her secret in his own house from his own neighbors. He didn't want anyone to know and to gossip. So my mother was never allowed out of the house seen.

    At some point with them both aging, my mother acquired a stroke and she could not longer walk without a walker. Up until this time, my mother usually drove to church on her own, and he drove on his own, too. After the stroke my mother could not longer go by herself, as she had her driver's license cancelled. For most of the 5 years minimum following, her friend regularly did not take her to church. First he did not want to be seen with her as they were still hiding the relationship, and second, he was embarrassed to take her as she was no longer beautiful and her posture had deteriorated quite badly. In the same vein this is when they stopped dancing, as well. How much this hurt my mother! She had so much sorrow.

    Through all the years of their relationship I had to also participate in keeping their relationship a secret, too. Her friends, a small and close amount, would call or visit the house, and I was supposed to lie about why she wasn't here, where she was, or who she was staying with. I was my mother's caregiver on and off, and at that time she was living predominently with her friend. It came to the point for me that I didn't answer the door and I didn't answer the calls because I did not want to lie for them. As a result of this 'arrangement' my mother lost a tremendous amount of her connection to the church and to her friends. It was her choice.

    I remember one incident perfectly when one day my mom did call up one of the friends that had left a message. She didn't have much time to spend before she was to go back to her friend's house again. Anyhow, I remember hearing my mom lamenting sorrowfully about how she couldn't go to church; that she had nobody would drive her; that she couldn't get there alone etc.. I remember the friend naturally feeling so sorry for her (although not offering a ride) asking why I couldn't do it, and my mom said that I was too busy, or that I hadn't given her the message. It was after then that I had a serious conversation with my mom about how this was affecting me, and how I won't let her use me helping to keep her secrecy.

    As her passing away last week, and funeral reception yesterday, I had two of her closest friends come up to me and say how sad it was she never called them back. One was crying and one was obviously very upset. They looked to me to blame. I could see it in their eyes of accusation. I did not say anything because although I saw this was coming, I was still a bit shocked, as the Pastor reassured me with 100% enthusiasm that *everybody* in the church knew and it wasn't a secret at all. But when I talked to this one friend of my mothers who stated that nobody every answered the door.. I told her outright that my mom was not home, as she was living with her friend. She was perhaps my mother's best friend for several years, and I know her, and she knew about my mom and her friend. So I am not sure why she looked so blank when I said that my mom was living with her friend. I felt more open to say that only only because she did know (she went out with them as 2 couples all the time) and also the Pastor had reassured me there was no secret.

    I cannot forget these ladies faces, and them knowing I was the one who prevented their friendships with my mom. I feel a need to resolve this issue, and for them to understand what really happened. Since my mother's friend is still living, and since it was his will, shouldn't he be the one to talk to them? Since he is still living perhaps he can make them feel a bit better that it wasn't about them. I think though my mom in the end knew how much it hurt her, it wasn't like she didn't know earlier, but things turned more sour between her and her friend in the last year and she started to resent him and was bitter at his very controlling ways (ie. he never allowed her to buy the food she wanted even though she paid with her own money).

    My problem is that I feel like I am taking responsibility for something that is not mine to carry and i am looking for a resolution. There could be several options of different natures I can take, and I have them in my mind, but instead of listing them, maybe I can ask anyone who wants to respond, what they think I should do. I'm looking for a healthy solution. Whatever the solution, I will pray for forgiveness all around, and to be able to move on from here.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
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  2. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    Pray, forgive, be truthful and move on.
     
  3. Persis

    Persis Titus 3:4-7

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    In what ways would you recommend that I be truthful? thanks
     
  4. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    With your mother's friends. Invite them for coffee and explain to them you were only being secretive out of respect for your mother's wishes. That you did not have any misgivings about them seeing your mother.
     
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  5. Persis

    Persis Titus 3:4-7

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    OK. It could mar their opinion about my mom and it may be worse for her friend who still attends that church. But that is where the reponsibility lies.
     
  6. mkgal1

    mkgal1 His perfect way sets me free. 2 Samuel 22:33 Supporter

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    I agree - that's where the responsibility for the lie *should* be (on him, not you).

    I'm sorry for your loss - and for all the heart ache you went through because of all of this (and are STILL going through). I think it would be kind to - and maybe even help your mom's friends grief - to let them know your mom didn't wish to distance herself from them - it sounds as if she was pretty dependent on her "friend" and that he controlled her life.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
  7. christine40

    christine40 Well-Known Member

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    sorry for your loss!

    it was on your mom to tell the truth
    it's not your truth to tell


    if you run into the friends again, just be polite and say hi, no need for more
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
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  8. Persis

    Persis Titus 3:4-7

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    Ok, thank you for your view! My mom actually couldn't call her friends because she lived with her friend close to full - time. She could not call them from his house or they would see where she was calling from and recognize his number. She did not have a cell either. It was a great sorrow for her esp. in the later years, but she chose her loyalty to her friend. Afterall, he did take care of her and did help her. So he had some great qualities, even though I think they were really like oil and water. But that was not my say as she was an adult. His cruelty and controlling were very dark though, and he never acknowledged them to be so, and remained unrepentant to the day my mom died. For some woman that just one factor would have made them leave. I suppose we all will have regrets in our life, and through writing about it I feel like I will let my mom be responsible for her mistakes even though I was involved, as I will need the strength and the courage to have the responsibility to have my own regrets in life. I can only carry so much.
     
  9. mina

    mina Brown Eyed girl

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    I am very sorry for your loss. You were not the one that prevented any friends from maintaining a friendship with your mother. She did that. She chose to not be honest with them and hide from them. I agree that if you run into them again, just be polite and nice, but they don't need a back story from you. If they want to ask questions, then you should answer them.
     
  10. LoricaLady

    LoricaLady YHWH's Supporter

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    The friends are the problem. They are trying to put you on a guilt trip - if you are reading them right. They are not acknowledging the obvious, that you were not ultimately responsible for your mother's behavior. The responsibility was hers. It sounds like your mother was in a controlling relationship where logical thinking and self motivation can deteriorate. Still, it was not your responsibility to make vital decisions for your mother.

    Again, if you are reading the friends right, well, maybe they are grieving and not thinking too clearly. Who knows, maybe they feel some guilt that they didn't reach out, themselves, and try to help your mother more. Whatever, really their feelings are not your responsibility either. If they don't want to hear your side, should you care to share it, they won't.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  11. Gracia Singh

    Gracia Singh Newbie Supporter

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    The responsibility to be frank was with your mother, and her friend. Not you. Please, don't feel guilty. If you want to sit down and explain the situation to her friends, that might help.

    Maybe, if they ask, tell them. If they don't, let it go. And if everyone knew that they had an arrangement, anyway, that makes it even less in any way your fault. This was a sad and embarrassing difficulty between friends. Not your fault.
     
  12. Redwingfan9

    Redwingfan9 Member

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    I'm completely lost as to why this had to remain a secret for 15 years, particularly towards the end. My grandmother had a long time friend who would come on the weekends and stay the night. He didn't sleep in her room, he slept in another bedroom. The only reason he stayed is because he couldn't move around well (neither could she at that point) and couldn't drive at night. No one really cared, they were a couple of old people eating dinner together and watching television.

    In any event, you participated in this unnecessary deception and probably should say something to your mothers friends. It wouldn't be out of left field to apologize to them, with the explanation that you were abiding by your mother's wishes.
     
  13. Grumman Tomcat

    Grumman Tomcat The LORD is my Pilot Staff Member Supervisor Supporter

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