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Coach Jen K.
Coach Jen K., LCSW, CPC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1809
Experience:  Licensed Master Social Worker. Certified Life Coach
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Hi. My husband recently passed away in an auto accident. Very sudden. He left behind 2

Customer Question

Hi. My husband recently passed away in an auto accident. Very sudden. He left behind 2 sons (18 and 13) who live with their borderline mom (his ex-wife) We have suffered and stressed over this situation for the 4 years we were married. She cannot take adequate care of the boys (doesn't drive, work, on ssi, a child herself) but wouldn't allow my husband and me to step in. There had been county involvement, lawyers, therapists, etc. and we still couldn't get her to agree to change the situation, yet she held him responsible for not being there to take care of everything all the time. We had to live blocks away from them just so we could be close enough to intervene if needed. He was constantly on call, and now he's had some sort of medical issue behind the wheel, crashed and is now deceased. Now the ex wants to be my best friend, even though before I was disinvited to meetings, ignored, and trampled over as a person. I can't do it. She will, no doubt, keep the boys from me on
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Coach Jen K. replied 2 years ago.

CoachJenK :

Hi. Welcome. I am a Licensed Master Social Worker with more than 20 years experience working with individuals and families on a variety of issues.

CoachJenK :

I am so sorry for the sudden and tragic loss of your husband. my prayers for healing are sent to you.


 

CoachJenK :

Are you in contact with the boys?


 

CoachJenK :

I will wait for you to come online so we can talk.


 

Customer:

I have both boys' cell numbers and communicate with them as much as possible. There is always intervention and approvals necessary... They are so devoted to their mom, despite the fact that she did everything humanly possible to divide them from their father. I believe the botXXXXX XXXXXne is that she never got over him...and resented the fact that he moved on... He did not divorce her until a year prior to our marriage (more than 7 years....) we dated 4 years prior to our marriage and were married 4 years prior to his death. He dated other people prior to me. She was spreading all sorts of stuff at the funeral service, and hasn't a kind word to say about him even now. I'm just staying positive whenever she starts with her criticisms, I just bring up positive things he did for the kids. he really really went above and beyond for those kids. I always took the last seat with him...kids first, then sister and brother, and then pets, job, things, house, everything before me...I'm so angry at her, at him, and whatever took him and left me with all these unresolved feelings...if i only had one more hour with him...but he wasn't the most open, communicative person, and sort of kept me separate from the situation with her and with the kids...so what should I do now? They need someone to watch for them, to make sure they have what they need...The county has been involved in the past, but the case is now closed. I just keep telling myself that he could not affect change while he was here and living, and i can't either now that he's gone... what do you think? what should my role be? These kids would come into this house and not even treat me like a human being...now they're all over it because of the $$ and because they have no one else.

Customer:

He paid her nearly $2,000 ever month in child support, which she used to pay the mortgage. The boys' showed up often with no clothes, and often had to call neighbors and other friends to get them to bring them dinner because she was too nauseated to cook...We often didn't know what was going on over there. They were very protective of her, of their situaiton, and we could always tell when something was up because they would be really quiet and not talk and just stayed in their rooms... In addition to the child support, he fully funded 2 college prepaid tuition plans for both of them, paid all their medical bills, and bought them anything and everything they could imagine they wanted. It was all about the boys for him. Ultimately, they ran him into the ground. He wouldn't accept help from me, and she wouldn't allow it...The boys would call and want to go to a friends house and he would literally bag up our dinner out and run to go get them... what a life, eh?

CoachJenK :

very tough spot. I think what you need to do now is to focus on you and your needs and whatever that is around this very tough place is how you should proceed. You may need some time away from it all before you can fully know what you need around this but I agree that the boundaries should be maintained as that is what is most helpful for you.


 

Customer:

Thanks for listening. i'm a mess and just don't know what to do. He left all this $$ to me, expecting me to give it to them, and now I even get stuck with the gift tax on that money because of the way he did it. i just don't understand why he was so myopic in terms of the kids and I was just an add on...someone to help him keep the lifestyle he wanted, someone who could bring income to the situation and basically reimburse for the money he had to spend on the kids.


 


 

CoachJenK :

I feel for you. I wouldnt make any quick decisions....you need to slow it all down so you can think clearly about it all


 

Customer:

My entire life has been wiped. marriage, kids, I have to move out of this house because of course, he never put me on the deed, and now even my job is changing. i could not compete for my own job in a new merged organization because of all this stress...so now I'll lose my director's position and just go to being a staff advisor... i have nothing left except all this mess to clean up. And SHE wants to know whether i'll be her "friend", meaning whether I'll cart her around, clean up her messes, be an advocate for her with the county, and take care of all the dirty work with the boys while she gets to remain mother supreme... ugh


 

CoachJenK :

ugh is right....time for you now and only you.


 

CoachJenK :

that is all you can do right now and what is absolutely necessary


 

Customer:

I told her that I didn't know whether we could ever be friends...whether that could ever happen. there's been so much water under the bridge, and I know I'm not there now and doubt I ever could be. I was brutally honest with her, but I know if I definitively tell her I can't stand her, she'll keep the boys from me forever...which might be an OK thing too. The 18 year old is falling in the same game, calling me whenever something needs to be done...car registration, buying books for school, etc...

CoachJenK :

I think you are on the right track with keeping some very tight boundaries


 

Customer:

Her dad lives with them... It took me 3 days of calling to set a time and date to take the 13 year old to dinner... and another 2-3 days of calling to set up a birthday dinner for the 18 year old. I guess I just need to move on and let them set the tone for the relationship... I'll be glad to get my move over this week and get away from this house, this neighborhood, and put some distance.

Customer:

Thanks... any other advice? i've tried the widow net chat groups, but not much good for the issues I'm dealing with. Everyone else is into making the husband into a saint and just grieving that loss. I'm grieving the loss of what could have been but probably never would have been.

CoachJenK :

yes as bad as it all is right now i do feel hearing all of it that once you do move on you will feel freer and much clearere on things


 

CoachJenK :

my strongest suggestions are all about you and honoring what you need and all of it is okay. I do think once these changes are made you will get relief


 

Customer:

On top of that, his brother has been talking to the boys, telling them they need to get a copy of the will and make sure I'm doing the right thing...JenK, I'm doing everything humanly possible to make sure those boys are taken care of...even at my own cost and liability...I went back to the brother and told him so and that i resented him implying to the kids that anything other than that was happening....he denied having said anything to them...


I resent that people are looking over my shoulder to see whether I'm doing the right thing when i'm going above and beyond to be sensitive, to make sure they get every item from the house that it theirs or their dad's or their grandparents'...and all of it even costing me money, time, energy at a time when my resources are so low... I paid every penny for the funeral and no one offered to help...I packed each and every item from their rooms and took the boxes over and the movers will deliver their furniture on Friday at cost to me...and I made sure they were whole in the $$ he left, even though the markets had diminished the accounts, and there was a tax liability that had to be paid... I just am insulted at the way they are all behaving.

Customer:

there was no will, and his estate is insolvent because the house is so far underwater plus a second mortgage and a couple of credit cards..there is nothing in the estate...so I'm left to deal with angry creditors while they all question everything and sit back and do nothing....

CoachJenK :

it is horrific but it sounds like they are behaving the same way as they have always behaved...you have gone above and beyond and now it is time for you. not them


 

Customer:

Thanks. I'm going to try to switch my focus, once this move is complete. Just wondering how best to deal with the exwife... Should i not return her many emails/calls and just respond when the boys call?

Customer:

should I even try and keep things congenial, or should I just ignore all of it and move on?

CoachJenK :

I think you should respond if it is helpful to you and what you need or to achieve your goal whatever it may be at that time. If we only focus on what you need at any given moment then those questions are easy to answer once they come up....does that make sense?


 

Customer:

Yes....that makes sense. Thanks for listening. Sorry for the anger. i guess it will get better eventually. I just feel she robbed me of any real marriage and time with him, and now she's robbed me of him too. He couldn't set the boundaries, and she and the kids just ran him into the ground... They think he had a heart attack or stroke behind the wheel which is what caused the accident... He was totally exhausted and stressed over the situation with the ex and the boys...but couldn't say no, and couldn't allow me in enough to help him.

CoachJenK :

no apologies....I feel for what you are going through. do not allow her to continue the cycle and run you into the ground.


 

CoachJenK :

Free yourself and live for you.


 

CoachJenK :

your loss is tragic and it is a turning point for you now.


 

Customer:

I just wish I could find some sign of how he really felt about me. There are no emails or notes to anyone about us and I found nothing but some evidence of some interest from and in this younger woman at work. (exchange of expensive gifts, txt messages saying that they "missed" each other, and a photo of her in a skimpy dress on his computer drive.) He was not wearing his wedding ring the day of the accident and I was out of town for that week...

Customer:

He met this woman and her mom for lunch on the day I left on my trip...He also met the ex and she tried to get him to have "us" buy her house (the one she just had to have in the divorce years before).

CoachJenK :

i am so sorry for you to know and feel what you do. It is torture for you to go through this.


 

Customer:

I just wish I knew for sure what was going on with him and how he really felt. I had emmersed myself in my career and my own friends, trying to have some degree of separation from all the stress, and all the drama, and the pain I was going through with having a husband who wasn't really present for me at all.

CoachJenK :

I believe he cared and loved you and whatever his failings were had nothing to do with you


 

CoachJenK :

and now you get to feel free and removed from it all


 

Customer:

Now, I have nothing left. My parents both died a few years back, and one of my brothers. i have one brother left who is very distant and going through his own pain of losing a 24 year old son 5 years ago. I also have a son who is 24 and sort of distant...I guess it's just a fresh start all the way around...so how do I build a new life at 52?


 

Customer:

I just can't see the other side of all this yet.

CoachJenK :

i know and you dont have to...let me be your guide and rely on my words that things will ease up and you will be free and able to rebuild a life. 52 is young and you have all the time now to make it about you. Feel the freedom


 

Customer:

OK. i will try.


Thanks for your help.

CoachJenK :

it is my pleasure. Please come to me anytime you need support. i am here.


 

Customer:

I'm looking forward to moving back into my own little house at the end of the week, so that will certainly be a break I need from things on this side of town. lol I am very fortunate to have alot of supportive caring friends in the area, and back at home in MS as well. So, in some ways, I'm a luck gal, I guess.

Customer:

Thanks for your help on all of this. Sorry to enundate you with so much all at once. It's alot I know.

CoachJenK :

exactly....that is the spirit that I knew was in you....stay with that feeling and live your life....live your best life and you get to design it now!!


 

Customer:

Have a good evening, and thanks for your help!

Coach Jen K., LCSW, CPC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1809
Experience: Licensed Master Social Worker. Certified Life Coach
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Coach Jen K.
Coach Jen K.
Social Worker, Professional Coach
648 Satisfied Customers
Licensed Master Social Worker. Certified Life Coach