My husband, our seven-year-old son, and I have lived in a quiet neighbourhood for ten years. Last April, my mother came to live with us after losing a second leg to diabetes.
In June, my husband was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin disease (lymph system cancer).
I have the help of a personal support worker on Mondays and my in-laws on Thursdays. As a family, we’re still functioning well.
However, we live in an area of mostly seniors, who keep very neat yards. Formerly, I also took huge pride in our front yard and flower gardens while my husband maintained our backyard.
We also have a pool. Nearby neighbours benefited from fresh veggies and swims (grandchildren included).
This summer has been different. I cut the lawn as needed, but haven’t touched a flower. Our front yard isn’t immaculate, but it isn’t overgrown. We planted a smaller veggie garden (not enough to share).
Only family and close friends use our pool as I haven’t the energy to directly supervise neighbours’ children, which would be necessary.
I told my neighbours about my husband and mom. No one offered help. Over the summer, we received anonymous notes ranging from silly, to pathetic, rude, and downright mean.
The worst one says that we must hire a landscaper or move, and expresses the wish that my husband would lose his battle and die so my son and I would move.
I’ve kept most of the notes in case this should escalate. Meanwhile, everyone is kind to my face, and I’ve shown these notes to everyone who live close by.
How do I get these notes to stop? I have enough on my plate and can no longer laugh this off.
Those notes may legally qualify as harassment and hate mail, should you need an official response through a lawyer or police. So, keep them all.
Meanwhile, instead of being overwhelmed by even the thought of outdoor chores, consider hiring a responsible student or healthy retiree wanting work at a basic hourly wage to keep the lawn neat. As for the vegetables and pool, you owe no one these perks now.
I suspect it may be only one or two nasty people or mean pranksters (not necessarily neighbourhood seniors) who’ve had the outrageous gall to send these notes.
But if they continue, contact your local neighbourhood association, and/or your municipal councillor to ask what initial steps can be taken to stop them.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman whose fiancé moved in with her and her daughter, 19 (Oct. 2):
Reader - “He didn’t make any attempts to form a relationship with her daughter.
“She then moved out to live with her father and
the fiancé still did nothing to help connect with her.
“I suggest that this mother get out of the relationship with him as soon as she can. He has no regard for her family.
“She’ll be constantly heart-broken because of the alienation he’ll cause between her and her daughter.
“I finally just ended a 17-year relationship because my spouse didn’t care about his family or mine.
“He resented my children whenever they’d visit. He wanted me to ask his permission to invite them for dinner.
“When someone’s that controlling and non-committal to other family, there will be other issues. You’ll just continue to have your heart broken over and over again as I did. Get him out now.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the husband with terminal brain cancer who refuses caregiving from anyone but his wife (Sept 28):
Reader – “Similarly, my husband had a terminal cancer. Though family and friends helped, when his condition worsened, our doctor connected us with our local health integration network and a hospice.
“I told my husband that to get through this we needed help.
“We were provided a hospital bed and all the equipment we needed to make my husband feel comfortable at home. They also provided two personal support workers to come in during the morning and at night. (My husband required two PSW’s to assist in the bathing and changing).
“Once a week, one of the morning PSWs would stay an hour extra so that I could get out and run errands. The hospice provided us with counselling and other services.”
Ellie – Note: across Canada and the US, availability of hospice and palliative care varies where people live.
Tip of the day:
When a loved one’s life is failing, deal with only essential chores, at the least cost and worry, and let the authorities handle negative comments/threats.