Friday, January 20, 2017

Focus on You

This shot by Larraine Zungolo jumped out at me!  Such a striking image of the sun peeking through the bare tree branches.  Be sure to visit Larraine's flickr stream!

Thank you for contributing to the FOL gallery :)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Black Widow

by Linda

He lost the love of his life and mother to his children to a cruel disease after 48 years of marriage. Always an optimist, he worked through his grief and returned to his job. He returned home every night to an empty home. His children did not live in the same city but visited as often as possible. Life carried on and he was focusing on his future. He began a process of identifying the assets and accounts he had, creating a will and POA and making sure his children knew about everything and where it was, just in case...

He found love again and married. She was a widow who had lost her husband at about the same time he lost his wife. His children were notified of the marriage after the fact by phone. They were surprised as they did not know he was "in the market" but happy he found love. They wished him and his new wife well. His children did not meet his new wife in person for 2 years. They thought that unusual as they had made several attempts to stop by and meet her, but she always had a reason why she could not meet at any of those times. When finally his children met her in person, normal conversation occurred. His children learned she had 3 children of her own, which 2 of then lived in the same city they did. His children said they would like to meet them, to which she replied "oh no, that wouldn't be a very good idea"

In their 3rd year of marriage, he began calling his oldest child and asking to borrow money. Puzzled at the request because though not extremely wealthy he should have been able to manage on the assets he had plus he was still employed. But because it was her dad, the oldest asked how much he needed. He would then ask his wife how much she needed, she would be heard replying to him and that was the number he asked for.

In their 9th year of marriage, he called his oldest and said he wanted a family meeting. Two of his three of his children were able to attend. They expected to see her children present as well but her children were not there. He told his children that age had caught up with him and he was not able to manage everything with regard to home and yard maintenance and he wanted to stay in his house. His children had foreseen this and had a plan in place where he could have in home help. This was set up and began for him the following week.

His began to lose his balance and walking across the room became a sometime difficult task. He fell no less than 100 times in a year and his nose was broken twice. His wife never alerted us or encouraged him to seek medical attention. His balance continued to deteriorate and falls became common place. Still no help from his wife. His oldest child visited one day and the side of his face was black and blue. He laughed it off to being clumsy and hitting a bathroom vanity top on the way down. Another fall resulted in a broken rib. Another fall resulted in a fracture in his leg. Still no help from his wife. As a matter of fact, every time his children were around her all she could do was moan and groan and say how sick and in pain she was.

Over the next 4 years, his wife has run off every helper that was sent to their house to help them. Every one. The agency has no one else to send and those that have been there will not go back. They do not drive so this means they will not be able to replenish groceries.

One week he fell 9 times. He told his children his hip was hurting. She did nothing. One of his children traveled to his house from out of town on Christmas Day and took him to the emergency room where it was determined he had fractured his hip. Upon his return home, his wife ran off the last helper. She claimed the helper could not prepare a frozen dinner correctly so she chased the helper out of the house, cussing and holding a knife.

His children were in fear of his safety and began to plan for him to move into an assisted living facility. He agreed. He toured it and liked it. She refused to go and took every opportunity to brow beat and harass him for wanting to go. Emotional abuse, emotional blackmail. She threatened lawyers on his children saying he did not want to go and that his children were forcing him.

One weekend, his children had everything prepared for him to move, she did not have to go but if she wanted to she could. (both of their doctors recommend nursing homes for them but assisted living is better than staying in a dark, cluttered and dangerous house)  All he had to do was get in the car and go. He refused.

His children were forced to use the POA to get him to where he needs to be.

When searching the known location for the POA, it was discovered that in 2005 a new will and POA was drawn up naming her as POA and sole heir and that a trust fund was to be set up for her and managed by one of his children. His children had no idea and were stunned to say the least. One of his children was excluded from both documents.

At that time it was also revealed that she never assisted in any way to household expenses, that she opens every spam email and clicks on every link and sends money and bank account information as well as credit card information to the scammers. Their identity has been stolen more than once and there credit card used more than once. His children could not figure out how that happened. Every time the subject came up she would deny that she does that. Yet she continued to do it and does it still to this day. Also revealed was every heirloom owned by him that had any monetary value was sold by her. She gained access to his safe deposit box and cleaned it out. Never mind the sentimental value those items held for his children. She wanted the money. Every bank account was closed and the money gone. His investment property that had 2 of his children's names on the deed was sold and the money gone.

It appears that she had spent every penny he had in the first 2 years of their marriage.

His children have determined she intends to keep him in the house, away from everybody so he will fall and hurt himself so severely he will die.

Police as well as Adult Protective Services have numerous complaints filed on her by his children, his doctors and the homecare agency that was sending them help. Every time some one comes to the house to investigate, she denies everything and so does he. He says denying is better because he has to go back in the house with her.

He has told his children he takes pain pills to sleep and get away from her. He has told his children he wants to take a bunch of pills and end it all.

His children are weeping for him.


This is a true story and an ongoing situation.

Please, make sure you and your loved ones know where your important documents are and what is in them.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Not My Favorite

by Deanna

As a reader of our blog, and thank you for that, you may well have surmised that the month of January’s theme is Winter’s  Bare Branches.  Living in the Midwest I am surrounded by branches from the many varieties of Maples, the Sycamores, the River Birch, Pin Oaks and Red Oaks, Magnolias, and Weeping Willows, the Black Walnut and the Sweet Gum, varieties of trees too numerous to list. Drive down any neighborhood street and you will probably see a Honey Locust, a Maple, even a large Bur Oak gracing the parkways.  During the summer months these varieties are clothed in their various colors, shapes and sizes of leaves, seeds or flowers, but in the winter, unless you are an arborist (tree expert) they all appear to look almost the same, except perhaps in size. Their branches stripped clean, standing bare before us.   I can see the shape, the size, the broken, the scars, the length of the branches, all appearing lifeless.  And I wonder, will the Spring bring life back into those broken and scarred limbs.

I know that winter pretty much strips me of the joy that I find during those warmer months of the year.  Sunshine and warmth are my go-to words, but sunshine has been very sparse this year. Since January 1st we have had only 1 full day of sunshine, the rest have been partly cloudy or totally dreary. With rain, not snow.  We had 2 beautiful snows in December followed by January rains. Am I complaining, yes.  Do I feel stripped and bare, yes. But like the trees I will flourish again in the spring.  Having this cold dreary weather does give me an excuse to hunker down and read until my eyes grow weary, then I nap.

Eventho Winter is not my favorite time of year, I do find life among those bare trunks and limbs. Wildlife remains steadfast throughout the cold months here in the Midwest. Those bare branches provide a safe place for birds and our furry friends to perch in their search for food, thus giving me the opportunity to capture their winter coats and plumage.  

And I must admit there is an occasional drop-dead gorgeous sunset. And with the trees bare I can enjoy those blazing colors.  

So there you have so-called love/hate relationship with our Midwest winters. Love them for draping our world in purest white, for the gorgeous unimpeded views of sunsets, and the birds and critters that give life to the barest of branches.  The not so loved side are the short days,the pile of coats, gloves and boots to weather the cold, the dreariness, and the longing for those bare limbs to spring forth with life again.  
© Focusing On Life