Charitable Hissy-Fit

I have, for three and a half years, been working on my mom to tone down her charitable and donation spending. Recently I started transcribing notes I make on my copies of her Island bank statements, regarding her charitable/donation spending, to her copies of those statements, which I send her monthly (in hopes she’ll  look at them and think, “Oh Crap, I’m over-giving!!!”). NOT. Below is the email I received from mom today, and below that, my reply. 

From Mom:

Let me assure you that I am in no way or degree making charitable contributions in amounts that deplete my investment accounts (which do not get touched), nor will they in any way reduce your eventual inheritance to anything remotely close to insignificance.

I am continuing to support causes that dad and I both found important and positive — including Habitat for Humanity, ACLU,  and other environmental ones. From time to time, I also contribute to others, including our College once a year, as well as a few local causes, and occasional political issues that are important. I have no problem with that, and neither should you.

I do not appreciate your outlook or attitude as a snarling watchdog over my daily life.

Please  keep in mind that Dad and I put you on this account as a back-up, and we did not intend for you to become a Decimal-point- Picker.  I have no problem with an occasional question, but your constant, finger-wagging ‘tsk-tsk-tsking’ has become more than a little tiresome.

I have gone over the contributions on this statement. Please note: the total amount  is: $190   —   NOT the $255 that you somehow came up with.  Perhaps you misidentified a couple items, or else you have an addition error.  I hope this will clear things up  beyond this apparent mistake.

All for the time being…lpd / Mom


She signed her initials… She is piiiiiiiissed! My reply:

From me to Mom:

Dear Mom,

I am in no way worried about eventual inheritance. I am concerned that you are spending +/- 10% of your gross income on charity most months, and during the last two months have written checks to the same charity within days/weeks of each other (Wilderness Society clearing on the May statement, and League of Women Voters clearing on the June statement). You are also giving additional monies to charities that you have already donated to this year. You continue to write checks to charities that I informed you are under federal investigation for fraud (United Breast Cancer Federation, and other breast cancer charities). When we’ve discussed this (three times so far this year) you said you’d keep a list of who you donated funds to in order to help you keep track, and admitted that you have a very difficult time keeping on top of this.

I have NO problem with you donating to causes that are important to you, but because you aren’t tracking how much or to whom you are giving money, I DO have serious concerns. 

Clearing on your June statement, you wrote checks/used your debit card (once) for the following:

6/1 Democratic Congressional ? $25 (debit card ~ pg one of the bank stmt)
5/23 American Civil Liberties Union $20
5/25 United Breast Cancer Foundation $20 (under federal investigation)
5/25 League of Women Voters $25
5/30 Habitat $30
5/30 KUOW $20
5/30 NARAL $30
5/30 San Juan Healthcare $40
6/9 Foundation for American Veterans $20
6/9 League of Women Voters $20 (15 days after writing them a check for $25)
Total $250 (You’re right! I made a small error adding this up ;->)

I am not being a ‘snarling watch dog.’ I am attempting to help you keep track of your charitable contribution spending. As I said, I don’t have a problem with giving. I have a problem that you’re not tracking to whom, when and how much you’re giving.

Another tracking reminder…. You and Dad did not put me on your accounts… YOU put me on your accounts After dad passed away. 

My only concern is Your financial safety. You have ‘been taken’ three times in the last 5 years regarding your car, the last time for $2250.00. This is why I track your accounts. 

If you want to take an extravagant holiday to Belize, sprinkling money as you go, I encourage you!!! You deserve it, Mom!! I want to make sure you have the dough to do it with.

I love you! 

She will respond viciously, or be contrite, and full of rationalization. While the mainline mantra is never turn the dementia patient away from their reality, I can Prove these numbers to her, backed up by the bank. That doesn’t mean she will look at the numbers, names, and dates and have an, Oh My Gawd moment, but going through the exercise is worth it, in hopes of the miniscule chance she’ll have a moment of self-recognition and acceptance. 

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