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View Full Version : Guys, I've never done this before - a request for help



Perks
11-01-2015, 02:02 AM
First off, if this seems inappropriate, I apologize and completely differ to the Moderators to delete this if they need to.

Something happened here today that has broken my heart for a kid who I find very admirable. My best friend is also my next door neighbor. You may know of (or have been in the situation yourself) where somebody else's kid becomes your second (or third, or fourth) child. My friend Mary has Samantha. Samantha is a remarkable girl. She is 16 years old and has kept the most beautiful attitude and powerful - and somehow cheerful - work ethic under extremely trying circumstances. You meet her and there's this serene and vibrant energy to her, a composure that's deeper than 16 years usually grows. You would never know the pitiful chaos she comes from. She and her sister have been raised by a very sweet, loving, but completely dysfunctional mother. Their struggles are dire, but the love has always been obvious. I'm not sure what sad story broke their mother, Cindy, but her abilities to cope with life have been kneecapped for all their lives together. My friend, Mary, has tried to fill in the gaps for Samantha (with love and joy - Sam's truly a delightful young woman) but we know that no one can undo all the knots.

Cindy, who had either emphysema or COPD, over-sedated herself with prescription drugs last night. It was an accident and an ongoing problem in their lives. Samantha didn't realize how serious it was, but checked on her mother's breathing off an on throughout yesterday evening. She sounded wrong and labored, but her mother insisted that she was okay, and this scenario wasn't an unusual thing, unfortunately. Eventually, Sam thought everything was okay and went to bed. At 5:30 this morning, her little sister knocked on Sam's door to tell her she didn't think their mother was breathing. Samantha rushed out, turned her mother over and discovered her blue. The EMTs were unable to revive her.

These poor girls have nothing, but they do have people who care. I think they will be alright. But Samantha is terribly distressed because they have no means to bury her mother and Cindy was adamant that she didn't want to be cremated in the event of her death. Her fear of the idea of going to ashes has put Samantha in a bit of a panic . I'm not sure that's avoidable at this point, but even a cremation is going to be expensive. They have nothing. I have no idea what they are going to do.

There's a GoFundMe. If you can spare even $10, it would be a kindness to a stranger, but also a gift of support for a young person who has so much potential. I hate that she's so afraid right now. She'll be fine. You can tell. But this next stretch is going to be hard.

Anyway, thanks for whatever you can spare - even if it's only good thoughts.

https://www.gofundme.com/j97vybg4


ETA - This is posted below, but I wanted it here, too.


Okay, I got a little more info on the amount of that GoFundMe request.

It's sounds as if they could have their mother transferred and cremated for around $2500, all told.

The $15,000 is partly holding out hope that they could have a funeral and burial, rather than just the cremation, and partly (and this killed me) that Samantha wants to have her mother autopsied. She wants to know how, exactly, her mother died. There is no foul play suspected and the family would have to pay for a private autopsy. This would be pointless. Samantha very much wants it to be that her mother had a heart attack in her sleep, rather than that she died of respiratory failure. Samantha went to bed the night her mother died and is feeling like she should have stayed awake longer and watched over her.

The facts are that the woman was on oxygen for lung dysfunction anyway and had an addiction to painkillers and other sedatives. Every indication is that she got very high and over-sedated herself. She was in such poor health that it's not impossible that she had a heart attack, but either way, Samantha shouldn't feel in any way responsible.

Of course, we're all telling her that. She'll get past this grasping for an autopsy. Everyone is trying to convince them to be okay with the cremation, too.

Fucking hell, this is depressing.

Perks
11-01-2015, 10:52 PM
Bumped, just this once. Thank you.

Victor Douglas
11-01-2015, 11:05 PM
Perks, I am deeply sympathetic to your friend's tragedy. I hope life turns out better for them from here on out. Unfortunately, I have a policy of not donating to individuals online that I am not personally acquainted with. There are charities that help out with this sort of thing: http://funeralcostshelp.co.uk/charities-help-funeral-costs/ The first one listed specifically mentions children 16 years of age or under. Perhaps your friend could check them out. Again, deepest condolences.

Osulagh
11-01-2015, 11:06 PM
This sounds like a horrific accident and my heart goes out to these girls.

However, I must ask: Have they inquired into their local government, possible volunteer funeral services, and community? I grew up in lower-class neighborhoods and cases like these were quite common. I remember my friend contacted social services and they paid for his father's cremation through a fund after he proved he could not provide for himself, let alone pay the services.

While, also, $15K is mighty high for funeral service. I can understand that local economies can differ; the average burial and service in my area (a few years back when my grandmother died) is under $10K. And, again, I can understand someone's personal beliefs on this, but full cremation services can be well under $2000, and direct cremation at the cheapest can run under $500. A much more likely goal for these girls if they can find such services.

Perks
11-01-2015, 11:12 PM
Perks, I am deeply sympathetic to your friend's tragedy. I hope life turns out better for them from here on out. Unfortunately, I have a policy of not donating to individuals online that I am not personally acquainted with. There are charities that help out with this sort of thing: http://funeralcostshelp.co.uk/charities-help-funeral-costs/ The first one listed specifically mentions children 16 years of age or under. Perhaps your friend could check them out. Again, deepest condolences.

Victor, thanks so much for that link and I completely understand your policy. I will forward this information to them.

ETA - Oops. That's UK charities, so that won't work. But thank you!

Irish Whiskey
11-01-2015, 11:16 PM
And, again, I can understand someone's personal beliefs on this, but full cremation services can be well under $2000, and direct cremation at the cheapest can run under $500. A much more likely goal for these girls if they can find such services.

Not only that, but less money spent on the service would be more to help them with whatever else they need. I understand their desire to respect their mother's wishes, but sometimes it just isn't practical, especially when such a heavy burden falls on shoulders far too young. I'm sure she would understand.

Perks
11-01-2015, 11:19 PM
This sounds like a horrific accident and my heart goes out to these girls.

However, I must ask: Have they inquired into their local government, possible volunteer funeral services, and community? I grew up in lower-class neighborhoods and cases like these were quite common. I remember my friend contacted social services and they paid for his father's cremation through a fund after he proved he could not provide for himself, let alone pay the services. Yeah, there's not a lot here. We're definitely helping them look for resources.



While, also, $15K is mighty high for funeral service. I can understand that local economies can differ; the average burial and service in my area (a few years back when my grandmother died) is under $10K. And, again, I can understand someone's personal beliefs on this, but full cremation services can be well under $2000, and direct cremation at the cheapest can run under $500. A much more likely goal for these girls if they can find such services.

Right now her mother's body is at a very expensive funeral home. They just went to the closest place they could find. Samantha panicked when they told her that the funeral could be up to $15,000, so that's where that number came from. She won't need that much. She knows that now, but that's where the number came from.

What we've found is that the least expensive option was $900 to cremate her after retrieving the body from where it was to the more "bargain" place. We felt very relieved, because $900 is very doable.

Well, it all ends up being a very bait-and-switch thing. They tell you she'll be cremated for $900, but there's a $250 document fee, a $600 suchandsuch, and a whopping $1200 additional cost for something I couldn't make any sense of. At this point, it seems that somewhere between $3000 and $4500 will get all the way to the bottom line of a cremation.

We're still working on it, but she knows now that she doesn't need $15K. That's a big relief.

- - - Updated - - -


Not only that, but less money spent on the service would be more to help them with whatever else they need. I understand their desire to respect their mother's wishes, but sometimes it just isn't practical, especially when such a heavy burden falls on shoulders far too young. I'm sure she would understand.

I have very carefully been talking to her about this as well.

Perks
11-02-2015, 12:26 AM
Okay, I got a little more info on the amount of that GoFundMe request.

It's sounds as if they could have their mother transferred and cremated for around $2500, all told.

The $15,000 is partly holding out hope that they could have a funeral and burial, rather than just the cremation, and partly (and this killed me) that Samantha wants to have her mother autopsied. She wants to know how, exactly, her mother died. There is no foul play suspected and the family would have to pay for a private autopsy. This would be pointless. Samantha very much wants it to be that her mother had a heart attack in her sleep, rather than that she died of respiratory failure. Samantha went to bed the night her mother died and is feeling like she should have stayed awake longer and watched over her.

The facts are that the woman was on oxygen for lung dysfunction anyway and had an addiction to painkillers and other sedatives. Every indication is that she got very high and over-sedated herself. She was in such poor health that it's not impossible that she had a heart attack, but either way, Samantha shouldn't feel in any way responsible.

Of course, we're all telling her that. She'll get past this grasping for an autopsy. Everyone is trying to convince them to be okay with the cremation, too.

Fucking hell, this is depressing.

Maze Runner
11-02-2015, 02:02 AM
Very sad. I'll send what I can. I hope Samantha isn't plagued with this guilt. Somehow she needs to believe that this wasn't at all her fault.

Perks
11-02-2015, 03:01 AM
And this is why I do not donate to help random strangers when full transparency is not in place to show where exactly the money is going and how it's being spent in the best possible way.

Sorry, all this sounds like she's far too privileged. She needs to focus on what needs to happen and what she can do. That's burying her mother in the cheapest way possible. Not using the helpfulness of others to investigate her mother's death. There's no foul play, she had no involvement in the death, she can't even afford the burial at the moment.

She's 16, right? How is she in control of this situation, and not her grandmother? Shouldn't the grandmother be the one signing off on anything?Oh wow. Then this is my fault in the representation of the situation. It couldn't be farther from the truth. That's incredibly painful. These girls are in a desperate and pitiful situation.

I'm completely fine with your not wanting to send money, but please know that if your opinion of the situation is in any way that these girls are exercising privilege, or throwing entitled tantrums, the shortcoming lies with my typing it up, not with anything they've done wrong.

I'm in tears.

buz
11-02-2015, 03:07 AM
Sorry, all this sounds like she's far too privileged.

Or she's only 16 and her mom literally just died and maybe all of her thinking is not entirely within the logically practical sphere right at this moment and maybe her priorities are even slightly different from yours, none of which makes her "privileged," but...you know, grieving.

You don't have to give anyone money, obviously, but there's no reason to throw down judgment on a guilt-ridden kid who just lost her mother.

Perks
11-02-2015, 03:14 AM
Or she's only 16 and her mom literally just died and maybe all of her thinking is not entirely within the logically practical sphere right at this moment and maybe her priorities are even slightly different from yours, none of which makes her "privileged," but...you know, grieving.



The poor thing is horrified because she's been nursing her addict mother for years and she went to sleep when her mother was terribly high and her mother died. She's desperate to know that it wasn't her fault, that it wasn't because she didn't stay awake and keep checking on her. Her wanting the autopsy is absolutely heartbreaking. And now she's being pressured (by absolute kindness and common sense from those who care for her) to go against her mother's wishes to be buried over cremated. She's a devastated, nervous wreck right now and doesn't know who to listen to. The grandmother is incapacitated and not in much of a mental or physical position to be of any help, which she has, historically, not been inclined to do anyway.

I don't know how I wrote it wrong that it could come off that she was being privileged.

buz
11-02-2015, 03:18 AM
I don't know how I wrote it wrong that it could come off that she was being privileged.

I didn't read it that way.

lianna williamson
11-02-2015, 03:21 AM
Nor did I, and I actually gasped that anyone would call a 16-year-old who just lost her critically ill and drug-addicted mother "privileged". Yeah, kids today, so entitled with wanting their dead mothers autopsied.

CassandraW
11-02-2015, 03:30 AM
And this is why I do not donate to help random strangers when full transparency is not in place to show where exactly the money is going and how it's being spent in the best possible way.

Sorry, all this sounds like she's far too privileged. She needs to focus on what needs to happen and what she can do. That's burying her mother in the cheapest way possible. Not using the helpfulness of others to investigate her mother's death. There's no foul play, she had no involvement in the death, she can't even afford the burial at the moment.

She's 16, right? How is she in control of this situation, and not her grandmother? Shouldn't the grandmother be the one signing off on anything?


Congratulations. This wins as the most horrifyingly insensitive post I have ever seen on AW. Also, despite some pretty steep competition, the most asinine use of the word "privileged" I have ever seen.

Roxxsmom
11-02-2015, 03:35 AM
The girl's behavior certainly seems understandable to me, given her experiences. No, it's not rational for her to be blaming herself or for her to expect to learn anything useful from an autopsy, given the circumstances, but this sounds like a normal manifestation of the stages of loss. Grief is not rational. Hopefully Perks's friend and the rest of the girl's family can help her to see what the most realistic approach is. The thing that absolutely sucks about losing a loved one unexpectedly is that there is so damned much for the bereaved do at a time when they just want to curl up in a ball and cry. It's hard for adults with some money in the bank, let alone a very poor person who has just lost their means of support, and most especially for a kid.

Helping this girl navigate this difficult time and being there for her is very important.

I missed that there was a grandmother in the OP, though. If there is, I'd think she'd be involved in the planning if she's the legal next of kin and is now the legal guardian of the girls.

If money is tight, there may be charities in the US (or wherever this girl and her family live) as well that can help with funeral expenses, especially if there are orphaned children involved.

Victor Douglas
11-02-2015, 03:37 AM
@Perks: It might not be a bad idea to look into finding some therapy support for her.

Perks
11-02-2015, 03:38 AM
I missed that there was a grandmother in the OP, though. If there is, I'd think she'd be involved in the planning if she's the legal next of kin and is not the legal guardian of the girls.

She may end up being legal guardian for a time, but the grandmother is essentially incapacitated, both physically and mentally. It's an ugly situation.

- - - Updated - - -


@Perks: It might not be a bad idea to look into finding some therapy support for her.

Very possibly.

Roxxsmom
11-02-2015, 03:41 AM
Poor kids. I'd definitely look into finding some counseling for them, if there's something available through their locality or community. In the US, availability of services can vary a great deal by state, and even county, unfortunately. I don't know where this took place, though.

mirandashell
11-02-2015, 09:51 PM
The girl's behavior certainly seems understandable to me, given her experiences. No, it's not rational for her to be blaming herself or for her to expect to learn anything useful from an autopsy, given the circumstances, but this sounds like a normal manifestation of the stages of loss. Grief is not rational. Hopefully Perks's friend and the rest of the girl's family can help her to see what the most realistic approach is. The thing that absolutely sucks about losing a loved one unexpectedly is that there is so damned much for the bereaved do at a time when they just want to curl up in a ball and cry. It's hard for adults with some money in the bank, let alone a very poor person who has just lost their means of support, and most especially for a kid.

QfT.

And Perks, I'm another one who did not get 'privileged' from your posts. I got exactly the opposite.

Privileged ...... wow.

Perks
11-02-2015, 10:07 PM
An update:

The girls have been convinced to go ahead with the cremation. They really wanted a small private viewing, so that's happening today. Samantha has also been convinced that an autopsy is out of reach, even if she's not entirely convinced that it wouldn't show something that would make her feel better about that night. She'll come around and see that the money was far better spent on other things.

I don't know what they're going to do, but whatever happens, this has to be taken care of first. So today feels like progress.

Thank you all so much for listening to me. For my own personal reasons, this girl's struggle pulls on me. Hard. She's a wonderful young person and I want so much to see her break free. She doesn't have to go the path of the rest of her family. She's so close to being capably in charge of her own life. There's no good timing for this. I just hope it's not disastrous timing.

mirandashell
11-02-2015, 10:13 PM
We'll listen as long you need, no worries.