Bonnie Shell's Life Stories

What weaknesses do you struggle with the most?

The weakness I have struggled with for a long time is trusting people and believing their sob stories. I then tend to try to help them. I have never been scammed financially, but I have been taken advantage of emotionally.

Before my uncle died, he asked me to care for my aunt. They had no children, and his nieces and nephews, who lived in their neighborhood, never offered to help them in any way. My aunt was not very bright, and after a few years, I realized she was suffering from dementia. She lived in an apartment, and the landlady saw her opportunity to take advantage of her financially by offering to be her secretary. She then stole $25,000 from my aunt and told her I was stealing from her.

It took a while, but I managed to get my aunt into an assisted living facility and get control of the rest of her money.

Then my mom got sick, and the doctor said she could not live alone. She moved in with John and me, and we cared for her for two years. My mom and I got along very well, and she appreciated us caring for her. For the last three months of her life, we had help from Rainbow Hospice. They were great and mom enjoyed the girls that came to help and visit with her.

Then there was my brother. He would call when he was in trouble. He lost his job, and he had no money; he screwed up his checking account, etc., etc., etc.

He once called to say he was in financial trouble and would lose his house. His checking account was so messed up that it took me 3 hours to get it straightened out. After that, I would go to his house to balance his checkbook and pay his bills once a month. Then one day he called to tell me he wanted nothing to do with me because I stole all his money. I believe he was suffering from dementia, and he was an alcoholic.

I gave him his space but kept in touch by phone. Then one day, he called to tell me I could get the key to his house at the office because he was dying. I later got a call from his neighbor that he had been taken to the hospital. By the time we got to the hospital, he was gone. He apparently bled to death. The help continued because he was a hoarder, and it took forever to clean out his house. My sister from Arizona stayed for a week after the funeral to help, and then it took me another month to empty all his junk.

Before my brother died, he broke his foot, and when we took him to the hospital, we discovered he was seriously ill. He underwent surgery and had to stay in rehab for a few months. His house was a filthy mess, so when the social worker was to inspect his house so he could come home, I spent three days cleaning. When he got home, he said I ruined his house and threw me out the door.

My nephew, my brother's son, wanted some things from his fathers so I made all the arrangements to ship these things, including his car. He lived in South Dakota.

He inherited whatever money my brother had left, managed to get scammed, and lost every penny in less than a year.

We made friends with a worker we had to do some remodeling on our house. After a short time, he started to expect favors from us. He never asked; he would start with, "you're not going to mind doing this or that for us" One day, I just said, "no," and they have not talked to us since.

As I grow older, I am much more willing to say "no" to invites I don't want to go to, volunteer for projects I'm not interested in, and do only things I enjoy. It took me a long time, but I plan to be happy for the rest of my days.