This blog is an attempt to memorialize our parents and right the wrongs done to them, and hopefully, by making readers aware of what can happen, we can protect other elderly parents who could fall victim to their own family members.
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War of the Roses
Elizabeth King-Jones was very cunning in her behaviors. She learned to manipulate our father, who had a third grade education and had been diagnosed with vascular dementia and Alzheimer's in 2005 (but the neurologist said he had had it for several years) and a prior stroke. The medical report appears later in this blog. When she saw that Barbara and I were to share equally after our parents passed (she took their wills), we began noticing behavior that we thought was bizarre, but now believe it was part of a plan that included the entire family on her victim list.
There are so many incidents and we will attempt to include them all over the course of this blog. But one stands out as memorable. Our mother had been diagnosed with CBGD, a disease that ravages the brain and slowly paralyzes the body. Mother had 24-hour live-in caregivers and Elizabeth was furious. She and our mother had always had a rocky relationship. Mother had indicated to us on many occasions that she felt that Elizabeth manipulated Daddy to get things, and we saw Daddy in turn bully mother to see that Elizabeth and her children received things that mother really did not want to give. But, being mother, she chalked it up to life and kept most of it inside, only alluding to that dynamic as "Elizabeth and her children get plenty from us." So as mother began to fall victim to her illness, she became less able to fend off physical or emotional threats.
Thus the story of mother's roses. Mother had a garden of beautiful roses that she had used as her rose ministry. Mother had worked for years as a volunteer at the hospital. She hated living in Pennington Gap but she knew that it was my father's dream, so she made the best of what she deemed a bad situation. Everyday before her shift at the hospital, she would cut several vases of roses and take them to the hospital. Then she would see who was in the hospital and take them roses. If no one she knew was in the hospital, then she would pick some of the elderly patients and take roses to them. We lovingly called this "Athie's Rose Ministry. Each rose bush had been given to her in some memorable way...mostly presents from dear friends, some of whome had departed. She would tend her roses with such gentleness and love. Each one brought a special happy memory to her.
Mother had become unable to tend her roses anymore and daddy was deep into dementia. He got it in his head that watering the roses cost too much money, so he would not allow the roses to be watered. It was during this time that Elizabeth was still in Ohio and she would call daddy everyday and he would hold the phone for hours listening to her. After these calls, he was always disturbed and angry, screaming at everyone and just in general distressed and distraught. We believe that one of the constant conversation Elizabeth had with daddy was about the high cost of the water bill and that watering the roses just cost him more money. Daddy understood money. Because he had never had much of it, he hoarded every dime and pinched pennies until they squealed, so the connection in his demented mind was powerful. Caring for mother's roses equaled money. He was fixated on the water bill and would talk about it constantly, especially after Elizabeth's phone calls.
When he went to feed his cats at the barn each night, my wife would sneak over to the house and water the roses. Finally, Elizabeth moved in "to take care of my parents." She was livid that the roses were still living, so she dug up every rose bush with every beautiful memory that our mother had for each and piled them and set them on fire. Then she went to the store and bought new ones and planted them in the same devastated garden where mother could see them everyday...a daily reminder that Elizabeth was in control. While mother's mind was sharp as ever, she had lost the ability to speak. Barbara and I did not learn of this until one of the caregivers told us much later. For a wonderful woman who had given all to others her whole life, this must have been a grievous wound.
*Psychopaths ...seem to have an innate ability to find the weakness in people, and are ready to use these weaknesses to their own ends through deceit, manipulation, or intimidation, and gain pleasure from doing so.
*not concerned about wrecking others' lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause.