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How do I respond to my mother in law who has asked for her gold jewelry and good silverware back after gifting it to me several years ago?

I am a widow of 5 years. My husband died suddenly of cancer at 57 years old - we had no children. Within 2 years - my father in law died, leaving me as the only relative living near my mother in law who at 93 yrs old is living in an assisted living facility. She has 2 sons (in their 60s)and wives living out of town - one son visits 2 - 3 times a year. I work fulltime, own a house but have dinner with her weekly, call her regularly, run errands, take her to lunch, visit her. In the past 6 months she has asked me to return some gold jewelry and good silverware that she gave to me to "use in good health". She says she needs the cash. One son - a retired doctor w/2 homes - very comfortable - will support her if/when her money runs out. The other son is financially strapped - because of bad decisions. Should I return items - knowing she will sell them and give her finanically strapped son the cash?

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SueK199

Asked by SueK199 at 11:58 AM on Oct. 19, 2010 in Relationships

Level 2 (6 Credits)
Answers (12)
  • I'd just give them back and avoid the dispute. There has been too much sadness and this is so trivial.
    adelinasmommy

    Answer by adelinasmommy at 12:00 PM on Oct. 19, 2010

  • I would return them, it doesn't matter where the cash will go..............................
    older

    Answer by older at 12:00 PM on Oct. 19, 2010

  • I would give it to her.
    mompam

    Answer by mompam at 12:01 PM on Oct. 19, 2010

  • Make an old woman happy....way weird though~
    surfcitymom

    Answer by surfcitymom at 12:06 PM on Oct. 19, 2010

  • Is she capable of making sound decisions? I think you should talk with her about why she needs money. Selling things that are (or will be) family heirlooms to bail out a dead beat son isn't the best decision in my opinion. My mother in law is constantly asking for money and she gives it to her deadbeat kids. It drives me crazy.
    scout_mom

    Answer by scout_mom at 12:07 PM on Oct. 19, 2010

  • wow i must be a real witch it was a gift to you, that means they are yours. I would not give them back and I would tell her that I valued them so much to give them back
    wyattgrace

    Answer by wyattgrace at 12:07 PM on Oct. 19, 2010

  • If they have no meaning to you, I would probably just go head and give them back.
    MomToLilAngel

    Answer by MomToLilAngel at 12:08 PM on Oct. 19, 2010

  • First I would call the doctor BIL and tell him what is going on. I would also consider how you feel about these items. They are yours and you are under no obligation to give them back if you don't want to. You might want to consider keeping one item and giving back the rest. You could say something like everytime I wear the necklace it makes me think of you and smile. Will you regret the loss of the items for sentimental reasons or is the fact that the money would be going to Mr. Irresponsible the problem?
    LoveMyDog

    Answer by LoveMyDog at 12:16 PM on Oct. 19, 2010

  • Give them back.If it's that important to her.All they are are material things anyway.Good luck to you and I'm sorry about your husband.
    bvannkissy

    Answer by bvannkissy at 12:56 PM on Oct. 19, 2010

  • I would tell her what they mean to you and if she still wants them back let her have them. Even if she sells them and gives the money to the irresponsible BIL it will probably make your mil happy that she is able to "help" him. No sense in starting a feud with an old woman, especially since it sounds like you see her on a regular basis.
    sue118

    Answer by sue118 at 1:05 PM on Oct. 19, 2010

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