When my mother learned that I was giving my Gramma $35,000 so that she could move to Florida and put the money down on a house, she informed me that my brother had been arrested a year ago, lost his job, and needed an attorney because he was facing 120 years in prison.
She said they had not told me because they didn't want to worry me. I immediately handed over the $35,000 so that she could get him an attorney.
When the case finally went to trial, none of the money had been spent on my brother. He only had the free under-prepared public defender who had just been assigned to his case, four days prior to the trial. Without a proper defense and without calling a single witness, he was found guilty and sentenced to 60 years in prison.
I was not informed of the trial date. I was never given a chance to testify on his behalf.
My grandmother made me promise not to bring this up with my mother while she was alive because then my mother wouldn't let me talk to her. Now my grandmother has passed and I need to have the "goodbye" discussion with my mother. I have no idea how to even approach this, since I get so extremely upset just thinking about it. I don't know what she did with the money, but as ironic as this is, she bought a rental property in Florida a couple years later.
One important point is that she was not close to her mother. She's the type of person who blames everything on everyone else. Our relationship has always been one where I desperately sought her love, support, and approval, which has always ended in disaster.
Note: We live on opposite sides of the country and so I can not have this discussion face to face.
The money is lost. I do not want it back. No, I'm not wealthy, by any stretch of the imagination.
UPDATE This post was closed at the whim of the users listed below, but given it's popularity, I wanted to give an update.
I chose to write a carefully worded group text message to my mom and step dad and included everyone on both sides of the family, my attorney and a few others. It basically said that I have experienced some disappointments in my life, but nothing prepares you for the disappointment of knowing that your own mother would allow her first born son to go to prison for the rest of his life after being given the money to help him. The way I see it, they owe my brother $35,000 and an apology from the bottom of their heart because if they ever want to speak to me again, it will be my brother who will ask me to forgive them. As far as I'm concerned, they are dead to me.
Blocked all phone numbers. Set up email filters to delete their emails.
Re-wrote my will, specifically disinheriting them from my estate and sent a copy to everyone in my family.
Had an advanced medical directive prepared, which forbids them from entering my hospital room, receiving any healthcare information, or making any end of life decisions on my behalf.
Every year on every holiday, I'm sending a card with a picture of my brother and I when we were kids, reminding them where my brother is and asking if they've sent him any money. But to ensure those cards get read, there will be $5 taped inside every one of them.