Dear MIMsters: My Late Brother’s Wife Is Driving Me Crazy

My late brother’s wife is driving me crazy. This is our history!

My parents had just 3 of us- 2 boys and a girl which is me. We grew up in a very comfortable and somewhat rich home but tragedy struck when our parents died in an auto crash with one of my brothers. It was a really sad period in our home. Trust tradition, my uncle moved in and that was it! All of my parents’ possessions were taken over, we had to move in with my uncle and his wife who used every opportunity to remind my brother and I that times have changed.

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The first thing my uncle and his wife did was to withdraw us from the private school we were attending into a government owned school. The transition was too sudden and difficult for us. What about our cousins- my uncle’s children? They were very hostile to us. Apparently, their mom felt that my father didn’t help her husband enough so while we were rich, they were poor. While we lived in Lagos-on the Island, they lived in the suburb.

One day, I asked my brother why father never helped my uncle out and he, being a whole 7 years older than me knew facts I didn’t know.

He told me that father had opened 3 different businesses for Uncle J but he was always ruining them. He said Uncle J would womanize, drink and spend recklessly, then come back to father to ask for more. While my parents had 3 children, Uncle J had 5 with his wife, and 2 from 2 other women who dumped their kids with his housewife to raise.

As at the time my brother and I moved in with Uncle J, he had 7 children and the 2 of us living with him.

My brother told me about how my mom would always persuade my dad to do more for Uncle J every time he wasted resources given to him and he would oblige only for Uncle J to do more havoc.

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Eventually, father brought Uncle J into one of his business to manage and he ran the business down. Not only that, he got his secretary pregnant and he was forced by the woman’s family to marry him. His wife expected my mom to fight for her but my brother said mom stayed out of it because she was already fed up with my uncle’s irresponsible way of living.

Sadly, the wedding was conducted but the woman died a few weeks after.

Her family made a lot of trouble with my dad who had to settle them with some cool cash before they backed out. My brother said that that was when my father; with the support of my mother, of course estranged my uncle.

Unfortunately, my parents died when I was 10 and my brother was 17. My other brother who died in the crash with them was 14.

Uncle J started by selling my parents’ cars, then their businesses, then their houses and living in affluence- spending recklessly. We suffered so much…

My brother graduated from secondary school, moved on to the university, graduated, got a great job, got married but died 5 years after he got married leaving 2 kids- a boy and a girl. His wife was a mess after my brother died. Life hasn’t been fair to me, Right?!

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As at the time my brother died, I was doing my NYSC. Typical of what my Uncle J does best, he moved in and took over my late brother’s possession. I was serving up North. There was no GSM then so I did not even know that my brother had died. Because of how toxic my Uncle’s house was, I stayed in the North for 1 full year, and only returned to Lagos after NYSC. I found out that my brother has been dead almost a year before my return. Why didn’t anybody inform me? I was sad but very mad with all of them.

My brother’s wife said everything her husband had- including a bungalow he managed to build was taken over by my uncle. I confronted him and he told me he was keeping them for my nephew and niece because he didn’t want my sister in-law to give my late brother’s properties to men. My SIL told me she has been suffering since my brother suddenly died. She said he was sick for a few weeks before he died. I asked for his grave and she said my Uncle gave his corpse to some Hausa guys to bury so she doesn’t know where they laid him.

I tried as much as possible to help my sis in-law out with the little I could but one day, when I got to where she was staying with her children, she politely asked me to never come visit them again. The children were 7 and 5 years respectively when she said that to me. She said she was cutting ties with us- her husband’s family members because we were evil. I pleaded with her but she cursed and asked me to leave.

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I left that day and returned a week later. I was told she had relocated to her village. I didn’t know anyone who could help me find her… it was tough for me but I put those kids in my prayers always hoping that I would see them again.

I got married and kept my distance from my Uncle and his family.

One day, I had just returned from the church when my phone rang. I picked it up and heard, “Good afternoon, aunty.” And he went on to introduce himself. I screamed! I was laughing and crying at the same time. It was my brother’s son. We re-united 3 years ago. They were living in abject poverty. I immediately swung into action to make them comfortable. I brought the girl to live with me and left the boy with my SIL. The girl is wayward and I am getting tired already. Her mother has refused to take her back. One day, I returned from work and met the boy in my house. My SIL had sent him out and he also moved in with me. I am sad to tell you that my brother’s children are ill-mannered. The girl is lousy and the boy is arrogant & uncouth.

My SIL said they are my headache now. Once again, she has moved out of the accommodation I got for them. She only speaks to me on the phone now. I fear for my little children who daily witness how their cousins behave. My son is 10 and my daughter is 8. Funny enough, they are attached to their cousins but I fear for them. My husband is also getting uncomfortable with my brother’s children’s bad attitude.

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My SIL told her children that their father’s family members took over their inheritance and abandoned them. I do not even know where she is, although, I have a feeling her children know her where about but they are just feigning ignorance.

Is my SIL being fair to me? What do I do with these children? They are 19 and 17 years old now.

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