A Tale of Commitment


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.


Taking the word apart, com means with; and mit,coming from the Latin mittere, is to pair or send.  So–to pair or send with, as in a marriage commitment, a business agreement, or being part of a committee.

Interesting word, because it can also mean to do, as in commit a crime or some other act. And in my line of work, to be committed  can be an involuntary entrance into a mental health program or facility–which brings me to my story, based on truth but changed quite a bit to protect those involved.

The woman was short, very round.  She had tiny  legs and arms, but her stomach made her appear to be in an advanced state of pregnancy.  She was well over 60, though, so I assumed she was not about to deliver a baby in my office.

She was married to a man who was slowly but surely descending into severe dementia, probably Alzheimer’s.  It’s a terrible disease that robs the victim of his personality and identity. His wife, my client, was his only caregiver at the time.


She had Bipolar Disorder, which is the same thing as being manic-depressive.   She was extremely intelligent, and her disorder was under good control because she was faithful–committed–to her medications.

Their children, however, remembered Mom before she got medical help.  They remembered her manic episodes, during which she spent money outrageously. It had been well over 25 years, but that was their main perception of her.

So they got their heads together one day, and decided they had to protect dad’s money from their mother.  Remember, Dad has dementia.  Without their mother’s knowledge, her children took their dad out one day. While they had him separate from her, they talked him into signing his power of attorney over to the eldest child; that child would be completely in charge of Dad’s substantial retirement and savings. It amounted to multi-millions.  They made sure that the document  specified that their mother would have no access or control over any part of his fortune. The eldest child would disperse funds to his mother as he saw fit.

Adding insult to injury, there was a clause that empowered any one of the children to do an involuntary commitment of their mother if that child felt Mom was getting out of line. So if Mom complained about being robbed of her husband’s money, any one of them had the power to put her in a mental health facility for a time to be determined by the psychiatrist involved.

In my opinion, the attorney who drew up this contract  was completely unethical.  Possibly illegal.

Mom wanted my help.  I told her there was nothing I could do, and suggested she see an attorney. She didn’t have the money for that, and her children wouldn’t give her what she needed. She was completely at their mercy.

I suggested she call her county area agency on aging and inquire about getting some legal help.  I don’t know how she’s doing now.  I hope she’s getting some assistance.

In summary:  The children of this couple formed a committee and committed a terrible act of injustice to both their parents, including the threat to commit her if she offered them any resistance.

I think the children are the ones who need to be committed!