A POWER OF ATTORNEY
and an “ACT OF HUBRIS”
I will tell my story because…..this could happen to you!
Interwoven into this “Greek Tragedy” are two women, a mother and daughter, who were naively and wistfully happy to be reunited after a time of separation; to then take a blow that changed the trajectory of our lives. A confused and stunned fragile man torn between a rock and a hard place created by his adult children. And four adult children who didn’t like the arrangements made by our parents upon their infirmity and death. They took action to have it changed. And enter years of legal wrangling in this case of HOUSTON v. HOUSTON.
To achieve the adult Houston’s endgame they had to discredit me, Louise Fowler. Both parties in this case were represented by lawyers. I, the focus of this case from the beginning, had no one to legally represent and shield me from the distortions, lies and the willful deliberate evisceration and mischaracterization of who I am, to achieve an end I don’t understand.
The Houston adult children’s account of my life, and who I am, was heard in The Supreme Court of British Columbia. It has been recorded and documented into perpetuity.
I will set the record straight in the weeks and months to come.
This is about a mother, a gentle soul who was a hurt, damaged and vulnerable woman throughout her life from neglect and abuse; with the ‘coup de grace’ in the last years of her life. Actions taken by her step-children, and the fallout, hurt this woman so deeply she ultimately took her own life. She died on February 5, 2013 at 92 years old with the daughter Louise, who loved her, by her side.
My mother Angela Houston met her husband Bob Houston while he was in Vancouver for a tennis tournament at the Vancouver Lawn Tennis Club in approximately 1974. In their first conversation, they told me, he said, ” I am separated, would you go out with me”. She said, “not until after you are divorced”. By chance several months later she met him while he was visiting from Victoria again, he said, “I am divorced now, will you go out with me”. He drove her to Harrison Hot Springs for dinner. They never looked back. They married in 1976 and resided in Victoria where he had his medical practice.
She embraced his four children. She helped pay for their education, giving them the careers they have today. Along with helping her husband financially out of the red after he had over-extended himself during the years before they met. She gave her life to this family. To then be betrayed and hurt beyond hurt, many years later, by this step family of children she had loved for so long. She never harmed any of them.
To achieve their end she was forced into being witness to the degradation and shaming of me, her daughter Louise, because they couldn’t have exactly what they wanted – me to be gone. They attempted to deprive this woman of the love of her own child.
All the mothers out there just imagine having to sit back and watch the verbal and recorded persecution of your child, and not be able to do anything? Over time the pain of this drove her to take her own life. The actions of the Houston children forced my mother into the deep introspective work of coming to terms with past hurts and abuse that she had avoided all her life. It was not reasonable or compassionate to expect this well-meaning and uneducated woman to go into the deep and dark recesses of past pains at such an elderly age.
This is about a daughter who was bonded with her mother as a child. Then, after several years of estrangement, we first saw each other again as I got off the Harbour Air flight from Vancouver to Victoria. We bonded again instantly. The past hurts evaporated in that moment.
She had a beautiful smile on her face on that lovely September day in 2007. We were so happy to see each other. As a lead-up to this reunion we had corresponded for about 2 years. Time and age had helped us heal and return to each other after this separation. This falling-out was fraught with the pain of an abusive, disconnected and dysfunctional family long ago. We were meant to be together but trauma and circumstances got in the way. It never occurred to us that this pain would be used against us in an attempt to rip us apart and deprive her of her spousal rights.
I was shattered by the Houston children and clan not being interested in getting to know me when it was offered to them, to the degree to which it would have been in the best interest of all concerned. When I asked them to come together in a friendly meeting to build a bridge to understanding these adult professionals whined about not wanting to waste their time, their father implored them to come. During these few short hours there was a hostile atmosphere in the room. One Houston clan member impatiently said during this get-together, “is it over yet, can we go home now”. This was their level of commitment in creating an agreeable situation that could have prevented the hell that was to come.
This is about an old and lovely gentle gentleman who wrote a Power of Attorney and mirror Wills with his beloved wife Angela of over 34 years.
Angela was “the love of his life” as he told us all. His wife liked to tell people as she beamed from ear to ear, “he never ever said an unkind word to me”. Revealing the heart of this man. It was well-known in the community that Bob adored his wife, to the envy of many.
This private and dignified man cried, yes I mean cried, one afternoon while I massaged his sore and aching feet, he then said, “I don’t understand what my children are doing. It is no ones’ business what my wife and I do with our P/A and Wills.” His first priority was his wife not his adult privileged children. Dr. Houston was a Doctor in Malta during World War 11. He was an honorable and principled man. He knew it was his obligation, and also his willful desire, to provide for his wife her spousal rights should he pass first, he did. No one had a say, or had the right to an opinion, about our parents private affairs and be privy to why they made the decisions they did. I expected and accepted that without question; it would seem his children did not. The legal documents tell the story as it unfolded; unfortunately with only their perspective. (I will attach links to some of these documents in due course)
This is about Dr. Houston’s children, who had their own agenda about what our elderly parents should write in these most sacrosanct and private of documents.
Our esteemed law did not honour Dr. Bob Houston’s Power of Attorney; this allowed the Houston clan to step in taking over Mrs. Houston’s property without her knowledge and permission. Since I don’t understand how or why this happened it is difficult for me to explain it to you. Legal advise did not enlighten Mrs.Houston or myself in this regard. Or perhaps we were given some explaination but made no sense to us. I believe the gravitas of these adult children and their positions in life gave them immediate credibility and access to do anything they wanted and to be heard in a court of law and be trusted with it.
Mrs. Houston was not able to attend her husbands funeral because of the actions taken by the Houston clan she was in so much distress. She found out what they had done to her a couple of days after her husband died. She collapsed in heart-break. It was told to us by several people who attended Bob’s funeral that some members of the Houston clan were saying Mrs. Houston was not of sound mind. This was disputed by several Doctors, saying this was certainly not the case, she was as sharp as a tack.
They loved their father but the actions they took against his wife, and me, was not justified or validated. And it most definitely and unequivocally did not demonstrate love and respect for this wonderful man. This man, along with his wife, gave them everything. Gratitude was what should have been on their agendas.
They had the opportunity to take this hatred they had for me in a different direction, they chose not to. In my opinion they had controlled Mrs. and Dr. Houston for so long they felt they were loosing their grip and made manifest their own worst fears as a reflection of their own dysfunction. This is what I call a ‘self fulfilling prophesy’, “A false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the originally false conception come true.” The problem with this is 3 people, Mrs. & Dr. Houston and myself, paid a very hefty price on all levels.
This raging storm of hatred and superiority took Mrs. & Dr. Houston, and myself completely by surprise. We had no idea this tempest was barreling down on us, resulting in seven years of court case after court case. We were intent on reacquainting ourselves and learning about each other. We were filled with love, forgiveness and gratitude; sounds so silly now. Whatever thoughts we initially had of acceptance and support from the Houston children and clan went quickly out the window while blaming ourselves for trusting that they were good and decent people. We had no idea they had so much hatred in their hearts for someone they didn’t even know. The court documents are case in point. I am of the opinion their reactionary, intolerant and supercilious attitude is what drove them to destroy all of us. Mrs. & Dr. Houston left this world with broken hearts and I am left a broken person.
This is about our Canadian System of Justice. As a basic principle of the law we are all ‘presumed innocent until proven guilty’. But what if you are not on trial? Rather you are being used and exploited under the umbrella of the law by those who have an agenda to get rid of what they perceive to be their ‘phantom’ obstacle. In a case to which you do not have a voice or right to defend yourself. In legal terms you are not on trial. But, rather a scapegoat and victim of a system that will allow people to deliberately and willfully vilify and defame someone else. They made up or extrapolated from situations that may or may not have happened 20-30 years ago in my mother’s and my life. Incidents they were not even involved in.
I was always under the belief that a court case rises or falls on the evidence. I unwisely thought that truth and proof go hand in hand when engaging with the law. When one side has no evidence to support their accusations and the person being blamed can’t defend herself, what do you do? At first you trust the law wont allow this to happen; to become so disillusioned you end up taking your owe life as my mother did. I always thought you can’t accuse someone of a crime they haven’t committed just because you think they may. We all know what it feels like to be helpless and hopeless in some way or another but when inaccuracies are recorded in a court of law, with only one sides interpretation of the truth, what would you do to correct this injustice? Justice could not, and did not, serve Mrs. and Dr. Houston. It flies in the face of common sense and humanity.
I worry for all the many elderly people out there who could have everything taken from them by greedy family and be left with nothing; no dignity, no money and no peace of mind. I call this “elder abuse”.
This is about working through the emotional mutilation of me.
The shaming of me has almost taken me out. Slogging through the mortification and finding myself on the edge of despair. I watched, helpless, my mother be torn between the love of me and her step-children. Watching my mother be so happy on the one hand to be back together with me and on the other hand be in the depth of depression from the betrayal by the Houston clan. I did everything in my power to care for her but no one can ever fill a soul that has been crushed.
As I go along with this blog and figure out what goes where, perhaps, I will be able to contemplate and then articulate how this all started in the first place, reaching such a horrible end. Making logic out of the illogical, and meaning out of the mean-spirited.
“I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. I will not refuse to do something I can do.” as said by Helen Keller. Ms. Keller overcame the adversity of being blind, deaf and mute to become one of the 20th Century’s leading humanitarians and political activists. If she could speak up so can I.
I, Louise Fowler, will take my power back and speak up against those who wish to discredit, abuse, and silence those of us who don’t carry the trust of others given by job titles and financial means.
My wings have been sheared, my breath is shallow and labored, my eyes don’t want see and my ears can’t hear anymore cruelty, my voice has been shushed, my body is atrophying, my traumatized mind is shutting down from the shock of such callous duplicity, and my heart is throbbing in pain dear reader, I ask for your attention because I would like to be heard but also…
……..this could happen to you!