I lost my parents within 11 months of one another. Both required care before their deaths and refused all but family assistance – mostly from me and my family. I am the oldest of three children and the only daughter, so in some respects this is understandable for children my age.
Oddly enough, it wasn’t my parent’s deaths that consumed and nearly devastated me, it was the unmitigated and unrelenting estate issues I had with my brothers.
I can write about them in a somewhat detailed and somewhat less visceral way now that my mother’s estate is closed. My father’s estate was formally closed before that, but was, and is, complicated by the fact that he put his real estate assets in all three of our names as joint tenants. I still own one piece of what appears to be non-saleable hunting land in common with my brothers, in Northern Wisconsin.
Once that tie is severed, I will effectively be an orphan; something I had nightmares of as a child.
It is the torture of being linked to people whose purpose is to control and demoralize that did not allow me to grieve properly for my parents.
It’s hard to grieve when you’re treading water.
I was the Personal Representative and Power of Attorney for my father. In an attempt at fairness, my mother named the elder of my brothers as her P.R. and P.O.A. That was a decision I know she lived long enough to regret.
My brother tried and failed to keep me out of the hospital – he succeeded, though, in keeping me out until my mother could no longer communicate verbally. He tried to keep her from saying goodbye to me, her eldest grandchild, and only grandson.
He refused to tell me of the funeral arrangements until two days before.
He would not tell me where my mother’s ashes were for 64 days – I had to appear before a probate judge who threatened to have my brother incarcerated, to find out.
Throughout subsequent court appearances, the judge repeated his threat to jail my brother – calling out his behavior as the most despicably obscene he’d seen in all his decades on the bench, including criminal and children’s court. Having been a child and elder advocate for over twenty years, it was the second worst behavior I’ve seen as well.
Suffice it to say, the totality of what occurred on a personal level was ugly and without merit or cause.
Without that judge’s order, I may never have known where my mother’s remains were ultimately laid to rest. That kind of torture was exactly what was intended by my brothers.
I am now thankful to be an orphan. Hopefully, an orphan who writes.
I have just now begun to write again and I’m finishing a torture scene that has new legitimacy.
Sometimes as we grow we change. Not always for the better, as in the case of my brothers. I am choosing a path that leads toward the better. I haven’t left the past behind, but I am actively relegating the waste of it to the garbage can.
One doesn’t need to experience pain to write about it – all we need to do is write it and perhaps empathize with those undergoing it.
Funny, now that it’s over – mostly because I don’t give two hoots about the land – it’s almost anticlimactic. It’s also a huge relief. I simply no longer fear having no family of birth. I welcome it. I’m also gaining a devilish glee from writing despicable characters based on personal experience.
I am thankful I can find joy in that, no matter how twisted that may be.
Moving forward – gratefully,