Becoming an Orphan

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,



13 thoughts on “Becoming an Orphan

    • Thanks, Jacquie. I was never alone, Jacquie. I’ve had my husband, my children and a brother I’ve “adopted” from the dojo to keep me sane and centered. No one has let me turn to the dark side. Still a Jedi-in-training. 🙂 Having a network of people who love and support me is probably the blessing I most appreciate every day. I’m simply happy to move beyond ties that destroy.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. You and a gazillion other people have been torn apart through death of a family member. Jealously and greed often take over. My family slipped right into that pattern. Except I learned a long time ago not to care. Now my parents and siblings are gone, as are my husband’s parents and his siblings. In a way, when I think about it, it’s odd. But I’m here and I have my children. I have two nephews who love me. I don’t see my sister’s two daughters, but I have some contact with one. But she’s frustrating. Come on, kid. You’re in your thirties and you can’t even say thanks Aunty Eez for my Christmas gift? She’s her mother’s child, walking through life with catcher’s mitts and expecting everyone to do for her. So I’ll take what I have and keep going.

    There’s a saying that asks the question: Will it matter in another 10 years? Probably not. Sometimes we just need to let go. Being an orphan really isn’t terrible. We will never forget the things that went awry, but that doesn’t mean we have to harbor the anger. Let it go. Send it into the wind. Have a little ceremony, write it down, then toss it in the fireplace or grill, and let the wind carry it away in the smoke. Because you don’t need it. You are stronger than that cr*p. Look at what you have – two wonderful children, a nice house, nice vehicles, and your very own Prince Charming. It doesn’t get any better than that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, E. Moving forward has allowed me to discuss, at least in part, what has occurred over the last 25 months. Time to leave it were it belongs now that I’m no longer tied to it with constant court involvement.


  2. Leigh, I remember some of the problems you experienced when your parents passed away, but nothing compares to the family issues you had to endure. My prayers for a bright and loving future. It sound as though you’ve done as E. wrote in her post. Let it go. Not easy, but time truly is a healer. Thanks for being part of our group! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so sorry you have to go through this, Leigh. I “divorced” my family years ago, and it was, ultimately, the best decision I ever made for my self-worth. I hope you find peace. You’ve earned it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Like the way you put that, Gina. “Divorced” is a good definition. For me, the two who created the issues and kept them active, no longer exist. That is a good thing, and while not necessarily worth the wait, they certainly earned their banishment. Peace to you as well. Sounds like we both decided to create it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Leigh, as I read your post, at first I was heartbroken for you having a family member turn on you, but as I continued to the end I was cheering for you and smiling at your upbeat attitude and wisdom. You’ve conquered the devil and now seem to be happy and I’m glad for you. Peace.


Please Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.