When our dad died, I’d wanted to share little tidbits with my sister of who he was … who he’d become over the 25-some years she’d had very little to do with him at all.
He’d been the center of mine and my daughters’ world. Our rock, our saving grace, our everything that was hope and decency in our very challenging lives.
I bought into her exaggerated whispers of heartache dripping with excessive never before seen or heard compassion.
Hook, line, and sinker, I bought it. I assumed her pain had to come close to my own, although she’d barely acknowledged him for over 25 years.
Still, the loss had to be great for her too, right? Maybe even more so for her because she’d been so uncaring and uninvolved… who was I to assume our pain and loss ran the deepest? The most catastrophic?
So every opportunity I had to share some little story of his kindness, his beautiful heart, his selflessness and dedication, I jumped at because I wanted her to get the chance to see his last 25 years accurately. I wanted her to know our dad even though she’d chosen not to know him so well for many years.
When I told her the charming story of his new-ish lazy boy recliner he’d recently bought… how he’d struggled with the thought of spending that much on himself for a chair he loved, how proud of that chair he’d been, how much he’d enjoyed it after allowing himself such a much deserved simple luxury, she looked at me with vacant eyes and said, Do you think we can return it?
i thought to myself, RETURN IT?? After the story i just shared with you? Omg, this chair meant so much to him! He was so proud of it! Why would we ever try to return it?
When she scoured through his kitchen cabinets and came to the set of dishes he’d had since before we were born, I brought up memories of him cooking delicious meals for us and never looking my way at all, she simply said, Yeah…. these are so vintage they might actually be worth some money!
I thought to myself, SELL THEM? The memories that come with these dishes are quite literally countless and priceless to me. I will cherish them every time I even look at them. Every meal eaten in them will feel infinitely special for their memories. Why would we ever sell them?
When she filtered through his finances with prying greedy eyes, I told her how generous he’d been with my children and me, how I wasn’t sure how we’d have survived sometimes without his generosity. She scoffed and very snidely said, Gawdddd, he didn’t live on much, did he?
I thought to myself, yeah, he worked hard to be able to have some security but mostly he worked hard to help my children and I with basics and a few luxuries now and then to make us smile. He lived simply his entire life just to be able to do these things. Greed, extravagance, and excess just weren’t in his nature.
In the probate attorney’s office as the lawyer went through what our dad literally worked his entire life to save for retirement, as I felt I might vomit just thinking about spending a penny of his hard earned lifetime achievement, as I sobbed with every part of my body and soul, and said, I don’t really care about his money; he worked a lifetime for that and he never got to really enjoy it. She eagerly and quite brightly said, I care about the money! I wanna hear about the money!!
Yet, when I insisted we honor his last wishes and jointly be executors of his estate; when I said I felt like it was wrong to have her do it alone, no matter how much she manipulated me and feigned compassion to get me to give her that.. when I said, he’s done so much for me and my children, I want so much to honor his wishes and at the least, now help take care of resolving his entire life. I feel it’s the least I can do for him now.
She sneered in sheer undisguised disgust and said, You don’t want to do that for him. You only care about yourself. You only want to do it for yourself.
And, as usual, I felt confused. How could taking care of his estate and his belongings, wrapping up the final details of my dad’s entire life… How could doing that ever be all about me? It actually was physically painful to me to be rifling through his entire life… handling the last pieces of everything he ever was, did, or had. In it for myself??? That didn’t even make sense to me…
It never occurred to me then that her intentions were completely devious and so the thought of anyone wanting to do it just because it was his wish, just to feel like I’d honored his last wishes, just to feel that I’d finally be able to do something for him..one last thing….
Anything that sincere and noble in his honor was utterly foreign to someone so overwhelmed with the excitement of benefiting from his death in every possible way she could finagle.
What a filthy disgusting sociopath, so goddamn excited for how much she could gain from her dad’s sudden death that she literally couldn’t even conceive of someone truly just desperate to honor his memory and cherish the last chance to ever take care of him in some way… even if it only was after he was dead.
The thought now of me treating her as if she genuinely hurt or as if she had even lost anything at all, makes me want to puke.
Yeah, our loss was definitely “equal”. I was definitely “in it for myself”…
Holy hell, hindsight is painfully 20/20.