March 7, 2014

A Legacy Unwanted

As the days pass and the lingering pain of intentional hurtfulness diminishes I have been able to come to a clear vision of the legacy that I am glad I avoided.

I am not sure that time alone always heals wounds.  Rather I think it is the wisdom that comes with allowing yourself to be separated from the situation itself.  In reality I have spent more than 10 years healing the wounds inflicted on me and if it weren't for that time I don't think I would have gotten to this awareness as quickly as I did.

I have been able to come to the realization of what I proudly saved my family from.  Let's be honest there is no one out there who wouldn't mind a monetary inheritance.  As much as my kids are hurt to have not even been acknowledged by their grandmother they were not surprised and have adopted this mindset ~ you can't miss what you never had.

I spent some time wondering, what if, should I have? That's a very dangerous game to play and it almost had me spiraling out a bit. What if I had let the kids stay connected?  Reality: She never reached out to my kids at any time. Should I have at sent birthday cards? Reality: I had not received one from her in quite a while, they had always come from my Dad.  

What I believe was truly left behind was a legacy of manipulation and divisiveness.  My sister was willing to rewrite our family history, deny the abuse others so clearly saw, and pretend she grew up in a house where love and respect flourished.  She was also willing to expose her child to a compromised set of values.  To show her daughter that it is okay to pretend to care for someone, at the expense of others, if there's financial gain to be had.  To teach her that it is OK to knowingly disrespect, better yet deny that our father would have wanted things differently.  To perpetuate the misconception that you can truly only love one child, one grandchild.
 Would a financial inheritance have been worth the cost of bringing that into our lives?

Do I believe I was entitled to 50% of the inheritance?  My mother and I have had no relationship for over 10 years.  For most people it is only the time and relationships immediately preceding their death that seems to matter. So with that mindset I don't think I was entitled to 50%.  But this is what I do believe.  Her estate wasn't achieved in the 11+ years since my father's passing.  She didn't buy a house and pay off the mortgage in that time.  The monies in her many accounts were acquired while she was married to my father.  What I believe is that I was entitled to 50% of his half of the estate. Unfortunately in his death as well as most of my life my father didn't protect me from my mother.  Despite promising to do otherwise he chose to die without a will.  I believe in my heart that I was entitled to 25% of the final estate.  She could have easily left that to my three children.

What I was struggling with most was the wording of her bequest; the use of "Beloved" Granddaughter.  This was obviously a malicious choice.  That is not a word commonly used and most certainly one not to have ever come out of my mother's mouth.  Someone encouraged the use of that word.  Someone knew the pain it would extract.  Well I hope Someone felt accomplished for a couple of days.  Maybe, just maybe, it did come from my mother in the hopes that she'd be called "Beloved" herself; maybe she did indeed buy that endearment.

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