Monday, March 22, 2010

Money

This is a discussion I avoid at almost all costs.  Money.  Yet I am surrounded by it. 

Literally.  By way of my profession.

My family was wealthy.  So now that they are gone, I am left with a mess.  It's not a mess to most people but rather an inheritance.  I have now stood up the estate attorney four times.  I make the appointment and then I don't go.  His office assistant drives me crazy.  She probably is a pretty nice person and she probably wouldn't drive me crazy if I showed up for appointments. 

I get in my car.  I drive down the freeway.  I have even made it to his office.  And then I break out into a cold sweat, my head begins to spin, and my heart pounds with the anticipation of finality.  And then I leave.  I just can't do it.  I can't go in and legally acknowledge what has happened.

My family is gone.  A family that I never quite had in the first place.  So if I never had them, did I really loose them at all?  Perhaps my loss is bigger, even different than just their physical presence.  My loss was the chance for a caring mother; a loving father; a best friend for a sister.  I never had these things.  But I hoped for them.  I begged for them.  I even prayed for them.

Well meaning people offer me encouragement and ideas for what to do with these funds.  I nod my head and listen but each idea hits a dead spot in my brain and travels to a broken part of my heart.  Money doesn't make this better.  And while this would be a welcome addition for most; it is a painful insult to my own existence because I did not die.

I survived and they did not.  And for walking through hell I get the prize.  When I sign those papers I will make this official.  The black and white proof of their end and perhaps my own twisted beginning.  I want to say that this is good.

But all I feel is that money makes a dirty and really shitty band-aid.

19 comments:

Catherine said...

Dear one,

I don't know your whole story but it sounds like you are in a lot of pain. It has to be so hard even thinking about going to the attorney and taking care of the money issue. The finality must be heart wrenching.

Wishing you some comfort.

Love, Catherine

Friko said...

Money is just money, it has to be tidied up; it is a job you have to do.If you really don't want it, just sign it over to a deserving cause or other.
As in, "let it do some good somewhere".

If that is not your idea of a solution, take it and put it aside for your daughter. Your family is gone, whether you take the money or not and you will now never get from them what you wanted. It's over.
You are the survivor, now YOU make the decisions, Surviving is a good thing, it shows strength, resilience, determination, character. You are here, you pick up the pieces.

Take courage.

Deborah said...

I'm with Friko on this one, Jennifer. She's pragmatic and down to earth - there aren't a million ways out of this predicament and you can't practice avoidance forever. Having said that, what's behind your avoidance is very understandable. It means looking your 'survivorship' right in the face, but haven't you already done that, actually? This visit to the lawyers office is heavy with symbolism, but perhaps only if you make it that way.
Glad to see you here again.

JeannetteLS said...

I've felt similar ways now that I am the last one. When my sister died and I sat with my checks and we closed her estate,my teeth started chattering and I screamed at them ALL. "SO you all had me sit with you while you died, you all put me in some little box of POOR JEANNETTE when you were alive, and now who the F*** is gonna be here with ME? So that's IT? I'm IT?" I screamed. And we all know it was from someplace where there are no words. The money is the money and I finally felt it this way, I DID live. I am here. The money helped me and it helped a few others around me, even if only for a while and it was no kind of band aid at all. But it DID give me some time without as much worry. Time to look deeper, to begin to see what it might be now, this being the last one. It sucks... yup. But it also has freedom in it. We can ditch the last of the demons. We can fly however we choose, without fear of any of those voices, no matter how we may have even LOVED some of them, no fear of those voices altering our flights.

It hurts and sometimes we don't even know why. But avoiding the lawyer won't help for long, if at all. And you can look at the money however YOU CHOOSE. For your family. Or MAYBE, and this is just a thought, FOR YOU. You had the right to be the one to survive. I hope you are okay and it is good to see you writing. Hope I did not overstep any lines for you.

Each of us is different. But I sure did feel the power of being the survivor ... the youngest of my clan, the last one at 54 years old. WEIRD. And yes, my sister was my best friend, but she also held me back--I let her and she pulled at me. I can no longer hope for the relationships I will never have with that family. I can only look at the people around me now, the relationships I am creating now. They are WAY better. And NOW? Now that they are gone, I can pick and choose the bits of them I want to hold onto and look far more closely and clearly at what the MESS did to me, but also FOR me.

And money is money and is no better or worse than what you wind up doing with it. You'll figure it out... on YOUR terms. Best to you today.

maggie said...

It sounds really scary for you. What would be the problem with putting it off for a specific amount of time then check in again. Maybe the scared part of you wants to be heard and listened to then it maybe won't be as scary if she feels she has someone in her corner?
Blessing to you Jennifer.

svasti said...

Can you get someone to go with you to the attorney's office? That might help you get through the door.

I understand how signing the piece of paper will make things official but there's nothing much you can do about that. The reality is that your parents are dead and they were shitty parents.

And yeah I agree with other comments here. If you don't want it, donate it to a charity for abused kids. Or save it for your daughter's education. You parents owe you that much at least.

Money isn't personal and it never really solves any problems. Pay off the debts of another person and unless they've learned how to manage money better, they'll end up in debt again.

I've never been wealthy but if I was, I know I couldn't keep it all to myself. I'd give some of it away to family and friends, and charities I want to support. There's what we need to live comfortably and then there's excess. Personally, I think having "too much" is what causes complacency. And in the case of your parents, perhaps also a sense of entitlement to do whatever the heck they wanted?

Who knows. But the sooner this is over, the better you will feel. I really believe that.

English Rider said...

Settling an estate is always fraught with deep and conflicting feelings, no matter how big or how small. I thank my parents for their responsibility and for leaving something to my sister and myself. We both agree we would rather have had them spend every penny joyously and in good health, on themselves. Beyond our control. Don't let the lawyers eat it up.

anavar said...

It's not money, that makes a problem here. You said you never really had a family, but wished for one. Well... as long as they were alive, you knew you have a chance to get a loving family, but time has overtaken you and took your chance to get the family you always wanted. This is the problem, not money. I think you leave this money as it is, because you are not prepared to go on. You have to find a peace in your heart first. And then you'll have plenty ideas what to do with it (and maybe even find a joy in investing/spending it).

Take a time for meditation, talk to your family, tell them everything you have in your mind - sadness, loneliness, anger, love. Talk loud and you will fell those emotions going away. Next you can try with charity - help one poor person or family, do one good thing - this will bring new positive energy to your life. In the end - if I was helpful, you can still give some money to me ;)

I don't have much money, but helping other, gives me much joy than spending time alone with full wallet.

Betty Bishop said...

Perfectly understandable Shattered. I am sure he has been stood up before. I didn't go to the reading of my mother's will - my car simply turned right when it was supposed to turn left! I wonder how long they waited for the executor to arrive? Maybe tell his assistant you are having problems with it and will come in and sign when you can - without an appointment. Whats the rush? It can't be done by fax? There is usually more than one way to skin a cat. I am glad your family left you something other than pain. One day I imagine you will also be glad. A dirty band aid is better than no band aid at all.
take care of yourself,
Betty
I am so damn practical - isn't it sickening!

Shattered said...

Catherine, yes, I am in a lot of pain. I hope that it will someday stop. Thank you for reading.

Shattered said...

Friko, you are right and yes, money is just money. I am finally taking some steps to put this part of the process to an end. I do want this money to do some good and yes, that is a benefit of surviving.

Shattered said...

Deborah, it is looking this survivorship in the face and for some reason, even though I have glanced at it before, staring it down now is terrifying. I have taken a few steps to finalize these things and I think I'll be OK if I can do like you said and take the symbolism out of the actual act of signing.

Shattered said...

Jeannette,

"SO you all had me sit with you while you died, you all put me in some little box of POOR JEANNETTE when you were alive, and now who the F*** is gonna be here with ME? So that's IT? I'm IT?" I screamed. And we all know it was from someplace where there are no words."

Yep, that pretty much sums it up. Thank you. I think that facing the loss is the hardest part of this. I was not close with my sister and my parents... well, nevermind about that.

There is some power realized in being a survivor... once you get past the guilt of surviving when others did not.

Thank you for your encouragement and input.

Shattered said...

Maggie, thank you. I'm taking smaller steps to get there. In a way, I'm organinzing my own feelings before I face the lawyer. I don't know if that's the perfect way to deal with this but it feels better than before.

Shattered said...

Svasti,

"But the sooner this is over, the better you will feel. I really believe that."

Thank you, I believe this as well. I didn't reschedule my appt with the attorney and not having that looming over me is helping me actually take some forward moving steps.

Shattered said...

"Settling an estate is always fraught with deep and conflicting feelings, no matter how big or how small... Beyond our control. Don't let the lawyers eat it up."

ER, thank you for your wise input. You're right, this really is beyond my control even though my feelings are very conflicting.

Shattered said...

Anavar,

"It's not money, that makes a problem here. You said you never really had a family, but wished for one. Well... as long as they were alive, you knew you have a chance to get a loving family, but time has overtaken you and took your chance to get the family you always wanted. This is the problem, not money. I think you leave this money as it is, because you are not prepared to go on. You have to find a peace in your heart first. And then you'll have plenty ideas what to do with it (and maybe even find a joy in investing/spending it)."

Thank you for seeing this and acknowledging it. And you're right, I'm taking smaller steps to find my own peace and that is helping.

Shattered said...

Betty, I love how your car just happened to go the wrong direction. I have postponed making another appointment and that has actually helped me move forward without that looming in the future. Thank you for your practicality!

Ruth said...

The grief is that you lost the chance for a father and mother. It's over. Hope for those two archetypes died with them. Finito. Grieve it, my dear woman. Grieve as long as you need to.

God, I'm no therapist.