I'm not talking about the little cutsie round-shaped cartoon that appeared in the Sunday Comic Section of newspapers nationwide for many years....I'm talking about my very own loved ones (and less love today than yesterday). You'll recall my list of things that have gone on in my family from earlier this year. And here all of these years I thought we were perfect all these years...hehehe. I do have to admit, we have been a loving family, a big family, a family who spent many holidays together, stayed close-knit, caring, admiring, family dinners, lots of birthday parties, the whole gig. We were truly a nice, caring, close family. And when I say family, I mean the extended version including aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Today, however, it's beginning to look a bit more like a freak show than anything else....you know, with the third eye, the extra appendage, the two heads.
There's been a problem with my great aunt's will. She is 87 years old and really doesn't have much anyway. My mother, cousins, myself, and a variety of others have cared for her for her whole life. Great Aunt Ruth has been an integral part of all of our lives and we've all spent time caring for her. She was my grandmother's sister who never married and lived with my grandparents for the entirety of their lives....from 1940. She was willed the house by my grandmother when grandma went into a nursing home. Great Aunt Ruth's will designated two family members as executors and divided what few remaining assets between my grandmother's three remaining children. All as it should be in a perfect, fair world.
Fast forward to last week when my mother discovered that there is a "new will." What? Excuse me? Why? Apparently it was drawn up numerous years ago when my cousin Tom took Great Aunt Ruth to his own personal lawyer "because Great Aunt Ruth wanted to make a few changes to her will." So now, the will appoints only Cousin Tom as the solitary executor and divides assets between only two people.....1/2 to Cousin Tom and 1/2 to my mother (the only remaining sibling). Cousin Tom won't allow anyone to actually see the will.....this is all hearsay from his reading it to my mother over the telephone. My mother is very upset -- and I rarely, if ever, see her upset. She's claiming that it's not fair. It's not what my grandmother would have wanted from her home and assets. And Cousin Tom is not the only one who has helped take care of Great Aunt Ruth...it's been a family affair all along. Plus, he's the very last one who would possibly need any additional assets added to his bank account. He's a Republican, conservative, a former military man who prided himself on his time in Vietnam flying helicopters -- and he's just a little too big for his conservative britches.
My mom is really distraught. And rightfully so. So, my cousins went to Aunt Ruth and talked her through the whole thing....and that Grandma would not want the will to look the way it currently does. "You're right," she says. So, they go back to the lawyer to have it redrawn more equitably and fairly. But Cousin Tom jumps into the middle of the fray and tells Great Aunt Ruth to "not sign a thing." So, my mom and cousins get into a big old cat fight with Great Aunt Ruth and tell her that she's out of the picture from now on. They've taken care of her all of their lives and have had it. Great Aunt Ruth will not be included in the family gatherings any more...nor Cousin Tom. Whee.........
In a family that has prided itself on unity, being together, staying together, can't we just go back to the simplicity of the Family Circus days?