Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Soap Opera, Anyone?

Yesterday, I found out that my stepmother died. IN OCTOBER. I just happened to be on the internet and ran across her obituary. No, I was not notified. Should I have been? I guess I can't say, not truthfully, anyway. Her sister did try to call me, but I have moved and she called the old phone number at the house. I was upset..for so, SO many reasons. Let me try and fill you in...

This woman has been my stepmother since I was eight years old. (That's alot of years.) I know for a fact that she resented me all my life, but I could never really blame her, as being married to my dad was no picnic, and that has to be the understatement of the century. She did try with me, and I loved her. After I grew up, she was a wonderful grandmother to my kids..they worshipped the ground she walked on. She was the kind of grandma that every kid wants---the kind that will get out and play with you...isn't afraid to get dirty, exert herself..whatever. In the poor times of my life, had it not been for Dorothy, my kids would have been naked. She was wonderful to them, and to me, in what she did for them.

You all remember that my dad died on January 1st, 2005. During his illness, I realized that Dorthy's mind was going, and at that time, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. While my dad was sick, she tried to hold it together, but after he died, she let it all hang out and just plain HATED me. I am sure that is because of her illness, but it hurt me, nonetheless. We did not speak to one another the last three years of her life. In fact, she did not speak to many of her friends, or to alot of her family...she had become paranoid and believed that so many of us were out to get her. She did befriend a few people that she has always found distasteful before she lost her mind...a woman that my dad had a long-term affair with became her "best friend", and a cousin of mine became her main family. Dorothy knew about the affair with Kathy, and of course to say that she disliked her is also a huge understatement...but that is who she put her trust in, once she became ill. As far as my cousin goes, she was one of her least favorite people on the planet, too. She also still talked to her own nieces and nephews, and I think there are three of them. It saddens me to think that she died so lonely...and I seriously mean that. She was a good woman, before she became sick, and my heart aches to think that she had no one around her that loved her for HER, instead of what she could do for them. But she had managed to push everyone that honestly cared about her away.

My father died without a will. He was in the process of tying up the loose ends in that area when he died. That is his fault, and I know that. I was his only child. Dorothy had no children, ever. Once my dad died, the estate became hers, as it should have. Now that she is gone, there are apparently several wills, all of which were drawn up after she became ill. The entire estate is apparently going to my cousin in one of them. In the others..it's mixed up between my cousin and her nieces and nephews. My father would literally explode if he knew this. However, this could have been prevented, had he just taken care of his own business. To say that this upsets me would also be a huge understatement. To tell you all that it's not about the money would not be believable, by most of you. But it isn't...not entirely. There are THINGS that I want so badly that belonged to my dad...a photograph of him and Dale Earnhardt, and antique chair that belonged to my GREAT grandmother...other sentimental things. Then, there is the money. And I can't deny that I believe that HALF of that million-dollar estate should be mine. Yes, I do feel that it should, if you all think I am acting like a money-grubbing snot, I apologize. I did not know until recently, the sense of family...the sense of entitlement that goes along with losing a parent. My father worked hard all of his life, for what he owned. Dorothy did too---I am not saying that it wasn't hers to give. However, I know what my dad wanted, and he wanted me to have it, he told me. But, he did not take care of his end of it. And I have no legal leg to stand on. None, whatsoever. And that really, really upsets me. I am doing my best to let it go. I knew when he died with no will that this would end up happening...but I really thought that it would all go to HER family, and that at least made sense in my head. Her sisters, her nieces and nephews. But for the bulk of it to go to my own cousin...his niece, when he had a daughter is like the biggest slap in the face. He had no use for my cousin...never in his life. He knew the kind of person she was, he had her pegged for a "user" long ago. I guess he was right. Unfortunately, she feels that I have no right to any of it, not even the things that I would like to have. So, I just let it go, right? I'm working on it....

Where's the tylenol?


SOUL: said...

i know it isn't about the money. and i know how you feel about that photo. even if that were all that you could have... it would be something. something that even i know is just in your heart.
i do know what it's like to watch so many years of your own father be bagged up and sent away to "a stranger".. or someone it shouldn't go to. without a thought to "you". it's just heartbreaking. really. cousin.. -the 'other' parents kids- goodwill, yardsales- etc. even into the trash. something that would mean the world to one of us-- that held our strongest memories.. a clock, that's burned in your mind for eternity-- thrown in the trash-- because "she hated that thing". a barstool you painted for him as a child..prolly standing on two and a half legs by now- sent to goodwill.. it was thirty five years old."

i do understand. and i know the money would have made a huge difference in your life. and i know that on top of all of that you have the grief of her loss, , the resentment due to the cousin.. who i agree.. it was wrong.

but-- you are right. it will be hard to accept all of this. just take it in slowly. you have a heart of gold, and i know you will rise above this. just cuz you're you.
and God knows what he's doing.

take it slowly. don't let this big plate of everything make you chokee --- baby steps.

i love you.
i'm sorry you have to deal with this on top of everything else.
i'm always "an electronic device" away. you know that right?

"no matter what"
big sloppy hugs j

Trav said...

Hey Sis- What cousin? I dont know
if I know who it could be. I am
sorry- sorry that love hurts but
what is the point without it? I
love you my sweet sister. Wish
I could hug you and sit across
from you and have really good
coffee. I am a really good
listener if you need me. You know
how much I love to talk but I can
shut up and listen - much love
sweetie. xoxoxoxo

Vickie said...

We have a very special friend in common---Gypsy and I have read you for some time. I seldom leave comments.

I understand your feelings very much and would like to share some information you might want to check on and see if it will help you. I do not know the state you live in and the law. For example the state I live my dad died and had no will so the estate was split equally among spouse and children. Is there any chance the state your dad lived in might have that. We found this out only because the my dad's estate was never probated---I always thought it was my moms and there never no reason to until she became ill. Now we have problems. In some ways but in other ways it has really saved us.
So check and see if since there was no will everything goes to the spouse in the the state he resided---next was his estate probated so she from then on had Power of Attorney. If so that that is where it will become more sticky for you. This is what I found out when I went to an attorney to help me deal with very similiar issues.
wishing you the best.---Just remember every state is different this is my backward state.

ac said...

Jamie, I'm so sorry. I can only imagine how much this hurts. ac

M Chickk said...

Its just the principality of it that gets you, I know. And that she feels you have no right to any of your dads things is just so unfair. That act alone speaks volumes to the kind of person you are dealing with. I am so sorry.

Mary said...

Jamie, I responded to this via email. Thinking of you.

Golden To Silver Val said...

I know just about how you feel. Something similar happened to me with my grandmother but I won because I was the closest living blood relative. Do you think that if you asked for some of these items that have sentimental value to you and no value to them....that they would give them to you? Doesn't hurt to ask. I'm so sorry you're having to go through this on top of everything else on your plate. Hopefully "they" will do the right thing. Big hugs Jamie.

Brad said...

People can turn into real monsters when it comes to this stuff. It's a good lesson for everyone to get their house in order as far as wills go. I'm sorry this is happening sweets.

desert dirt diva said...

hope all works =out...

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Jamie. Of course you are upset about this and it doesn't make you a money grubbing anything honey. It's what's right and fair. It sounds like that cousin of yours has very little in the way of morals but karma will sort her out.

I hope what Vickie said will help, *hi Vickie*. If not, trust that what goes around comes around and then try and let it go. You already have so much on your plate. I would hate to see this send you on a downward spiral. Big Gypsy hugs hon.

Terri said...

crap that's a toughie, as the daughter of the couple you should surely have the rights to some things and for your cousin to not recognize that is a travesty. I don't know how you do anything but pray about it and then let it go. But it sucks.

SOUL: said...

just sayin hi--
i'm around, but only for a bit.
hope you have a good day

Cheryl said...

I've been meaning to have a will done for...forever. This is a real incentive. Your cousin should know the right thing to do. Shame on her for not sharing, regardless of what your stepmother's will.