Thoughts by Richard Bleil
The end of the saga is near. Yes, this will be another update on my father, but I don’t think there will be many more. Basically, this is about completeness, but I also feel like I probably owe an apology, and because I try to hold myself to high standards I’m going to write about this in as public a forum as I traditionally write.
Let’s take a step back. The reality is that I’ve not been involved in communications with my family for a long time, and when you’re not involved your mind tends to go to dark places. Well, mine does; I imagine that it’s human nature, but honestly, I can only speak for myself. Specifically, I am talking about my father’s will which I heard about today.
No, I will not give any details. There are reasons to suspect that dad might have saved up a nice little nest egg, and there are reasons to think that he might have had to spent it down, but the question I’ve had is the division of the assets that do remain. The end of the story is that I’m happy with the way things turned out, but before today my mind was overly active with concern about this. This is the dark place where my mind went, which amounts to a lack of faith. I’m happy that I was wrong in having my concerns, and sorry that I let my mind run away with me.
I have to admit, I’m glad that it’s looking as if this business is wrapping up. The will was more or less the last big unknown in this entire mess. Knowing what to expect with the handling of the will is a great stress that has been lifted.
I’m glad I was wrong on this issue, and probably should make another correction. I have been informed that, in fact, my sister and brother-in-law will be taking possession of my father’s ashes and have plans for some kind of ceremony. I’ve been accused of lying about this when I said that they would be spread without ceremony, but this information was provided to me by a reliable source and was the best information I had at the time. I do not know if the plans were changed or if they planned to take possession all along. The reality is that either way is fine with me. I was raised to be very practical about death and the remains left behind. My father’s body is not my father, and certainly the ashes are not either. I distinctly recall being told by my father about a “free” cemetery plot they were given. The scheme, of course, is to convince the married couple to buy a second plot so husband and wife can be buried together, but when I asked if they were going to buy the second plot, I was told that “of course” they would not because the body is just a body.
I’ve maintained this practicality all along, but I’ve also come to understand that the burial plots are not so much for the couple that have passed on as it is for those left behind. I have a great friend who frequently visits her parents at their burial site, and I’ve come to appreciate the importance of this to her. I can’t say if my sister feels the same way or not, so if she wants the two of them together, I can respect and honor that, but for me personally it’s not so important. That’s just who I am.
My brother-in-law opened what I thought was a very nice door for me today as well. After speaking with my father’s attorney, my brother-in-law asked me to call. Why he didn’t just call me I don’t know; maybe he wanted to give me the option of refusal or postponement, but I called. He told me that my sister and he did not hold any animosity towards me and asked if there was anything that I wanted out of the house. I did ask for just one thing, although I cannot explain why. My father had an old electric drill, with a metal casing making it very heavy, and a power cord. Monetarily it is probably worth almost nothing, but for some reason that I cannot explain, that drill reminds me of my father, so I did ask for that.
I felt as if he had taken the first step to a pathway to repair the relationship and wanted to reciprocate. When my sister called about expecting that dad would be in hospice soon a few weeks back, I took the opportunity then to thank her for looking after him for all of these years and the efforts she described up to that point in the current crisis. Today, when my brother-in-law said that they hold no animosity and are happy to honor my wishes for personal items, I took the opportunity to tell him that I do appreciate what he has been doing.
The reality is that, while I have problems with his approach, I do appreciate what he has been doing. He has been defending his wife (my sister), which is exactly what I believe a husband should do. I appreciate him looking out for her. And he has been working to prepare the estate and take care of the legal issues with my father, which can’t be easy, so I did thank him for doing so.
Then, I said that I didn’t understand why he is reading my blog posts. It’s obvious they have been reading the posts, which I’m certain is why a week ago my read posts suddenly increased by about two hundred hits. Naturally I cannot see who is reading these posts, but that was the time that the stress between myself and my brother-in-law regarding my posts suddenly increased.
What I meant when I said this was not meant to be nefarious. I was happy that he seemed to offer an olive branch, and I was trying to reciprocate with one of my own. There is a very high probability that none of my regular readers even know who my sister and brother-in-law are (I have tried to avoid even using their first names, let alone last), and these posts are basically cathartic for me personally. So, if nobody knows them, why should they worry? Unfortunately, this comment opened a floodgate wherein I was accused again of lying, of saying hurtful things, and even devolved into him asking me to name “just one specific example of when…”
No, I wasn’t willing to play that game. My sister and I both lost a father, we’re both hurting (as are, I’m sure, her husband and children), and the current atmosphere is too high stress and charged. It seems to me that there remains unresolved anger that lead to this exchange, and I have no intention of holding this against him. Instead, I’m happy that at least he opened that door with a gesture, and while I personally feel that he again shut this door, at least I’m not feeling like it’s locked. Given a little time for the stress to subside, who knows? Maybe we’ll talk again.
Time will tell.