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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Respect and Appreciation

I have a relationship with my mother that is neither comfortable nor loving, as I have described before. However, yesterday she gave me an unexpected gift. The gift of respect and appreciation.

When my parents drew up their wills many years ago, I was named Executor in both. It was what my dad wanted. When he passed away, I got quite involved with making sure everything was done properly, mainly because the lawyer was such an eejit (Scottish for idiot). It didn't make matters any easier that it was a will drawn up here while it was still under British control (and it's now a Special Administrative Region of China), so we had to jump through a few hoops to get it re-validated to satisfy Scottish law.

Since then, my mother has drawn up another will, to make things easier when the time comes. She had never told me about it, nor that my brother had been named Executor. She'd told my sister and my brother, naturally, locking me out of the entire process for some reason. When my sister let slip, not knowing I hadn't been told, it hurt but I figured there was nothing I could do about it and no point in even questioning it. When she finally told me, she said only that she'd signed a new will and so I asked for a copy as I'd had copies of them both before. She said yes, she'd send it to me, but it never came.

Yesterday, she called me and asked me if it would be OK to put me in as Executor instead of my brother. I said yes, of course, it makes more sense with my easier access to communications, my ability to throw time and expense at the issue if necessary. Even then I was trying to give her a comfortable 'out' as to why my brother was her original first choice. She hesitated and said no, it's because I think you are the one best suited to take on this responsibility.

I don't know if something has happened to make her wary of my brother having the role, or if she felt badly that she wasn't honouring my dad's wishes. Whatever her reason, I feel respected, appreciated, valued.

Maybe this is her only way of showing love. But more likely, it's because I'm the one with the least vested interest and I'm also the most practical of her children. The best one for the job, so to speak.


Zibi said...

Hi Fiona. I was made executor of my dad's estate and being the eldest in the family it wasn't an easy ride sorting it all out. I'm just glad it's all over and everyone is happy.

Fiona said...

Hi Zibi - am glad you got yours sorted. My dad's was fairly simple because it basically all went to my mum. Upon her passing however, it's to go between the three of us and I do feel a battle might be brewing somewhere. I just hope when I see the will, it has remained an even three-way split, as my dad would have wanted it.

Last time the difficulty lay in making sure the lawyer didn't just sit on it...which he did in my opinion for way too long.

I'm the middle child, with an older brother. It was for good reason that my dad chose me but my mother has always been pro her son, against her two daughters.

One of the saddest moments after my dad's death was sitting watching her give to my brother, all the precious things of my dad's career, his sextant, chronometer, crew books. She even gave his watch to my brother's son, not to my sister or I. When challenged, she just said...your father would have wanted his son to have all this. It broke my heart because I knew it wasn't true, but I didn't want to fight.

I have my dad's memories....and his genes, the most precious thing of all.

Miranda said...

I'm the co-executor, as Im the only child in the city, ones in the states, another in another province.

I'm not looking forward to that time.

Last week my eldest (Im the baby and the only girl) called me and asked me to be the 'power of attorney' so to speak. In case he became ill or in a car accident, if I'd be the one to sign the papers to pull the plug. I wasn't quite sure what to think about that, but said I'd do it.

I had to make up a living will for my dad when he was sick back in '94, without my mom knowing, as he was extremely ill. I hated that.

In fact I hate all that shit, but I know it needs to be done.

Jac said...

I think women still hold out the fantasy that the son will be the rescuing male in their lives, and relate to their daughters more as extensions of themselves. Therefore moms give us all different love. Probably respect and admiration is the most REAL and honest thing you could ever get from her, so it was a magnificent gift!

chele said...

I'm glad whatever it was that changed her mind happened. I just hope for the best as always for YOU.

LePhare2 said...

The worst words you can read in a Will are "and the balance to a Charity or Charities". The problems that can cause. They have lawyers whose job it is to squeeze the last few coppers from peoples estates who have not set a fixed figure on their entitlement.

Sunny Delight said...

She does respect you, and hopefully there is love she has not been able to show...at least you have the first experience behind you, and hopefully it will not be too bad....my husband is sharing it with his uncle..and I dread the fallout...at least you have some distance...that may help

Fiona said...

Miranda, Ian, Sunny...thank you thank you....it helps to hear of other experiences and what to look out for. And Jac and Chele, thank you for the good thoughts and support.

Emily said...

Your mother may be recognising that she hasn't been giving you enough respect and appreciation, if she has realized that you are the best person for the job.

I think it is a huge responsibility to be the executor of her estate and really an enormous compliment.

freebird said...

So glad to hear that she is showing you the appreciation you deserve at last.
BTW, I've been trying to leave comments over the last few days and kept geting error messages. Grrrrr! So, sorry I'm late with this.


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