Tag Archives: wills

Wills and Trusts…

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When I was a little girl, my mother talked to me often as if I were an adult. I didn’t always understand what she was talking about – adult subjects and language being so sophisticated and all – but I enjoyed having her focus on me so I just didn’t do anything to make her think I wasn’t interested. In the years that followed, I continued to be her confidante, sometimes a confusing and double-edged sword which I tried to diplomatically cover as best I could to spare everyone pain.

My older sister and my mother didn’t often spend time “chewing the fat” because my sister had her own agenda and rarely had the patience to sit and listen to story after story for hours. It didn’t really occur to me that by virtue of being a good listener and taking time to listen to my mother, I was unwittingly becoming a kind of chronicler for the family archives. After my mother passed away in 2018, I honestly believed I would be able to write her biography. I have not been able to put myself in the right frame of mind to begin doing so.

My parents were typical, hard-working, middle class people who came from very little but amassed a modest fortune and property that they intended on leaving their four children. For some reason (perhaps a fear that making a will would make them die that much sooner) my parents never made a formal will. Their properties in another country were “donated” to us years ago so that is not an issue, but they have one house that has not been willed to anyone. One of my siblings died last year and now three of us are left. Because of my attachment to my parents and their certainty in my integrity, I am the one that was authorized to help with their banking. It was also a matter of practicality: I was the one geographically close to them, I have never been estranged from them – taking a 6 month absence while I underwent therapy doesn’t count – and I have always been very, very responsible. They knew what they were doing and I have done my job honestly, efficiently and well.

The death of my eldest sibling did not affect me as it should have. I had no idea that she was ill but her lifestyle choices had never been optimal and her death did not surprise me. She and I were not on speaking terms when she died and although I feel some guilt about that, I have not been able to conjure more than passing grief that she left us just months after our mother died. Our father, though frail, continues to enjoy pretty good health and at 90 can still get around and manage his daily routines. This will not last forever.

My passion in life has been to entertain. I originally wanted to do it from a stage, as a comic, or a singer, or a storyteller. I have also always wanted to write and in fact, write every single day either in my blogs, on paper or in my head. My recent attendance at a Writers Digest Conference opened my eyes to the fact that I have never taken the time to figure out what it is I want to do with my writing. This is something that I need to address so I can get going. I am currently working on two novels but all the workshops and conferences emphasized the importance of being clear on what it is your intended purpose is in order to get going. It seems there are many different ways of attaining success but one thing is very clear, personal participation in the process from writing to publishing to marketing is dependent on the single creator: me! It is at once an overwhelming sensation and also a very comforting one since it means I am in control of the situation, if you will.

But back to my parents and wills…mental health issues abound in my family. I believe myself to be pretty healthy (is that a sign of mental health or a delusion?). My younger sister is paranoid. There is no way to rose color that. We don’t see each other very often. When we do see each other, I am often on the defensive, not knowing what word or subject will trigger her paranoia. Fortunately, I am getting older and less willing to be spoken to in any old way. I asked her today to meet me so I could show her a document I need to present on her behalf to the Municipal authorities in that other country for tax purposes. My idea was that I could present it for her because I live in said foreign country. Her immediate (and not surprising) response was that she would not be bringing her identification, that she wanted to talk about what she was signing and that she would rather fly and sign the documentation herself. I have no stake in the thing, that is fine. In the past, I might have been hurt or felt like she was accusing me of something. Now I just remember who she is, who I am and that mental health issues are often not as evident from the outside. It is sad and worrisome but I can handle it.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

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Losing weight, losing sight

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It’s been a very busy week, still lots of documentation to gather before my father can
claim some of his benefits after my mom’s passing. It has been a lesson to me about
having everything set up and in an orderly fashion so that our beneficiaries do not have
to go through so much red tape when we go.

My mother was an incredible human being with lots and lots of faults but with qualities
so excellent that the negatives pale in comparison. I am proud of the parents I was born
to and I hope that she knew how much I loved and admired her. I faulted her for not
saying “I love you” to me very often (if ever), I now think that I am guilty of the same
thing with her.

The first time I joined Weight Watchers, I was 15 years old. I did it at my mother’s prodding
because I was about 20 lbs. overweight at the time and she was fat also and decided that we
should do it together. That was in 1970! WW was just a few years old at that point and I do
remember that our “leader” was male. That has always stayed with me. I lost my 20 lbs. and
became a lifetime member which meant that I could attend meetings for free for the rest of
my life unless I went over the 2 lb. limit in my goal weight. Then you had to pay for attending.
I don’t remember why I stopped going but within 6 months, I had gained the weight back and
then some. It was not the first time I was on a “diet”, mom was always so concerned with my
weight, she was constantly looking for ways for me to lose it. I don’t remember every being
held back by my excess pounds. I was not athletic but that had nothing to do with my weight.
I was very sociable and rarely looked in the mirror except for my face and hair so I really had
no idea what my body looked like. I also made my own clothing so that it was not important
to me whether there were clothes to fit me in the store.

Back in those days, Weight Watchers terminology was less politically correct than today. For
example, if one ate a “forbidden” food (and there were many) one was “cheating”…or “bad”.
Today’s plans allow for eating whatever you like using a point system to keep track of things.
No food is bad or forbidden and no one is cheating. You simply track your points and move
on. Each day is a new beginning and that is how I have come to look at it this final time. In
the last 3 1/2 months, I have only lost 13 lbs. (slow metabolism as a result of years of dieting)
but rather than despair, I simply remind myself that this is a lifestyle change, not simply a
few weeks sacrificing to get down to a specific weight. At least the numbers are going in the
right direction.

There are so many choices and “hacks” available to us these days. I feel frustrated sometimes
because I allowed the weight to creep back on my small frame after so many years of maintaining
a healthy and comfortable weight. But I will be there again and hopefully some of my beautiful
clothes will still be in good enough condition to wear them.

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