Monday, February 1, 2010

Have Some Respect for the Living Please

On December 7, 2009, my 85-year old grandfather died in his sleep while his wife of 46 years slept beside him. This was on a Monday morning and his funeral was held on the following Wednesday. I attended that funeral as did my mother, the 3rd child of 5 children my grandfather had with his first wife, now deceased.

My grandfather's second wife is Bonnie. I grew up having 4 great-grandfathers, 2 great-grandmothers, 2 grandfathers, 2 grandmothers, and a Bonnie. I never called her grandma, granny, grandmother, or any of those other endearments. To me, it was completely natural to call her by name. That's what my mother called her step-mother and so I grew up following suit.

I love my Bonnie, who had two sons and two granddaughters of her own. Our families knew each other but didn't really mingle much over the years. There was always a his-hers aspect to the greater family dynamics, but perhaps what was not spoken of so much was what was truly theirs together....a lifetime of joys, sadness, family, and life. A lifetime of love.

Bonnie buried the love of her life the 2nd week in December just a couple weeks before Christmas. Then less than a month after Christmas four of her grown stepchildren came to their house to go through and distribute his personal belongings and those he had kept of his own father's. One child was missing in this misadventure and that would be my own mother who was not told of this gathering, before nor after.

That is, until today when Bonnie called to talk. She is an 86-year old woman who has lost her husband and longtime lover. She is alone in a large house which now has empty space where my grandfather's memory once lived. Bonnie was surprised to learn that not one of my mother's siblings told her of their gathering. No one invited her. Nor did anyone think to wait a few months so that Bonnie could take her time in being close to him through his personal treasures.

However, my aunts and uncles did choose what items to allow my mother to keep, or rather which ones to set aside on her behalf without her knowledge. Who knows what those things are but we at least know that they are not the lawnmower or weedwacker which were taken. Tell me, who takes lawn equipment from the home of a grieving widow who still has to take care of the lawn?

I am so upset by this. Upset for my mother whose siblings worked in pseudo-secret. Upset for the loss of an opportunity to see for myself (someday) what treasures my grandfather had saved through the years. But mostly, very much upset for my Bonnie who is alone and sad and will still be grieving for many moons to come.

I wonder if anybody took the brand new unused wallet which I had given my grandfather a few years ago before I learned that he had stopped using a traditional wallet after his was pickpocketed some decades earlier while on vacation in London.

In a related funny story, for several years I gave my grandfather wonderful books, ones which I was sure he would greatly enjoy. However one year he finally asked that I give him no more books. It was that Christmas that he finally confessed that he never read books. The Dallas Morning News was enough to satisfy him.

Back to this story. The gathering of siblings apparently happened a couple of weeks ago and since that time my mom had spoken with two of her siblings, but neither of them breathed a word of what they had accomplished. Not even to inform her of what they decided she might be interested in keeping.

Bonnie doesn't have a computer and certainly doesn't follow my blog, but I will make it a point to send her my love. For not everybody grows up with their very own Bonnie. I am truly a fortunate girl.


  1. Lisa - this is a very sad read. So many wrongs ... to Bonnie, to your mother.

    I'm glad you have Bonnie, she sounds wonderful.

    Will there be a confrontation with the 4 siblings, do you think?

  2. Having also witnessed the dissolution of another family over "inheritance," I am not surprised by your tale. It is sad, tragic, and ultimately stupid. The other sad aspect to this is that those making the distribution decisions were of a "mature" age and should have known better. I feel badly for your mother and for Bonnie.

  3. Oh Lisa! This is such a sad situation! I feel so bad for Bonnie, as this should have never happened. For the aunts and uncles--shame on you!

  4. Lisa, it's sad what "family" can do to one another. You hear this tale way to often, and I too have the misfortune of having it happened in my own family. Take care,


  5. It is truly sad how a "family" behaves some times. I know my siblings are already going thru my parents stuff. They live closer than I do and just help themselves to stuff when they visit.

  6. Oh, Lisa, I'm so very sorry. It is always so sad to lose a love one, Grandfathers are very, very special. Then to add the awful behavior of family members..TOO MUCH!

    I hope that Bonnie's adult children will now come to help her. Do they live close to her? By the way, any chance your Grandfather had a will?

    Angels on you and your Mother,
    PS:Unfortunately I have heard of same things happening in other families.