Posts Tagged ‘Extended family’

“As mothers and daughters, we are connected with one another. My mother is the bones of my spine, keeping me straight and true. She is my blood, making sure it runs rich and strong. She is the beating of my heart. I cannot now imagine a life without her.”   Kristin Hannah, Summer Island

It seems that in the worst moments of our lives we have to deal with things which would best be left until we are more rational, less hghly emotional.  The Family Fortune or  the Family Inheritance is probably the single most divisive issue in many people’s lives. Why should this be?  One of the most awful and distressing periods in our lives has occurred, we have lost our last living parent. I know that for those who lose a child it is understood that there is nothing worse than your child passing before you do, but the inheritance only comes into play with the passing of your parents, and that is what we are referring to today.

Snapshots of the past

Snapshots of the past

I could wish that there was a different way to do things. I certainly wish I could impart some pearls of wisdom which might help everyone. There are some who are able to manage the process with the respect and dignity it deserves, and yet there are others who become  seemingly different people. I have seen people squabble over half used tubes of lipstick and in the same instance take valuable crystal and china awards, irreplaceable and family heirlooms, to the dump and smash each piece because they didn’t want anyone to have them. (Nor did they want them!) Personally,  I would have to question their mentality not just sentimentality.

Family thoughts

Family thoughts

I have heard some beautiful sentiments at this devastating time, and I have also been unfortunate enough to hear things I wish I had been able to avoid. Perhaps the most devastating is when one person feels they have a right to more than anyone else, they feel they “gave a part of their life” because they chose to live at home, not just for the sake of a parent and should be repaid for it. They believe they are “more deserving” than anyone else.  By its very nature it is abhorrent to me. Selfish not selfless.

On the Achille Lauro, travelling to Australia

On the Achille Lauro, traveling to Australia

Really, can dollars and cents, furniture or a house really bring back the person you are grieving for? Whilst everyone has a need for mementos and memorabilia to create the illusion of having them close, it is an illusion. Yet denial of those same “trinkets and baubles” can cause such a deep feeling of loss, a loss so profound that it can tear families apart. How can one member of a family decree they are more deserving than anyone else? If they think  these things are “trinkets and baubles” why do they need to refuse to share them? Why disparage them in such a vulgar way?

Uncle John and Grandad

Uncle John and Grandad

Family life is complex. Gifts are made from the heart, or that is my belief. It is only natural that if you have a special bond with an item you gave someone it would have more significance for you when you have lost them. Again, it is all an illusion, but profound, and being denied it because someone cannot let anything go is unconscionable.

Family memories

Family memories

The real Family Fortune are the pictures we have of our family, the instant conjurers of past memories we have shared together.  Some, like these, are the family history, those members of our extended family who we have met only briefly and not when they were this young. These are our parents’ memories, brought to life in these photos. For some of us we may never hav seen them before.

Beautiful memories

Beautiful memories

Images some have never seen which show relatives and loved ones in happy times.

My parents circa 1955

My parents circa 1955

The beginnings of our own family, treasured images to look back on.

Sweet and cute and daredevil tomboy!

Sweet and cute and daredevil tomboy!

I remember – I remember, an angel and a demon, but wasn’t I lovable? 🙂

Welsh memories

Welsh memories

We all want to remember the  holiday fun we had and these photos bring the stories back to life.  There is nothing more cruel than to deny anyone the joy of seeing and revisiting old memories or finding new ones.  No-one should be able to cut apart albums, remove photos and decide if they should be included in the Family Albums. Should they?

In fact, I believe, no single person should keep another from seeing what is part of your own history, or from changing the family chronology. If these mementos are lost, damaged beyond repair or destroyed then your history is lost also. Which one person in a family has the right to do that without consulting all of the family.

The “Inheritance” is important and always will be and MUST be shared equally, but the “Family Fortune” will always be these memories which are irreplaceable.  These are our past, present and will take our children and their children into the future creating a tapestry of family which is invaluable and MUST be preserved.

image from ylaww.blogspot.com

You will never stop the tears for they assuage the pain, but the small or large mementos are held close to the heart as a solid remembrance of the person we love and have lost.

May you relish every moment of joy and love of family life.

Blessings and love to all.   Susan xx

“We all grow up with the weight of history on us.  Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies.”  ~Shirley Abbott

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