Walking into the fog.

16 Feb 2014
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I had an Executors' meeting a couple of weeks ago – back at my old home, the farm.

Driving my old silver Volvo into the silver fog, along narrow and twisting rural roads, it struck me again that this is what my family is doing: walking into the fog.

I've already written about my dearly loved uncle (who was more of a father than an uncle): I won't bore you again. My sister, my brother and I are suddenly at the head of the family, steering the ship – or maybe the plough would be a better adjective seeing that the main family asset is the farm – through the minefield of legislation and tax.

Having got in all the valuations, we can just about see the next step ahead – which is to meet with the accountant and solicitor. But from there – it's fog. We have a vague idea of what is exempt and what falls into the estate, we know which beneficiaries get what (although we've no idea yet about how we reach resolution on those legacies if the Inland Revenue demand their full pound of flesh with interest), and the only thing we are certain about is that, whatever happens, we will continue to love each other and will maintain family solidarity.

Very often we're all walking into fog. We can see maybe one or two steps ahead. Possibly we know where we would like to end up (our hoped for destination), but we have no view of it and no guarantee of arriving there. It's tempting to give up. After all, what's the point?

It's all about faith. Maybe not in a God presented by religion (although I'd never knock that), but faith in yourself. Maybe you can't see more than half a step forward, maybe the destination is as vague as a dream and no more substantial or achievable than a mirage – but at least you can take that half step forward. I hope you can lean on loved ones and walk together with them for that half step – and then the next one...

My brother and sister and I were pretty clear. Right at the beginning we made a pact that, whatever happened with our uncle's estate, we were going to stay close and love each other. And it's been fine. Money and perceived value have not caused problems, the criticism by other family members, while distressing, have not fractured our solidarity.

It's not been easy; least of all, because we're not perfect: my brother doesn't communicate, my sister micro-manages, I try to appease everyone. But we have managed, somehow, to appreciate our strengths and to laugh at our weaknesses together.

Our increased love for each other, in the end, is my uncle's most valued legacy. Even if we're still not sure where we're going with the rest of it.

Mary

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Comments

Anonymous

Feb. 16, 2014, 6:04 a.m.

Too personal.....

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Anonymous

Feb. 16, 2014, 7:32 a.m.

Anyone who has had to sort family inheritance will relate to this post .I hope most are spared the heartache and upset an unfair will causes. My mean mother left a will which would have horrified my Dad and has split the family forever. She left quarter of a million to fav grandson,very lazy and one thousand to other three grandchildren who did not pander to her

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Anonymous

Feb. 16, 2014, 9:53 a.m.

It wasn't too personal for me! Indeed, it was helpful and made me shed a tear of recognition. Many thanks to Mary.

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Christine

Feb. 16, 2014, 11:15 a.m.

Wills can be tricky things to negotiate. We have had to deal with wills left by grandparents and by parents; blog spot material all....but recently as we became with a friend, Tenants in Common of a property bought between us, the wills involved have been shockingly personal and terrible to try to understand.... We have indeed been walking through fog and continue to do so. The stress caused by badly drawn up wills and by our own horrid ones (drawn up because of the Tenants in Common thing and a legal requirement) has been immense. We have decided to light the fog by revoking our wills and re-making them as mirror wills once more, as our friend has decided after less than 4 months, to leave.... and is now demanding back her money.....stress? Yes. Very stressed. And scared and grasping at our new wills as our salvation...we Trust and have Faith that we will not lose our lovely new home.... So, Thank You Mary for your blog today; it touches the spot in me and I identify so closely with what you are going through..

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Lou Sharp

Feb. 16, 2014, 1:06 p.m.

happened to our family too and there isn't a day that i don't think about what could have been done differently. a terrible tragedy and i try not to be bitter. just sad and guilty that a piece of land wasn't passed to my children.

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Anonymous

Feb. 16, 2014, 1:13 p.m.

Thank you for your blog today ~ Sunday. I wish you well with getting through all the days ahead until the fog clears which, believe me, it will (I am coming through it about.... a year and a quarter on... not easy : but do-able)

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Anonymous

Feb. 16, 2014, 9:59 p.m.

There are many who would be happy to experience such 'fog'. Money has a great ability to make all sorts of things clear!

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Anonymous

Feb. 16, 2014, 10:01 p.m.

Read King Lear!

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Anonymous

Feb. 17, 2014, 4:51 p.m.

Thanks for that , I read a mini version and as they say 'money is the root of all evil ! It certainly never made my Mother happy but Dad knew that money does not make u happy however u can be miserable in comfort!!!!!

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