what should I do with H & closure

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Steely, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    So, to be brief (lol).........I am in an incredible dilemma.

    When H. died she did not have a will, so her house and all of her belongings went to my parents according to Oregon law. My parents did not want to act suddenly on anything and so they have been letting H.'s partner (of 1 year) live in the house rent free, and keep all of her belongings.

    I have expressed repeatedly that I wanted H.'s books and a couple of other things - but my parents said that the partner may want those too - and that if I wanted to go up to Oregon and negotiate with the partner what I may want I could do that. I decided I could not do that at the time because I was unsure I could emotionally handle all of this.

    So fast forward 6 months to now. Probate is up, and now my parents are telling the partner that she can buy the house from them - and they are going up to tomorrow to go through H.'s things. I told them that I really needed/wanted to be up there for this, and they got really mad, and told me that I was being demanding and selfish.

    What do I do? Do I go up there and fight for holding on to scraps of H.'s life?

    H. could not stand my parents - I know she would not want them rifling through her things. I know I do not want that for her. I feel strongly that I should take ownership of her things, including her house - but it really is too late now. Probate is over. The house is my parent's property and they can do what they want. Besides I know the partner has already taken her private, precious things so my parents do not have them.

    You guys know my emotional state right now. It is rocky at best. I can barely handle work, let alone this - but I want to do whatever it takes if I know it is the right thing to do. If it helps me be at peace with her death, if it helps me honor her.

    Will I completely and forever regret dismissing this entire thing? I only having an old jewelry box of stuff to remember H. by and pictures - maybe that is enough? Can I live strong knowing she is in my heart and soul? Or is this more about what she would want.

    Really, any advice is welcome. Time is running out, and I have to make a decision by Sat.

    PS, the other dilemma is getting H's case solved, which if I went up to Oregon is the other part of what I would focus on. But that can or maybe should be separate from this decision.
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I say you have to go with what is in your heart with this one. What is your heart telling you to do? (forget what your parents want) If your heart is telling you that you need to be there for this, then go. Don't let anyone stop you.

    Like you said, this is your last chance for this. You'll have to live the rest of your life with the decision you come to. So honestly, what others think really doesn't enter into it. Demanding and selfish my @ss. H is your sister, not some stranger.

    If your heart is telling you that you need to do this you will find the strength within you to see it thru.

  3. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    god that is the thing. my heart is so tired, i do not know if i can trust it. i just seem to be going on adrenaline at this point.
    the poop is hitting the fan at work with this harassment allegation, and i am pretty sure we are going to court.
    and my parents are being so horrible.
    and. and. and.
    i talked at length about all of this with my counselor and still, no clear resolution.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Steely, only you can answer this question. I tend to think that for you, it might help to go. But I can't "advise" that because I can't honestly say what is the best for you in this situation. It appears on the surface though, that it might help you resolves things for yourself if you do go- not to fight for H's things, although I don't see anything wrong with saying "I would like to have that", but to touch base with the case and to get another glimpse of the reality, if you think you are ready, to help you through the healing process. Could difficult child go with you and maybe plan a day for the two of you together, away from mom and dad and H's partner?
  5. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Steely, you do really need to listen to your heart on this one and make the best decision that you can live with. Think about each decision, and listen to how your heart reacts when you contemplate it. That will guide you.

    As for your parents...don't let them push you around. They ARE being horrible, but they have been horrible to you before. As you said, H couldn't stand your parents, and they don't have a good track record of being soft and gentle and supportive to you either. When you need their love and support the most, when you should be pulling together as a family to help each other through your grief, they are either leaving you out in the cold or expecting you to prop them up.

    Think about what you want and what you can live with. Think about what H would want you to do, but don't let your parents behaviour push you in a direction you don't want to go.

    {{{HUGS}}} Steely. I can't imagine how hard this all is. It's beyond comprehension.
  6. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    Honestly Steely. to me, there still seems to be a lot of pain and anger of equal amounts associated with the loss of your sister, and her stuff, and her partner,and your parents - maybe it seems to you, they seem to have "more" of her, and you have so little. Is having more of her "stuff" going to help heal you, or cause you to mourn more and stop any healing process dead in its tracks for a very long time?

    If its going to be more healing, then go for it, if it is not, then stay home, and let your memories of her be good things, the photo's, the jewelry box of things, the things you shared together - keep those memories of her in your heart as no parent or partner can ever take them away from you.

    Being so conflicted about what is or isn't going on with her stuff can't be helping you towards healing. I can imagine so many unanswered questions about her death is prying much on your mind, but can you ask yourself if she would want you going thru all this pain. Maybe the material stuff wasn't as important to her, or the idea of her parents going thru her things wasn't as important to her as you are imagining them to be - if they were, she would have seen to it and made provisions for her things to definately go to you, your parents, or her partner.

    I don't know the answer to the questions but am sending you a cyber hug and wishing you find some peace in your life with all of this.

  7. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    yeah..........you are right. maybe she would not want me to do one iota of anything except love myself. her stuff, was always just stuff to her. she did not care one bit about material things. not one bit. perhaps i just want one more moment of her physical presence, and i am projecting it onto her things. if i could only find peace with that, than i would know it is the right thing.

    in addition it would help if my parents were not controlling and excluding me from her things which causes me to want to possess and control right back - i need to separate that from her death. somehow. someway.
  8. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    No magic answers here, just lots of hugs. If you go, will you regret going? If you stay home, will you regret staying? I guess what I'm asking is...will you kick yourself more for going or not going? Then do whatever has the least kick to it.
  9. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Honey, H will love you endlessly whether you have anything more than a jewelry box and photos or not. She'll love you endlessly even if you didn't have even that. Do what you need to do, but I think perhaps this answers your question.

    Instead of getting her "old" stuff, could you make something new in her honor? A memory board with pictures, both of her and from magazines all the things she loved, places she wanted to go, things she would have liked? A stepping stone for the garden? Or even a purchased candle and stand for the top if the tv that would have been something she liked? Would difficult child particpate in making/finding this, so it can be pleasant and fun remembering H? Just thinking about the things that have been therapeutic to me.

  10. Calgon_Take_Me_Away

    Calgon_Take_Me_Away New Member

    I tend to be with Marcie ~ do you need material items to feel her presence? Do nonvaluable items mean just as much as valuable items?

    I'm not a very material person. Yes, I have a few items of value that were my great grandmas' (china set and ring) but the nonvaluable items mean a lot (the god awful green and yellow afghan lol ~ but it was hers; or the "silverware" set that grandpa whittled from sticks).

    But you have to do what you feel will help you deal with her death ~ closure of sorts.
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This is such a tough decision. Can you project yourself 10 years down the road and think about how you will feel if you have some of her stuff, and if you don't? You have to live with this decision forever. BUT if you know she had a love of X (say cardinals), could you get a cardinal statue or picture and keep it in her memory? Would that be enough??

    If you tell your parents you really would like to have something of H's for difficult child to remember her by, would they bring anything back, or just dismiss the request?

    I am sorry you have to make this decision, especially at this time.
  12. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Steely -

    Personally, I don't think going through H's things and having some of her material possessions is going to bring you closure. I think it's going to keep the ongoing wound from your parents open and raw and will prevent you from healing.

    I would take a trip to Oregon, separate from when your parents are going, and visit the places she liked to go. Be in the moment and feel her spirit. And while there, deal with the investigation.

    And I like the idea of the memory book and things that remind you of H.

  13. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Grieving is such a personal thing. It is hard to say what is right because "right" is different for every person. Would having more of her things truly make H any closer to you? I don't think so. You are so very close to her regardless of what you have. Is there something of hers that would bring a smile to your face every time you saw it? Something that you could show to friends and say this is H in a nutshell? Something you want for your kids so they'll remember her a little? Then ask for that something. Otherwise, I would let the stuff go because that's what it ultimately is -- stuff.

    The other sad fact is that legally you have no right to any of H's things. If your parents choose to give you something, they can. Otherwise, it is theirs to do with as they choose. The law isn't always kind nor fair.

    I love the idea of going back for a few days with someone and sharing H's memories. In the long run, that will have more impact, meaning and memories than the things in H's home, especially if it is coupled with a memory book that can be handed down.

    I wish there was something we could say or do to take some of your pain away. Losing someone you love is hard. It is even harder when there is no rhyme nor reason for that loss. You have that plus many unanswered questions. There are just no simple answers. I'm so very sorry.
  14. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Steely, when I can't make an emotional decision because it is too complex/hurtful/bewildering I try to step back and make an intellectual one instead by writing a "Pro and Con" list.

    On a piece of paper, divide it in two columns---Pro on one column, Con on the other. Then list the pros of going and the cons of going. For me, it forces me to "think" things out rather than "feel" them. Pretty soon what I'm writing down tells me which decision to make and it's not necessarily the one with more reasons, it's usually the one I know I can best live with (or without).

    Hugs to you,
  15. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I would ask myself what it will be like in 10 years. Will I live with regret by not going there? Will I be able to accept that I was not in a position to go there at this time and forgive myself for that if there is regret for a certain item? Will I look back and say, "I just could not do it." and be OK with that?
  16. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Steely, I don't know how you get to the point of closure. I think it takes a long time and I think in unresolved death's like your sister's it may not happen for even longer.
    There are a few issues entwined here. 1)The stuff and why you can't have something. 2) you don't care for your parents, their attitude towards you and how they have decided to handle the estate 3) feeling left out and ignored. Feeling like your parents got preferential treatment by the law and you were left out of the mix. 4) thinking you know what your sister would want or if she would even care.

    There is no way for you to take possession of the house or sister's things. Let it go. Ask for something to remember sister with and then let it go. It's stuff. Stuff comes and stuff goes. I'm not sure how long your sister's partner has been with her but if it was a bit of time, I can understand your parents wanting to give her a choice to buy out the house. It's actually quite kind.

    There is more than one person suffering from the loss of your sister. You know everyone grieves differently but they suffer anyhow. Your parents, your son, sister's partner, you and probably all of her friends and co workers. It's not really a matter of who is feeling the hurt worse or how they express it. I would think just acknowledging that everyone hurts would help me understand others behavior.

    I don't think you will feel any better in regards to your sister if you took possession of things, fought to get things or had a meltdown with parents over things. I think you will just feel rage, grief and shock. Hope your therapist can help you find away to express your rage that is more positive than you have found thus far.

    There doesn't seem to be a magic bullet for closure. You will have to find something to soothe your soul. It's different for each of us. Hugs.
  17. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Oh honey, hugs for your hurting heart.

    I agree with some of the others, this is a very personal thing, and we all grieve differently. But my OPINION is that you may do more harm than good by going through her stuff.

    I do very much like Suz's suggestion of writing a list. It is very difficult for we as women to think logically (don't any of you take that as a bad thing; women are truly wired differently, and we are programmed to operate based on emotion while medication operate on logic) so it will take time and patience with yourself. The same way we have to rear our kids with the emotion removed from the equation, that's how you would write your list.

    Please PM me if I am not making any sense. I know what I want to say, but I am not sure if it is coming across properly.

    My continued hugs and prayers for your hurting heart.
  18. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    H. could not stand my parents - I know she would not want them rifling through her things. - Steely

    Ok, I'm going out here on a limb. I know that most are saying that it's very personal and that "stuff" doesn't mean a connection to H. But the line above screamed out at me. I know that you've said before that H. didn't like them and that you'd been abused. Maybe you're playing with the idea of going so that you can have your moment of not feeling bullied and standing up to them on behalf of both you AND H.

    Personal opinion: I think you should go. I think you should pick and rifle and dig to your hearts content. I think you should revel in the things that brought H. pleasure. I think that you need to look the partner right square in the eye and assess how YOU feel about her. You've suspected her of helping H. down a slippery slope, now may be the last time that you can sit back and settle those feelings. I think that you should be able to finalize the "what goes where" for H's. things, keeping what you want and donating what you DON'T want the parents or partner to have.

    Take all of the other components going on in your life and "basket C" them until you've made up your mind on this issue. The BS at work will still be there on Monday whether you go to Oregon or not, so that doesn't need to come into play.

    Screw everyone else and everything else and decide based on what's right for solely you. No one else, just you.

    No matter what you decide, I'm here and we ALL love ya!

  19. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    I don't know what is the "right" answer here, but I lost my Dad in 1988 and the only "thing" I have to remember him is his coffee cup...and it means the world to me. I don't need anything else.
  20. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Wow, you guys are great..........and all of you in one form or another have posted some amazing insight. (you all seem to know me so well:D)

    So, nvts............you hit the nail on the head that I feel like I need to protect H. from my parents. I always have, because of the abuse, because she was my little sister, because I have always felt overly protective of her (something she did not like, actually.) I still feel like I need to make sure she is protected. It is an overpowering drive within me, even though it makes no sense now. She is not even here.

    I have reason to believe that her partner, of only one year, is now having a relationship with H.s best friend from college. My parents are actually the ones who brought it to my attention, and yet they still want to give the partner the moon and more. So yes, I have an inordinate amount of anger, that is displaced all over the spectrum. And I guess I do feel like possibly I need to try and carry out what H would have wanted me to do, which is protect her from our parents.

    However, in order to do that requires so much mental anguish, I am seriously not sure H would want me to do that. Perhaps I should focus that mental energy on how she died, and be her vigilante in that way. I don't know.

    Truthfully I think the best way to let her go, is by truly letting go of all of our past issues, roles, and baggage, and simply focus and remember her true spirit. The true essence of H. Not her pain, and my role in solving or fixing that - but her as a beautiful spirit and being - irrelevant of any earthly living mortal thing.