19 months later.

19 months later and I am still waiting for my inheritance. Sadly, due to the non-existent relationship between me and my sister, I rarely hear any news on the matter. After speaking to a colleague yesterday, I realized that something needs to be done. For the past year and a half, I have been chasing up my sister for any news relating to any progress. However, she has made it very difficult, not just to contact her but to pull out any decent information. 

It feels like a game. One in which I’m sorely losing.

I feel greedy. Thinking about money. Worrying about my future. All I have ever wanted was total closure from my father – from the past. My sister’s distance is only emphasizing and tormenting the pain further. My father’s memory is still burning bright. I want to distinguish it. 

It almost feels like that man is still controlling my life! Yet, he is dead!

I hope my true freedom comes around sooner rather than later.

Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.

22nd August 2012 – The funeral home.

Sorry this post has been delayed, what with moving this week, it has all been a bit chaotic but I can finally return to the story of my father’s death last summer.

During the day of my father’s death, I received a text from my brother in-law detailing the plan to meet together the next day at the funeral home to discuss arrangements for my father’s funeral. It was all still very raw and as I had spent most of the morning feeling overjoyed and released, it came as a surprise that I needed or that they wanted me to be there. Perhaps they were his wishes.

I did not want to go.

It wasn’t local, instead near my father’s church in a part of London that only reminded me of him. I didn’t want to be anywhere that reminded me of him. He was no longer here, let me mourn, grieve and most of all – move on. The funeral was not something I really wanted a part of. However, as my sister was organizing it, curiosity got the better of me.

In the last few weeks of my father’s illness, it had been revealed that my father had made my sister executor of his will. It was a deed he had once forced upon me several years back when I was living with him.

I remember being called to his bedroom one day to find a heap of papers laid out with a pen beside them.

“Sign it,” he ordered without even a glance in my direction.

“What is it?”

“Don’t question me, rude! It’s to be the executor of my will. Sign it. Someone needs to do it.” His gaze centred on me, “Why are you being difficult?”

It was futile trying to reason with him. I had crossed the line and dared to question my father. I was causing conflict in a simple situation. There was one problem though, I did not want to be executor of his will. I did not want that sort of thing put upon me. I didn’t want to have to deal with him even after his death. Could I voice this? Of course not. So, I had no choice. I picked up the pen and without any knowledge of what I was signing, my name began to appear on the lines he was pointing to.

I never heard about it again. He clearly thought he’d never die.

The next time I would hear it would be the moment I found out he had drawn up a new will. One that my sister was now executor of. I had been dropped in place of the prodigal daughter. She, unlike me, was happy to take on her new role. She enjoyed control and power much like my father. They were the same in almost every way.

At the funeral home, my sister took charge. I was horrified to find out that they had invited a woman along. A woman who was a friend of my father’s but in the situation that it was, it seemed inappropriate for her to be there. They weren’t confidantes, he never saw women like that. In fact, this was a woman he had taken great pleasure in criticizing over the years. A woman that I have heard some appalling things about from my father’s mouth. He was disgusting. The way he spoke of his so-called friends was shocking. It felt odd to see someone I knew irritated him at the funeral home the day after he died.

She seemed devastated. Why wouldn’t she be? My father may have insulted her behind her back but to the outside world he treated her like his daughter. Her child even called him “Uncle”. He was worshiped and respected by many and my sister – his new found disciple – did not want others to see him in any other light.

I sat and watched as the three of them took charge.

I sat back.

I was only there to show face.

My mind was elsewhere and judging by the strangeness of the day, I was anticipating the upcoming funeral.

I was right to be worried.

8th August 2012 – Breaking point.

My father had been moved to the cancer unit at University College Hospital in Central London. It was the hospital where I was born. I met David after work and we went there to visit him. I was nervous; shaking. The unit was based on the top floor and there were views across the whole of London from his ward.

As we walked to him, my sister was sat on the bed. I could not believe that once again he had timed our meetings flawlessly. Our last encounter was at the previous hospital and it was less than perfect. The children were there and I got to meet my niece for the first time since she was born; she was 11 months and beautiful. But as I reached out to hold her my sister unbelievably remarked,

“She doesn’t go to strangers.”

I held her anyway and gave her all the love I could in those few seconds before they took her back like the possession she was to them. My six year nephew, a boy I’d once been so close to, barely interacted with me. I missed him so much but he did not know me any more. My sister was partly correct. In many ways I was a stranger to them. However, I never asked for that role. All I wanted was to be in their lives but just like my father, my sister used the things I loved to control and own power. It was easier to allow this than fight it; I’d never been a fighter. She knew this and exploited it.

It was massively uncomfortable being there again with her. I could barely be myself in front of my father, let alone my estranged sister too.

My father decided this was the time to raise the awkward subject of money. I thought I had already dealt with this subject during the last phone call however my father was refusing to let it lie. He had a point to make and he was willing to push me to breaking point.

It was though he was using his upcoming death as another source of control. I did not want to talk about the topic of inheritance under the watchful eyes of my sister. I had always been accused of being materialistic and greedy by her, something he knew and revelled in. I attempted to change the subject but that failed miserably. I looked at him knowingly but he avoided my glance. Instead, he proceeded to instruct me on how my inheritance was to be spent.

I wanted to leave immediately.

I stared at the state of my father. He had lost a dramatic amount of weight. I knew very little of his condition and he avoided my questions. My sister however knew everything. She was his confidante, a position she had a long time ago with my mother. She berated her for this. She punished Ma for putting her in that position. So why did she so happily take on this role with my father? Perhaps, it made her feel special and wanted. I know how much she has always enjoyed her influence on my parents. Each of them at some point in their lives have relied on her, confided in her and portrayed her as the perfect daughter. She had a reputation to uphold. I was happy for her to have that part, I never wanted it. When I had it; I hated it.

I felt incredibly emotional. Most of the emotions were anger and hurt. My sister was watching me as my father continued to dictate his inheritance conditions. There were no conditions written into the will so I knew that either his idea had been refuted to put it in there by his solicitor or that he didn’t have the courage to put it there in the first place. That or he just wanted to say it. He got tremendous satisfaction from saying it, imposing it and ordering me around.

I sat there silently for what seemed like an eternity. David said nothing. He never knew how to deal with my father. I understood that. It was a difficult situation and he often felt it was not his place. But, secretly, I wanted him to shout, to tell my Dad to ‘back off’ and frankly, just to STOP. It was even more upsetting that clearly I was still on my own.

After several minutes I think my father recognised my apparent discomfort. I wouldn’t look him in the eye and looked very uncomfortable. He tried to move the topic onto something else but by that time I was far too upset to stay. My cousin from America had called and it all felt a little too weird. My sister used to call her all sorts of derogatory names. She hated her but all of a sudden she was acting like her best friend as though they told each other everything. I was confused and horrified by her behaviour. If my sister was such a forgiving person then why is she still punishing my mother? Our mother who never abused us, who made mistakes but recognises them, who just wants to be there for us? She welcomed my abusive, dangerous father back into her life, to be a granddad to her children, forgetting how he treated her as a child herself. How he called her names and accused her of creating the depression she had suffered with for years. She has forgotten that. She has forgiven that.

Yet she still punishes my mum. I cannot even tell you what for. I do not truly know if there is a reason. It just seems that she always needs to punish someone. That is how she copes.

I left my father’s bedside and although the two of them attempted to convince me to stay, I knew I needed to get out of there. I needed fresh air, I needed to breathe and be free. I couldn’t look at him any more. He had taken it too far.

He messaged me that night.

“Babitago, I am so sorry to see you go through the very stressful situation yesterday. I love you darling. Can you give me a call”.

I didn’t call him.

His message was just words.

His actions were the things I read now and they were clear to me. My humiliation was key. It gave him everything he needed. His sickly sweet, patronising words washed over me.

Was it really an apology? He was apologising for the way I felt and NOT for what he did! The man was a total joke – dying or not.

5th August 2012 – The Awakening.

Well, after the previous phone call and epiphany, I was about to get another awakening from my father.

Once again, he picked a phone call to break the news.

This time it concerned my future.

His will.

I really didn’t want to know. I’d rather have waited till his death. But my Dad wasn’t that kind of man. He wanted to cause drama, to upset people or to get a reaction. He didn’t have an ounce of sensitivity or decency in his body. I tried to explain that it was inappropriate to talk to me about the content of his will at that time but my words fell on deaf ears. He ignored my request entirely and proceeded to announce to me a clear summary of what he intended to give us.

He made it very clear as what I was to do with my share of the money. I was to put the whole amount on a deposit for a house. There was no arguing the matter or I would not get the money. He threatened that if I did not agree to this that he would change the will at the last minute.

I never wanted anything from him.

Never.

I hated that he was still controlling every decision I was to make. It angered me that even my future was falling under his power. I remained silent on the phone, holding back the tears and anger waiting to explode. He always hated my silence. He called it “insolent” and I could feel his insults building up down the phone from his heavy, stilted breathing.

“Why are you taking so long Babitago? It’s very simple. You are thirty years old and you do not even own your own property. You must put it all on a house. Do you understand?”

“Mmmm,” was the only response I could muster through the tears.

It pacified him for the time being. I allowed him to believe he had the power. What was the point in fighting him? A sick man, lying in a hospital bed struggling to breathe. Even I knew that fighting him was the wrong thing to do as much as I berated myself for it.

It also came to my attention during the call that I was to get the lowest share of the will.

So he finally got his revenge on me. He was to continue his punishment, his anger and betrayal even after his death.

I was pretty shocked but almost relieved. I don’t want to associate the rest of my life with that man. I don’t want to be thankful to him or grateful. I don’t want to feel as though he saved me.

I want to save me.