Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Things That Don't Kill You Only Make You Stronger

Together with the death of my Mom was my inheritance of a very huge debt. I owed my Mom's family a big amount. Right after her cremation, Mom's sisters and brothers invited me over to the family home to discuss certain issues. Seated on the dinner table we my 3 aunts and 2 uncles, in front of us were the ashes of my Mom.
The bomb was dropped. Since we had no money to pay for my Mom's medical treatment, Mom ended up borrowing a total of Php1.9M (almost over $40,000). And I was to inherit that. How was I going to pay? Instead of selling property and belongings, I was not to receive the yearly earning the family corporation would earn which it's members were entitled to. Computing it, I would have approximately 11-12 years to pay off all that. Things were still blurry. My Mom had just died 7 days before that and had been cremated a few hours before I was 2 months pregnant, so I said OK. They did lay all the cards down before me.
A few months after, it dawned upon me how painful this all was. Because Aunts would rub it in that I had to be thankful for the money lent to us, that I should be thankful they decided not to add on interest to it, that they did not have to make me sell things just to pay off the debt faster. But at the back of mind I just wanted to shout back for them to cool it, and back off. I could see their point. It was crystal clear. But give me a break! Allow me to mourn first! And the insurance my Mom was entitled to - which would have greatly helped me and my family because we hardly have any savings - I had to give so that my debt would be lessened.
ANYWAY. After that, they would pretty much just get in touch with me when they wanted to give me updates on my debt but other than that, Christmas and Birthdays and other occasions were spent in silence. Unlike before my Mom died when family really meant family. When I gave birth to my 2nd child, no one from my Mom's side even remembered. And I was hurting. But I told myself to let it go. But it still hurt, it never went away.
Until a month ago when I got to chat with my Aunt. Again, the money issues came up. It turned into a heated exchange of insights and opinions. She told me what I was going through was nothing compared to what she went through (she used to be on welfare - I don't know why she had to compare our situations) and that I SHOULD move on. I said I couldn't believe they would do this to their own family. And since they all met up in Chicago for my cousin's wedding, I am 101% sure that they talked about this incident among themselves.
Deep in me, I just felt really bad. I understood my obligation to pay but it would have been less painful if they did not have to rub it in or make me feel as if I owed them my life that if they weren't there, my Mom would not have been able to go for treatment and would have died earlier. It saddens me because my Mom was such a gentle soul. She loved my Aunts and Uncles and even my cousins. She was a giver. Never in the millions, but she was a giver. And I felt sore because I had no one to turn to. No siblings to bear the weight of the pain with me. Suddenly, the relatives who I was so sure of would take good care of me and my family now that my parents were gone just seemed like strangers to me. Only caring about getting the money I owed them.
In the months that followed, I kept my silence.
Yesterday, my Aunt sent me a message asking me to meet her and my uncle at his house this weekend. I had a feeling it had something to do with money and debt. But I still asked her why. And that's right, I was right. It took me a long time to compose my reply. I prayed before even typing it. And then I said it. I said I didn't want to talk about my debt because I felt it unnecessary, that I was trying to move on as told to me by my Aunt and that talking about it just made me yearn for my Mom and Dad all the more. I told her that I knew she would understand.
I still fell bad. But I do not want anger and bitterness to consume me. These are things I want thrown out the door, never to haunt me again. I need peace within me. And I figured that distancing myself for a while may help me heal. Not distancing while building anger inside. But just distancing so that such are no longer talked about and as I keep away,I get to appreciate the beauty of having things better left unsaid.
On to lighter things. After 1 1/2 years, hubby has a job again. I can't explain how happy I am. Everything happened pretty fast. And as he got confirmation from his new employer last week, he was informed that he needed to go down to Manila to train for 10days. So I am a single parent till then.
The only thing I despise about such arrangements is that I cannot sleep well through the night when hubby isn't around. Call it whatever you want to call it, but it's that way. I got a good 5 hours of very light sleep last night. My body aches, like it got tired of lying down last night. Terrible.


Dr. J said...

I have been reading your blog for awhile now. I think you've got amazing forgiveness; I doubt I would have reacted like you did if I were in your situation. Bravo to you! Impressive.

Here's my blog in case you have time:

Karen MEG said...

Oh Louann, you've shown tremendous restraint. I haven't been following too closely, but aren't some of these your mom's siblings? Why can't they give you a break? But at any rate, they are family - it's so unfortunate that they haven't provided you the support that you so deserve!
I'm glad to hear that your hubby got work! I'm also like you, takes me a while to sleep if DH is away on business too.
Hugs to you...

Mama G said...

Congratulations to your hubby (and you!) on his job! That's fantastic!

I am in awe of the way you approach life. You've been dealt some difficult cards, but you refuse to be bitter or show resentment. You are an inspiration to us all!


Midas said...

Congrats on your husband's new job.

I don't understand why they'd harangue you for debt from your mother's treatment if they can just hop on a plane and go to Chicago on a moment's notice. I am sorry to hear that even during grieving time, they'd bothered you with debts. True, debts should be payed, but they should really give you time to grieve.

PinksandBluesGirls said...

Good for you for the way you handled that exchange with your aunt. I am totally baffled by their lack of compassion and understanding. It's sad when family does that to each other. You are so strong and so wise beyond your years, Louann. I am so sorry you have had to go through so much.

In better news, congrats on your hubby's job! He'll be back in no time and you'll be getting sleep again! :)

Jane, Pinks & Blues

SusieJ said...

Louann, this has happened in our family too. First, my husband's family, when his father died of leukemia. Your story sounds very similar to his. It's been over 20 years now, and his relatives are sill cold and selfish about the money. They haven't changed. And it's is sucha shame. It is their issue -- not yours. They are actively choosing that scarcity, instead of love. I'm so sad that they missed your 2-year old's birthday. That hurts.

When my Mom died, I had to deal with her husband's family. It was a nightmare. THey sent me certified letters from their lawyers on Christmas Eve, and again, the day before Thanksgiving. IT was horrible. The good thing about that situation was that we had an attorney,and it was legally handled and fixed. That helped me so much. Unlike my husband's -- like yours -- it's family, and they should treat you better.
Happy for your hubby!

Heart of Rachel said...

Hi Louann. My heart goes out for you. I think it was very insensitive for some members in your family to explain about the debt during your moments of grief. They should have waited a little longer and told you about it gently.

Congratulations to your husband's new job. I wish him good luck and hope everything goes well.

Sophiagurl said...

that's so sad, when money takes over and erases happy memories, moments of love and togetherness of other family members.

My heart goes out to you...you are such a brave soul. My prayers are with you always. =)