But now…: My youngest uncle on my dad’s side - let’s call him Uncle DBag - has always been kind of a self entitled ass. A late-in-life birth, baby-spoiled, you know. A blowhard of sorts. When he was married, his wife kept him in line. Then they got divorced and he bought a fast car, got an earring and brought two dates to a family wedding. I figured he’d settle once his post-divorce wackiness was out of his system. Nope.
Now he’s remarried to a woman who seems nice, but pushed her way into the family a bit too hard. She immediately started telling everyone how things needed to be done. Yeah, Cousin and Sis have been handling the family just fine since they turned like 25, we’ve got this T, settle down. DBag’s kids were super close to Grandma and Grandpa growing up, went on vacations together, saw all the kids sports games. It always made me a bit jealous tbh. But after their parents divorced, they disappeared. The first great-grandkid they gave my grandparents was eight months old before they ever bothered to bring him out to see them. They cite ‘living far away’ as why they don’t do any family things, but they both live just over an hour away.
Now Grandpa had a bunch of stuff from his great grandfather, who was in the Civil War. Papers, letters, a picture and a sword. He told my older brother years ago that - as the oldest male in the family - the sword and picture were to be his. Also there were some pieces of jewelry set aside for each of us girls from Grandma, but almost all of it was stolen in those break-ins a few years back. At any rate, it’s all in the will and has to be doled out by the lawyer and the estate (of which my oldest uncle is the executor).
After the funeral, we all went out to the farm and everyone helped sort the stuff that Grandma had stacked around. We took our own childhood pictures and knick-knacks we had given them over the years. I got the decorative egg with a hummingbird on it and the Christmas ornament I cross stitched Grandma that she had hanging by her phone for 30 years. I also got the pier photo I took that they had hanging on their sun porch for years and the Navy blanket a friend gave him.
Then we all left the farm with the understanding that Cousin and Sis would go out and get all the stuff to donate (clothes, food, paperbacks) and sort and box the rest of it for the three sons to go through at their leisure. Sis was going to scan in important family photos, then box everything in an organized way in nice photo boxes and deliver it back to Oldest Uncle. We all left. As it turns out, DBag left with the Civil War picture. My brother wasn’t sure he wanted to take all of that stuff, but we suggested donating it to the Michigan Historical Museum and that was agreed on, if the sons were amendable - which, at least, Oldest Uncle was. Cousin had it priced out - the papers, sword and picture (<--that DBag stole) and found it to be worth 10k - 20k.
While Grandma’s body was still in the house waiting to be removed, The DBags had started talking about turning off the electricity. Then they showed up at the lawyer meeting to say they’d hired a realtor, they wanted everything out of there, when could we sell the farm. To which the lawyer was like, ‘one thing at a time, we’re just starting’. (‘she hasn’t been buried a week,’ is what I would have said.)
When Cousin got there this weekend - a week after we buried Grandma - to take the food that was still good and donate it to the local pantry, she found people there - realtors & looky-loos. The DBags had taken everything. The sword, the papers, all of the family photos that we didn’t take last time; our grandparents as kids, our parents as kids, shots of the farm. Everything is gone, ‘vultures’ (Oldest Uncle called his brother that) picked it over. Cousin went to her dad’s down the street, sat in the driveway and cried and cried. Then she called Sis and Sis started crying. I do NOT like when people make my sister cry.
There is nothing left. If he wanted, as executor of the estate, Oldest Uncle could bring charges against DBag. Felony charges, for taking the Civil War stuff that is worth 15k. He won’t. Grandma wouldn’t have liked that. Grandma wouldn’t have liked DBag’s behavior either, but she wouldn’t have wanted the family to go at each other. Also one of my cousin’s wanted a small plot of the land to build a house on, since his dad has a plot as well. It just needed the three sons to sign off on, but DBag won’t because it ‘decreases the value’. DBag’s personally gonna get 200k from the sale of the farm, he can spare 10k of that so my cousin can have a piece of land.
Death in the family brings out the worst, I know. I’ve seen it before when my maternal grandma passed. It shouldn’t be about money or things. For me, it’ll always be about the memories I carry in my heart for my grandparents and the farm. The DBags can keep the stuff.