Thursday, 30 April 2009

Morals Relatives

I appreciate comments regarding the previous entry below added and by email.

There is a further element to this complicated story that shows just how complicated and twisted these issues get. There is the part where my mother's will was rewritten against me, and I wanted that reversing by first waiting for my relatives to discover what the truth was about caring, and my mother even to return and reverse all that had been done. And at one point my mother did seriously consider returning (relationships strained down there) and I was prepared for the tough grind involved. But here I asked her to seriously consider the future, and she did want to stay there.

Here is the extra element. My father had died into the millennium. He had blamed my mother and me for the separation. My sister was married, away, with children, and he felt guilty about passing on his genetic condition that had impact generations down and stigma generations up. He had one bizarre phone call with me in the early 1990s, and I always wanted to go and see him but did not out of deference to my mother. He did have contact with my sister and others.

When he died he not only left a healthy bank account down my sister's line, but also he hoarded cash. I think we are talking about nearly five figures, whereas I received a fixed sum of £500. I was asked by a solicitor if I wanted to challenge his will. No, I wasn't going to get into family disputes and grabs over money. So as a result my mother changed her will, and all agreed the house would come my way, the substantial part of my mother's estate.

So when she changed her will against me, this was an act against the agreement that had been made, and furthermore it was made with a second house purchased among the recipients, plenty of decoration and fabric, and technology, and the money had pretty much gone. So this all looked like me being shafted after a known agreement, and on top of it I was also a piece of shit.

Now we see how money weaves its tentacles, especially when one side of the family has minimum wage jobs and the other, me, has been in and out of work, mainly out. Elena comes along and for a time is fine in the same, large, house. Not the way to do it.

One large ethical error was this. As the relationship broke down with my changing mother, and Elena as complication to add to this, the temptation was to stay in the house and hold to it for material gain rather than the relationship. So you start to dig in, especially with Elena finding Portsmouth to be a useful place to teacher-train. So I thought things might restore with my mother, but they did not as time went on. I was in good work at this time, though it came to an end as her training did, meaning that we couldn't move away. Plus we had this material gain.

When it looked like I'd been shafted by everyone, then it was by emergency that the rent agreement was set up. I had made it clear to the estate agent he'd get no co-operation from me, and he was rather stepping over his place too in trying to lecture me to do the right thing for my mother. So at least there was some pleasure that he was off the scene. And it was only by chance that I was in Barton at the same time as I saw everyone come out of the estate agent that would lead to this estate agent appearing.

So the removal van came, other relatives by marriage of that side of the family came, all the furniture she wanted to take went, and my mother had gone. We were left and some while after Elena went off to a new course. My attempt to communicate was met with a deep personal condemnation and here was a very low point.

When my sister rang me with her words, "I know where you're coming from," I treated the call very neutrally, but left things open. It left to Elena and I laughing a great deal, because now they had my mother and all that I had done and she had put up with (and my mother became verbally vicious) was starting there. But I'd been shafted, I thought, and I wanted it reversed. Those who had spent the money were going to spend some more, in time.

What must be mentioned is the gratitude for the sheer support given at my adopted church. I mean clergy, of course, and the relatives of same, and Elena and I were just friendly too, and a whole group of supporting people there, and also was the ongoing extraction of those Christian beliefs about how I should behave. I could see moral relativity all over the place, and also knew a little of the divisions in my aunt's family when she died and the sheer bitterness when my mother's father died and people were accused of grabbing the silver. Blimey, even the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke about the value of patience and I adopted that! I'm not joking about this. Plus I was taking a positive, active, role in doing theological and church things.

As the first visits took place, and my mother expressed some regret for how the departure had taken place (because of some conflict where she now lived), I also examined who knew what and when regarding the will. From answers it seemed that my sister was just outside of direct knowledge, that her daughter knew from her supporting visits to the solicitors about money matters. Then it became clear that the deed was done against me via a neighbour accompanying my mother, and she knew nothing. In any case, once my mother had decided she would not come back, that was it, and this nasty, money-based matter had to be laid to rest, at least for me.

When my mother thought she would come back, I pointed out then that I was still married and that had to be understood. I don't think that was the reason my mother decided she would go back, but it probably was an element. She had internalised that viciousness and would have to behave: and, whatever the condition of my relationship with Elena, there was going to be no compromise on this matter. As it happens she went back and I think that was for the best.

So now I had long gaps but also regular contact that my sister was getting angrier about my mother's behaviour and my niece was increasingly investing her skill into looking after my mother (she worked in a home, though had to leave due to ill health). Then there was the visit here with my mother where, yes, I was giving my sister and niece respite, but where it was simply impossible for me to cope. And imagine also Elena coming through computer speakers every few days and my mother thinking she was hiding in the house!

I'm still here and I've been able to borrow from my mother to keep the car, including even after sister and niece acquired active power of attorney (I gave no objection), but I am looking for a public housing place in the next town where I would not need the car for ordinary low-life living, and of course I'd like to get back into work. I am separated now but quite friendly: there has been no argument but there has been too much drift and change in outlook. In the end I've never imposed there either.

The danger for my relatives is that of wearing themselves out into serious ill health if this goes on and it cannot, and of course for my niece it could all happen all over again. I'm also concerned that my niece is over-attached to my mother, who simply is undergoing a thousand deaths towards her last death. Plus, if I'm renting and still renting, and my mother goes into care, a charge could be put on the property for the care and no one will end up with anything. So that's life.

I'm spilling out this whole story because it shows what goes on alongside all the usual fun and games output of one's interest, and where a point has been reached of no return that allows these suppressed family matters to emerge.

Betrayal is something you taste: it drips and you cannot believe the level of what seems to be heaped upon you. One day you discover people doing things around you, and no one is listening. No one has been listening, and things are done against you. Then slowly you realise that, yes these things were done, but it is a little more complicated. You just have to drop slowly these real tastes. People who know me don't understand why I don't react and cut people out, or do something back. It's only because reactions in the past have achieved nothing other than more problems.

My plan was to leave this house, become my own person, set up my own friendships and relationships, and have no more to do with my family at all. Now I don't even care about that. I have no idea about my future, but some things are true. One is that I lived with my mother for far too long and the good relationship itself wasn't healthy, when you see its outcome. Secondly I spent too much time student wise (and ministry pursuing and other matters) and should have been a little more materially self centred. When the right relationship happened, I should have done what people said and got out. In the end we are just shattered pieces putting things back together, with all the cracks and knocks. Plus it has been a period of the back spasms I had around 2003-2006 (nearer to two years) and an obesity from a resultant lack of exercise.

That's just life, isn't it, but all through I've retained core friends nearby and developed new ones, and I've both developed and kept the range of views I hold, trying to build things into a cohrent whole.

It's not just about public image, but about a kind of coherence in yourself and if you can live with your own self. There's a lot I don't like about myself but on all this I wanted to be able to make a case inside myself that I can defend, especially when no one seemed to be listening except those with whom you could talk and reflect and who at times gave advice that I didn't take. You have an inner resource that does sometimes run out, but comes back. In the end you don't achieve much but you can make a case for the defence. It's up to others to do their own defence with themselves.

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