Finding Peace — Manuscript Post #57
I knew what I wanted to do, and I put in the time and money to make it happen. I didn’t do any of this expecting my siblings to help. Therefore, I wasn’t mad when none of them helped with the expenses. I did however make sure that I couldn’t be blamed for not allowing them to participate in addition to my paying all the expenses. I knew that my siblings accusing me of not allowing them to help would have made me mad so I prevented that from happening.
I never said my siblings should help pay. I paid for things because I wanted to see them get paid for. I didn’t pay for these things to make my siblings feel bad or guilt them into paying for them. I didn’t follow up with anyone asking them to pay for anything. Later on, when I was distributing items that my siblings had specifically requested, I paid to ship the requested items to them. I didn’t ask them to reimburse me for those shipping costs since I had already paid to have all the items, whether anyone wanted them or not, shipped to me.
I only asked Pop to help pay because he said he wanted to help, and helping pay was the last thing left he could help with. I asked him to help pay only to force Pop to either help or refuse to help. It was his last chance to help and I was not going to let Pop say I hadn’t asked him to help, or that I hadn’t allowed him to help.
I also gave a lot of thought to how to handle the second issue Elsie and I discussed, namely Snap. Elsie had said to me that Snap did me a favor when he tried to get the refunds for himself that were owed to me. When she said this I wasn’t sure I knew what she meant, but, I wrote it down and reviewed it in the context of everything else we had discussed.
I had asked Elsie, during this session, how long I should continue to help Snap financially as he transitioned to living alone. I had told her that I was wondering if a year was long enough and she said that seemed too long. I thought about what she said, what Snap had done and what I needed to do next. Her comment that ‘he did you a favor’ suddenly made sense.
Snap had been trying to intercept these refunds for months, months when he was also asking me for money. During those months I had been spending hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars dealing with everything that came up during my mother’s last days. Snap chose to try to intercept these refunds and he chose to not tell me about them. Elsie encouraged me to think of Snap’s actions as ‘he just saw money he could get’.
It suddenly became clear. Snap had done me a ‘favor’ by making my decision as to how long to financially help him very simple. I wasn’t going to allow him to treat me this way anymore. Given what I had done for Snap, his actions to ‘get’ money that wasn’t his, told me that he didn’t appreciate my help. Snap sees all that I had done as just another source of money that he can ‘get.’ I realized that my helping Snap wasn’t helping him become independent, my help was actually helping Snap continue his dependence. Snap wasn’t transitioning to independence. Snap was transitioning from dependence on his mother’s Social Security checks, to dependence on cash from me. In both cases, Snap only saw money he could get, he didn’t see that he needed to become self-sufficient.
I had been conditioned by my mother and my siblings that their manipulations were ‘normal’. I was so used to being manipulated by them that I didn’t always see that it was going on. Snap had done me the favor of behaving so badly that I was stunned. This forced me to re-evaluate my helping Snap. Elsie was right, Snap really had done me a favor.
I sent Snap an email. I was very clear. The subject of my email was ‘no more money.’ I told Snap that I knew he had tried to get the refund from the nursing home for himself. I told him that I knew he had deceived me about the refund from the collections agency. I told him I would not give him any more money for any reason and that I would no longer pay any bills for him. At this point, the only ongoing financial commitment I had with Snap was to pay for the storage unit. I told Snap that I would only continue to pay for the storage unit if he signed it over to me so that I could access it and clean it out so I wouldn’t have to pay for it any longer.
I also emailed Crackle, Pop and the other members of our extended family that I thought Snap might contact asking for money, to tell them what I had experienced. I wanted them all to know what I said to Snap and why. I was clear in my email that I wasn’t asking any of them to do or not do anything. If they wanted to give Snap money that was up to them. I felt I had a duty to tell them so they could make an informed decision before they gave Snap money again.
I was still trying to make sense of Snap trying to intercept my refunds when I received an email from Crackle. She was thanking me for sending her copies of the photos of our mother taken at the funeral home. She told me, referring to Snap’s recent behavior, that she had suspected, on several occasions, that he had ‘played’ her when she had given him money. Elsie was right of course. What Snap did to me wasn’t about me, he was doing this to everyone. Snap saw money he could get and he went after it. It wasn’t personal.
After all of this, I needed to decide what I was going to go about Snap’s request that I send him the death certificate so he could get the refund that was owed to me. I’m sure most people would say that the answer was obvious, that I would not send the death certificate and that would be the end of it. I understand that that would have been the reasonable response.
Many times throughout this process, I had made decisions that were carefully thought out. I made sure I knew what I wanted to do and then I did it. I knew that I could refuse to send the death certificate and that would probably prevent Snap from getting the refund. On the other hand, that would not get me the refund and I wondered if Snap would use this as an excuse to keep calling me. I didn’t want to have any ongoing open financial issue with any of my siblings.
I decided to check and I found that the funeral home had sent me two copies of the death certificate along with the ashes. I don’t know if that is normal or not but there they were. I thought about the facts of this truly messed up situation. I wanted Snap to leave me alone. Because this refund was in an account I couldn’t access, no matter what I did, I couldn’t get the refund. There were two copies of the death certificate, so even if I sent one to Snap, I would still have one. I didn’t know of any reason I would need a copy, but I knew that a death certificate is necessary to settle various estate issues.
I realized that I wanted Snap to have the death certificate. This would allow him to get the refund, the refund that he was not entitled to. He could then decide to send the refund to me. That would be the right thing to do. If he didn’t send me the refund this would complete the theft. He would know that I allowed him to get the refund that was mine, but he kept it for himself.
To be clear, I never, for a moment, expected Snap to do the right thing. But it felt right to me to allow him to get the money. Snap would have no reason to keep bothering me about this issue and I would know he had chosen to steal from me.