Thursday, October 22, 2015

the rabbi sang "My Way"

It was a pretty bad funeral today. My Aunt Mara died on Tuesday, not unexpectedly. And, as I've seen happen often at Reform funerals, the rabbi had never met my aunt and asked a few of the attendees about her (NOT including my brother and me). So he talked a lot about her kindness (not to us0 and her "determined individuality" (aka pigheadedness) and then he sang a couple of stanzas of "My Way." How truly awful was that?

Apparently my aunt was very kindhearted to certain friends and more distant relatives, but was quite unkind to my brother and me. Out conversations over the past 20 years mostly involved her criticizing me - and if she was having trouble finding something current to criticize, she dragged up things I did of which she did not approve from some 30 years earlier. She was hospitalized for a heart attack about a year ago, and at my second visit, she was so horrible to me that I never went back. I cried the entire next day because I really loved her. But she hadn't had a kind word for me in many, many years. For that reason, I didn't call her very often.

I went over it with my husband, my psychiatrist, and my therapist, all of whom had the same thing to say: you don't have to see her.

So I had a call on Tuesday from one of my cousins on Tuesday, who told me the funeral details, and my brother and I did go. (I'm not on the best terms with my brother, either, but we put that aside for the day.)

She was basically a recluse since IBM early-retired her about 25 years ago. For a while, she didn't even have a phone.

I am dreading going through her hoarder-ish apartment. I have been dreading that for years, ever since I heard from one of her neighbors that her formerly neat-as-a-pin residence (where she'd been for over 55 years). However, there are things there that belong to me. When my mother died in 1981, she "held" all of my mother's jewelry - which was actually a good move, since I was pretty wild and irresponsible then. But even as I grew older, she never turned it over to me. There is also jewelry from my grandmother which she said would pass to me. (My brother and I are her closest relatives, as she never married and was my mother's only sister.) Some of this is supposedly in a safe deposit box. These are all things she told me, unbidden, as well as that she planned to divide her money between my brother and me.

None of us are sure what still exists, and if there was any money left, and if there is a valid will. This is less about greed than about having some of these very sentimental items.Also, the fact that when she told me about this, and showed  me a lot of her jewelry, was actually a very good memory. There are certainly a few other mementos I'd like to have, to remember those better times.

Since my brother lives in Rhode Island, it will probably be up to me to find a will and take care of everything. The apartment stuff will have to be taken care of relatively quickly, as the landlord will want it back very soon. I have almost no idea where to start.

I will at some later time talk about her in more detail. She was a very complicated and difficult person. I cried quite a bit, but not without remembering the roadblocks she put up against our having a decent relationship.