Do you have issues with your no-longer-best girlfriend? Is your coworker driving you crazy? Megan Carpentier is here to give you the life advice that you don’t want to hear, told in the way you absolutely need to hear it.
My great-aunt (with whom my immediate family was pretty close) died recently after a long illness. While we have a large extended family, she was preceded by her husband and two kids, so she’s got no immediately apparent heirs — but she does have a lot of money. I never expected to get any of it, nor do I really care whether I do or not: I mean, if she wanted to endow a scholarship or make sure her dog lived in luxury until the end of its life, that would be totally fine with me. Apparently, though, I’m alone in this feeling. From the phone call letting us know that she was headed to the hospital for the likely last time to the email arguments about the obituary, everyone has started jockeying for position — mostly against her nephew-from-the-husband’s-side, who is the executor of her estate. But I don’t want any part of this? How do I tell my family to leave me the fuck out of their nastiness so I can just grieve?
I’m really sorry for your loss, and for the realization that the rest of your family cared more about your great-aunt’s money than they did for her. Of course, that might well indicate why they’re worried about the status of her money: if she was close to the people that she knew cared more about her than her money, where her money goes might well reflect that.
But that doesn’t stop your relatives from lining up their defenses to try to claim a right to some money that a dying woman didn’t want them to have. It sucks, but it’s also pretty typical. And if you feel like it distracts from your ability to mourn your great-aunt in the way you need, you have to ask for the space. So the next time someone tries to involve you in their position-jockeying, just say something like, “Look, Great Aunt [Andrea] just died, and I need time and space to grieve for my loss. How you choose to use this time is up to you. But I’m asking that you respect my need to not be involved in these conversations about money for quite a while. And, if you don’t, I won’t be picking up the phone or responding to emails until I’m ready to speak about your desire to make sure you get the amount of money you think she should have thought you deserved.”
Adjust, of course, for your own level of personal combativeness. But any amount of “STFU about her money, you insensitive pusbag” should get the point across.