The last time he visited his parents it was difficult.
It was when they announced him the share of their inheritance to one of his siblings.
His father had already retired; his mother was two years close.
He got up late that first day of his stay, because of the long flight and the time difference. His mother walked in the kitchen where he was making his coffee. “Remember the old furniture from my mother-in-law? she asked. “Not really” he said. “I asked both your sister’s and brother’s contribution to refurbish it. I want your brother to have it.”
He knew that his siblings helped mother out, but not for antique furniture.
“I wonder, why not include me in the furniture share?” His mother kept silent.
“In a future visit, can I stay in the apartment?” he changed the subject. “I have this desire to visit more often. “You should ask your brother about that,” his mother replied.
His parents owned an apartment in the same area. “You know where I stand,
my brother should be financially independent, as with the rest of us”.
But this was not his parent’s thinking. The same evening his brother came over. “Can I stay with you at the apartment in future visits?” “No” his brother replied. “Is his apartment” mother announced, “we registered that property to him.”
It was not the first time his mother had concealed the truth from him, why was he acting surprised suddenly? “The pattern repeats! It’s like that time you bought a brand new bicycle for my brother, and a used bicycle for me”. His brother got offense. “You are obsessed with the past! I deserved that new bicycle. You are here to attack me”, his brother was furious. “This is not true, I just state the facts, family patterns repeat”, he defended himself. “Mother did not share this morning about your inheritance, even though I addressed it directly. In regards to the furniture, why was I not included? he looked at his brother. “Fine, you can pay 1000.00 Euros and take what you want except from the sofa, is mine.”
“See what I’m talking about?” addressing his brother. “Family patterns repeat.”
“You are ungrateful, your mother worked so hard for you”. He looked at his mother who was ready to burst into tears. “You are conveniently accommodated by mother,” he commented back to his brother very calmly.
Over the next few days he tried to observe the uncomfortable triggers, the emotional pain he felt. It was as if he was dragged under loads of moving mud. Nobody was around to lovingly help him come out of it. His head could explode.
He coped with daily scheduled long-hour walks at the beach. It helped him to tire his body and hear the waves, as if their only purpose was to sooth and relief him.
“You think you are that smart?” his mother had asked him that question when he was little, whenever he tried to stand up for himself. She would behave in the same manner with his older brother and even his father when they tried to reason with her on various family matters. He could not tell how his sister was raised, he was already abroad when his mother gave birth.
“You think you know it all, don’t you?” his mother had asked him again. His eyes squinted, a reaction he could not control. “You think you are that smart?” sadly, he witnessed his mother repeating the same at the evening discussion with his brother. It was his first day of visit.
When he was little, he spent his summers with his grandparent’s from his mother’s side. They fought often and, as a result, his grandfather physically abused his grandmother.
He spoke to his mother about this a few years back, at a previous visit. “They fought, yes. But, my father was a good man” she spoke with certainty.
Controlling tendencies, non-confrontational attitude and manipulation were the main attributes he noticed in his mother’s behavior. They may have been her defensive, against her parent’s difficult relationship. He thought he worked on himself for not repeating the same. No family, no woman, no man is perfect.
“I have the best solution” he turned to his parents next day at dinner. “I will pick up your mortgage expenses and other relevant costs of an equal value of the apartment you gave to my brother. I won’t claim ownership of this house until after both of you have passed away.”
“No,” his mother replied and cleared her throat. “Inheritance transfers within the family name. I want you to have my mother’s house. “But they are not of equal value,” he dared to say. “I can hire a professional to properly make an estimate” he offered. “No need, I know is fair” his mother replied.
“In addition” she continued, “this house you can split with your brother. Your sister wants the vineyards”. He was baffled. His family bilked him before anyone else.
“When my sister wanted my half-share for a whole piece of land, I exchanged it with another piece of land. In a similar manner, you and your brother will split the house in the city in half. I‘ll continue to pay the mortgage and you will be able to register this house on your name, hopefully in five years from now.”
He tried to recollect his thoughts.First of all, his brother already had one property registered in his name, he is settled for life. Secondly, their relationship is not as close like his mother and her sister. How is it possible, for mother to be willing to share their inheritance without hiring a professional to estimate their property?“
“I can’t accept your proposition mother. It was different at the time you grew up. My grandmother inherited land and passed it along. You worked hard and purchased two properties in the city. You already gave one up and you expect me to pay my siblings if I want it all to myself. You refuse financial support now that you are alive and well. I love this house, is where I grew up, my grandmother’s house is where you grew up! Do you expect me to want what you want when I visit?”
“No, you can stay with us for as long as you like” mother said.
“I can’t tip neither my sister nor my brother, I’d be happy to support you.”
“If I take your money you’ll tell people you paid more”.
“No, mother, I will say the truth, that I paid the difference to maintain a fair share.” He was angry at her that she could not understand him. But he was calm in his voice.
You know what, I would still love to support you to pay your mortgage expenses. Is fine, I do not want inheritance from you.”
And so in a few moments he had removed himself from receiving a share from his mother’s inheritance.
He could no longer live in the past.