I started this last night and decided to wait until this morning before posting. My kids are adults, but like any and all deeply personal and emotional issues, they go back and forth about what to do on any and all issues related to their father. I want to give them plenty of room to flip-flop and change their minds. But no, conversation with both this morning says they are resolved and feeling better about things, about themselves and their choices in this matter.
Throughout today and into this evening there have been multiple text messages, a couple of phone calls, and finally and impromptu family dinner of take-out pizza to discuss this situation and what the kids really want to do about it.
By the end of it, they had ultimately decided that they would not be blackmailed emotionally or monetarily for mementos of their father’s life. Listening to them talk about it, hashing through all their anger and their feelings, I recognize that they are both still really angry with their father for taking his own life. There has been some counseling and talk therapy to help deal with it, but they are both trying so hard to balance how much they loved him with their anger and guilty feelings surrounding his death. Heavy crap to lay on anyone.
They bend over backwards to ensure I and anyone in the room (M and their significant others) understand that this is not about money. If there were some desperate need and she simply asked them for financial assistance they would help her, but this feels like a money grab, pure and simple. While the policy sounds like an old one we had in place from our divorce, I do not imagine it could be an actual life insurance policy that would pay based on his cause of death. His wife was furious that the kids received that money, though, and she has expressed her displeasure in a number of public and private ways.
*sigh* What a mess.
No one in any of their extended family believes them to be selfish for not giving in to her demands. While they would like those few items in her possession or under her control, it’s not worth giving in to her demand for cold, hard cash in exchange. I support them in their decisions and know it’s a hard position to be in. That said, i choose to believe that no matter how mixed up and emotionally troubled their father was at the end, I will always believe he loved them, had severe difficulties in expressing it clearly, yet wanted them to have some kind of seed money to begin the next phase of their lives.
No parenting book I have ever read discusses how to deal with or help your kids with crap like this. Makes me glad all over again that M and I have our affairs in order and have discussed our intentions thoroughly with both kids. Still, it’s hard not to be in a foul mood and white-hot angry with that woman for twisting the grief knife in the hearts of those I love most.