Monday, October 25, 2010

The prodigal brother

I'll think of something that's good about my brother at some point, but at the moment, he isn't showing to advantage, and given that I've seen him only fleetingly in the last ten years, his recent gyrations are all I have to form an opinion with.

Firstly, there was the identification of the furniture he wanted. That mom was still alive at the time didn't seem to weigh with him. Then he insisted on being there for the reading of the will: well, given that its only one page, I thought it most convenient to give it to him to read for himself.

He thinks my mom was made of money. Every time he sailed his barque off point non plus, she'd produce the ready and rhino at the drop of a hat. She told me last year that she'd had to sell the last of her investments to save him from bankruptcy owing to a very bad business venture.

The earlier investments were sold because he'd maxed out his credit card and was behind on his (astronomical) mortgage - and those before that - and so on. Mom explained that he'd had his pound of flesh, and she'd bequeath what was left to me. She said it was only fair. She also said she'd explained that to him.

He's acting surprised (although he admits that Mom did have a little talk with him as mentioned above). He's hideously envious of the 'riches' that I'm to inherit - that this consists of fixed property I won't be able to sell easily and that this lot will land me with a whole bunch of taxes and legal fees and nothing to pay them with doesn't stop him from pulling a long face. Oh yes, I got the dogs too, but at least he doesn't envy that. Just thinks I should have had them put down.

I've told him he can have whatever he wants of the contents of the house, and he's making all speed to empty it before I can change my mind - even though he doesn't want or need most of it. Its almost indecent, really. What IS indecent, is the fact that he's pocketed the money my rich uncle sent towards the funeral.

Its not a small amount. I paid those costs, he announced Uncle's generous contribution in the presence of my cousin so that I could thank the family for it, but I haven't seen a penny. I'm not going to fight with him about it. My guess is that its spent already anyway. I wonder how he justifies it to himself?

I seem to remember that the legal term 'prodigal' is used to describe one who is quite unable to manage money in any way: perhaps that's his problem. I'm inclined to think he's just impractical, selfish and greedy. Maybe that's the same thing.

The interesting fact is that we had exactly the same upbringing. I honestly wouldn't have been upset if my mom had left me nothing. All that matters is that she's not there any more. Nothing can make up for that. Perhaps its a convincing argument for nature being stronger than nurture.

Today's pic: One of the beaches near Hermanus - nearly as empty as my brother's head.


  1. When I read about him asking for your mom's antique, I already had a picture of him...
    I like how you match your own photo with your topic. I can see how creative you are!
    Your mom is now free of pain. May she rest in peace!
    ...and I wish you well, MM! :)
    ~Nelonie aka lancelonie

    P.S. The answers to your question (#9) is on Question 10.
    Thanks again for participating!

  2. Amazing how people act in these situations, as if things aren't bad enough. I went through something very similar with a brother of mine. We don't speak now although we really didn't speak before. So I can truly relate to what your going through, sorry you have to deal with all this on top of everything else.

    By the way I think its wonderful you took in your moms pets. Take care.

  3. One good thing about your brother is that he may be fireproof. But you won't know for sure until you try it on him.

  4. We can't pick our relatives but we can choose which ones to keep in our lives.

    I've been through a similar situation; at some point you will let the hurt go. You can recall it, though, when you want to get fired up.

  5. Damn, Grant always says just what I was going to say. Yeah, right, I wish I could be that clever.
    Fortunately, when all of this is behind you, you will never have to deal with him again.
    I commend you for taking the high road in all of this. You'll be able to sleep at night.

  6. It's so sad that your brother hurts you in that fashion. My youngest sister is somewhat like that, except she stole things from mom and dad's home when they were still living there. I never understood her reasoning, but she told me she did it because she deserved the items. She stole framed photos also, that she could have just as easily borrowed and made copies. People can be so irrational and selfish at times. My two brothers and two sisters were all raised the same, but we all wound up with very different morals from each other, and our personalities are not a bit alike. It's just the way things happen. We just live with the consequences as best we can, I guess. You've had a lot of heartache, but you're a tough little cookie. You're in very trying times right now, and I think you will be okay in the end. It's just wearing you out right now, and I wish you the best and my love in the days to come.

  7. That sucks that sometimes family does more damage than strangers.Hold your ground.

  8. Futomara: True, on occasion blood can be very thick indeed. Come to think of it, mom used to call him a 'clot' on occasion.

    Nelonie: I've had some fun with your questions game, long may it live! Oh, and thanks for the photo comment.

    TK: Yes. People are all worried when you have to go through stuff alone, but sometimes its preferrable!

    Grant: I'd burn him at the stake, but he's taken all the wood furniture, so what am I to use for fuel?

    HWF: Good point. I hardly saw my brother before all this, and will look forward to the day when we can return to this happy state. We are awfully fond of each other when there is sufficient distance between us (1000km or so should do)

    PAMO: As you know, I sleep very well! I'll bet you do with your cat-lined bed. Just re-discovering that particular joy of life!

    CW: Yes! Isn't it ever so odd? People are forever attributing this or that to someone's upbringing, and yet different people respond to the same upbringing in different ways.

    Israel. Hmmm. Not too many in my family thank goodness! Thanks for the encouragement!

  9. that sucks your bro is acting weird, it's sad how some people act after a family member passes...