Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sad legacy

My father-in-law passed away last month. Although I cared very much for him and feel he suffered unnecessarily at the end of his life, unfortunately he left a very sad legacy behind.

My FIL had a poor relationship with money. He started his own business many years ago, and according to my husband the nature of the business was that some years he'd make half-a-million dollars, and other years they'd be relying on a gemach. The problem was that my FIL didn't save anything from the good years. Not a penny. The minute he had money, he would spend it. And unfortunately, as my husband has been going through his belongings, it turns out that much of what he bought was garbage. Fake gold and silver (that he believed was real and spent a lot of money on.) He bought things he didn't need - he would get a new TV if he heard that one of his friends had gotten one, even though he didn't need it.

My FIL used things instead of words. He would buy expensive gifts instead of saying the words "I'm sorry." My nieces and nephews only have memories of him buying them things, not spending time with them during their visits. Several years ago he sent my children a shipping box full of candy. Another time he bought my kids a ton of presents that were actually all cheap (not well-made and broke right away), rather than finding out if there was one item that they might really like, just so that it would look like he had bought them so many gifts.

And, on top of this attitude, he just didn't have the income to live like this. He spent loads of money decorating his house the minute he moved in (new floors, cabinets, etc.) yet it is being foreclosed because he didn't pay the mortgage. My husband had to argue with his parents to cancel their newspaper subscription when they clearly couldn't afford it, yet he actually CANCELLED HIS LIFE INSURANCE POLICY and left my mother-in-law with nothing. (She will be living on a small social security check for the rest of her life.)


Anonymous said...

I am a frequent reader of yours. When I saw on my google reader that you had posted I was so happy, but unfortunately, you have very bitter news to share. It feels funny to say this, since i don't know you, and i don't even have have a blog persona
(yet?), but I am so so sorry.
I am still picking up the pieces of someone (not a family member) who died without life insurance (with two little babies), and it is very hard for me not to get angry (at both members of the couple, the uninsured, and his window).
I can't imagine the frustration and sorrow when it is your family, but I feel a little tiny bit of it, and my heart goes out to you.
Kol tuv,

Esther said...

Liza - thank you so much for your kind thoughts. My husband has been struggling with the comments from everyone about how sorry they are for his loss and how much he must miss his father. While obviously these caring thoughts are appreciated, the reality is that he is so angry at what was (not) left behind for his mother. So it is so meaningful to hear from someone who understands.

I'm also so happy to hear that you read my blog regularly. Because I can't post from work I find that long periods of time go by without blogging, but I will try to pick up again. If you do start a blog, please let me know! =-)

Houston Ima said...

Hi Esther - I saw your comment on my blog and thank you for commenting. I am sorry to hear that about your FIL's passing, and I can tell that it is very difficult for your husband and family in so many ways. May we only hear good things from now on...

I look forward to reading more on your blog - yay we have debt in common! - and I am going through the blogs on your blogroll - so interesting! I look forward to sharing ideas.