Ed and his brothers, standing in front of their home, cir. 1966
When a loved one dies, suddenly the family is thrust into the frenzy of making funeral arrangements, and therefore, are forced to spend a lot of time together. In the case of Ed’s family, as well as our own, this was a good thing.
After Ed’s daddy passed away, eleven years ago, the distance between Ed and his brothers began to grow. An unfortunate incident during the funeral planning of Ed’s dad, caused hard feelings among some. The family began to drift apart.
Vivian (Ed’s mom) depended heavily upon Ed for everything, during the years following her husband’s death. Many decisions had to be made, sometimes resulting in jealousy or friction within the family. Eventually, the brothers no longer kept in touch, except to send yearly Christmas cards.
Many months ago, one of Ed’s brothers, who happens to live on the family farm, too, became seriously ill, and came near to death. Through this occurrence, Ed and his brother became close again, after Ed offered to help with his brother’s home health care. Still, the other brother remained aloof.
On Vivian’s last day on this earth, all three of her sons were in her hospital room. It was the first time her three sons had all been together with their mother, at the same time, in many years. I realized this, and immediately felt at peace. Although Vivian was very sick, I believe, somehow, she realized, too, and felt that same peace. Her family was finally together again. She passed away about twelve hours later.
In the days following their mother’s death, the brothers spent much time together. It’s such a shame that it took their mom’s death to bring them together. Much talk and prayer has taken place, and I believe some healing has begun. Each has expressed their thoughts and feelings to the other and the air has been cleared.
Upon the death of their mom, the brothers discovered a letter in her safe deposit box. It was hand-written, and dated March 2003. Nearly one year after their father had passed away. By then, Vivian had become aware of the distance between her sons, and, as a mother, I know it worried her. A portion of her letter confirmed her concerns.
In the letter, Vivian tells her sons how much she and her husband loved them. She reminds them that their father’s blood runs in their veins, and that by loving and honoring each other, they would be keeping their dad’s memory alive. She says this would make him proud and happy.
She, also, asks that her sons please don’t fight over what little she and her husband had to leave them. She asks them to share and honor their parents’ memory. She says that she and her husband loved their sons with the same love they had for each other, and that they loved each other dearly.
Last, she asks that the property be kept in the family as long as possible, and that nobody sell unless they give the other a chance to buy their part.
Ed and his brothers have some difficult days ahead, as they attempt to carry out their mother’s wishes. Ed has been left the unenviable task of being executor of his mom’s estate. He’s a good and honest man, and I have no doubt that he will do the right thing by his brothers. We’ve attempted to reassure his brothers of this, and I pray they will trust, and work with Ed.
Soon they will begin the unpleasant task of dividing up and dispensing with Ed’s mom’s household goods and personal items. I pray it goes smoothly. I know it’s going to be heart-wrenching to experience, as I’ve already been there.
At the moment, we are in a very difficult place concerning Vivian’s house. None of the brothers really need or want the house, which, unfortunately, happens to sit in the middle of the family farm. The house needs some repairs, but still has lots of potential.
The farm land has already been divided among the brothers, and two of them live on it, as well as two of our children. Ed and I feel that selling “the home-place” to a stranger is simply unacceptable. His parents bought that house, shortly after they married, and raised their entire family there (including a grandson). They worked hard, all their lives, to make it nice, and were very proud of their home.
So far, God hasn’t revealed a clear option for the house, yet. Ed’s going to move slowly, making sure the right decision is made. He wants to honor his mother’s wishes, we’re just not sure of the best way to do it.
God has been at work among this family during the past seven days. It’s my prayer that He continues to speak, and all will be listening. I’m praying for a peaceful and honorable solution to the house dilemma. I’d love for someone in the family to decide to make Vivian and W.A.’s house a home again. It would make Ed’s parents so proud.