On Friday afternoon, my brother and I (and our lawyer) are going to mediation on my mother’s estate. She died intestate in March 2004 and it has taken this long to settle affairs with our “stepdad.” Their house was in her name, which means that my brother and I are heirs to that asset. Three years ago, John (the “stepdad”), presented us with an offer to either sign away our rights to the property, and giving us full access to her personal effects (of which there were few, some crappy clothes and a very small collection of books; we’re not even sure if she even had any old photographs from when we were babies) OR start making mortgage payments on the house (and he would be responsible for the property tax). We rejected that offer and countered with the opportunity to buy us out of our interest so that he owned the house free and clear. It took him two years, but he rejected that offer and threatened to sue us for back mortgage. So, now we’re going to mediation in San Antonio.
There’s a lot more to it than this: nasty behavior on the part of his lawyer, John himself feeding misinformation (we suspect) to my grandparents, and just the usual complicated baggage that comes with being the children of a broken home followed by multiple remarriages. Lots of bad blood.
I’m really nervous about this mediation, mostly because it’s going to require me to be in the same room with John for 5 hours. Granted, Matt will be there, as will my brother, and my dad will be taking care of Harry (I think), and it’s not like he’s going to beat me up or shoot me or anything (at least, I hope not!), but I just cannot bear the thought of being in the same room with that creep, who seems hell-bent on punishing us for our mother’s death.
In some ways, I think this will help me with the grieving process, to get this ugliness behind me and have the specter of John and that g-damn house no longer looming over me. In a lot of ways, I feel like he thinks he “owns” my mom and controls all access to her (she’s buried across the street from his/their house), and I truly do think he blames us for her death (because, you know, we forced her to ignore the lump in her breast for 9 years).
I’m not looking for a payday, obviously, I just want some closure and I want what’s fair. I don’t want to have to pay mortgage on a house that I don’t have access to, and which we can’t afford. But I am just sick, sick, sick over what I’m facing on Friday afternoon. And you can rest assured I’ll be drowning my ass in margaritas at Rosario’s that night. And Matt will have to keep me out of Yarn Barn and indulging in retail therapy.