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A five minute telephone call with my father and two hours later I am still angry.

If it wasn’t for the fact that I would be cutting my nose off to spite my face I would tell him where he can shove his money.

Got happily distracted away from this, but now, 24 hours later and I’ve hung up on my sister and have been in tears, finding it hard to articulate why I’m so angry.

My father’s long ruled using money. I long ago resolved never to borrow a penny from him because it would be less arduous and emotional going to a bank and answering their questions. He uses it to control where he has no right.

Over the last ten years we’ve had periodic conversations over what happens when my parents die. Last year he went through tremendous financial changes which he told us all about in excruciating detail. I appreciate his attempt to minimise tax to be paid on whatever they leave and his concern about what I will be able to do with it.

But that’s all they are leaving us. Money. Useful, without a doubt. enough to complicate my circumstances and probably not enough to simplify them. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful (or privileged, knowing well I sound both), but we’ve had so many conversations over the last year about what’s going to happen.

Will it be enough to buy my council house? Maybe, maybe not. That depends on how the rules change between now and whenever and how much. A few years ago you got £35,000 off the asking price. This year it’s £100,000. By the time my parents die it’ll be something else. And the value of the house goes up every year. If it’s not enough, will I be able to get a mortgage to cover the difference. Who knows. Will I be able to afford it. Who knows.

So he’s asking for answers I can’t give him.

More than that though, I feel like asking him whether money is all that he has to leave? My mother and I barely talk to each other and see each other less. My father makes more of an effort, but it’s always a relief to say goodbye to him. We struggle to find anything to talk about. They are ever more distant from me. I put my energy into my children, into my friends, into me. Into bonding with other people, strengthening the connections, deepening the love, building the relationships with people who aren’t fading away in the background.

I’m not sure I’ll even miss my parents when they’re dead. I can’t think of anything in their home that I want as a remembrance or any part of them that I really will miss. And money isn’t going to fill that hole.

I am so tempted to just say, “Do what you want, how you want and I’ll deal with it when the time comes.” That just made 1sis angry with me when I said it to her. I almost reminded her of the stroppy ways in which she reacted to my father’s attempts to talk financial sense into her and her refusal to participate. But I didn’t. I don’t think my father would recover from the shock if I said it to him.

Part of me knows I’m being stupid, that there’s nothing wrong with sorting out the practicalities as far as possible. But I just find it all so tangled up with an attempt to control what I do with a legacy from the grave, however justified or not that is, that I just want to stick two fingers up at the whole thing.

 

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