I know it has taken me three days to get to the point, but the phone call was about making a will. Since Mum knew of my imminent divorce, she has worried about sorting out her will. She has been talking about it for ages. I really wish she wouldn't discuss it! I don't want to know, I wish I didn't know now.
What she really wanted to do was to leave her savings to me and also her half of the property that my parents currently live in. To do this she needed my step father to sign an agreement. Apparently there is a way of her bequeathing her half to me which also entitles him to tenancy rights until his death. It sounded complicated but do-able, and she has spoken about it often. She is convinced she will 'go' first, and I have to say, I think she is right, though I haven't actually said so!
Anyway, having heard her 'chunter' on about this for some time, when I called her the other night, and asked her what she'd been up to, she said she'd been to make her new will. I asked her if it had all gone to plan. Now don't get me wrong, I would MUCH rather have my mother here forever, than benefit from any inheritance, but it has been concerning her and so I was hoping it was all done and dusted and that she was happy with what she had done.
However, my step father did not sign the form, which she needed him to sign, so that she could pass her half of the house to me and she was upset that all she could leave me were her savings. She was disappointed.
Apparently he was worried that, should I inherit half the house in the future, I would somehow make him homeless. My initial response was shock. " Of course" I said to her "I would NEVER do that". See how deep the crustacean was buried? To me he is still my father, be it in name only, and I could never, ever do that. She agreed that she knew I would not, but she couldn't persuade him.
Then she told me what he was going to do with his will.
Everything, the property (all of it should he die last) and his savings (they have no joint account) were to be left, not to me, but to my daughter and her only. Not me, not Small Sprog. And what's worse, he was going to leave it in trust for her until she was 35! I will be retired by then and heading towards 70. It was then I became angry, and my mind started to put things together.
All these years, all this time, he has lied to me. Our whole relationship has been full of lies. He has led me to believe, over the years, that he cared. He has done things for me, painted walls and cut the lawn. He has taken my side in arguments, listened to my ranting, he has appeared to care, it has been very convincing. We almost have a normal relationship. Am I mad? I thought, stupidly, that after everything, because I had called him dad, because he had been sorry, because I had known him for most of my life, because he had shown me small acts of kindness, that he loved me. And now it seems he never has. He does not care, he does not want to help. I am nothing to him.
And as I thought about it I realised that, of course he thinks I will leave him homeless! He doesn't trust me. He doesn't realise I hold no grudges. He thinks I don't care, just like he doesn't care about me. But I am still the child, accepting and forgiving, I have done both those things and he has no idea. Though I am not about to tell him now. Perhaps he still sees the situation as the adult. He thinks I hold the things he did to me against him, he thinks I will still tell “Don’t tell your mother, she’d make me go away and that would make her very unhappy”, if only he knew. He thinks that if Mum were gone, I would show, what he perceives to be, my true colours.
Perhaps he is right. Now I know where I stand perhaps I would?
But no, I don't think I could, even now, and anyway it is all academic. He didn't sign and Mum has not had her way. She is used to that. To add to all of it I have 'told'. She has that to bare now, though I'm not sure that she really believes me, even now.
By the end of the call we both agreed that 'money is the root of all evil' Yet there is something pure to have come out of all this. Something that shines through the darkness, it is this; I now know where I am, I know where I stand, I know how he feels about me. I can be fooled no longer. Only the truth is left. Of course we will both go on pretending, playing happy families, having to, needing to. Yet underneath it all I will know, there will be no more confusion. He doesn't love me and I am free.