“You know what they say, where there’s a will, there’s a family fighting over it.” – Comedian Matt Wohlfarth
Inheritance disputes between siblings are sadly common. During a time of tragedy, when a parent passes away, bitterness often arises between the mourners. Fights break out about what’s a “fair share” of the inheritance. Sometimes, these fights are so terrible, they end relationships between family members. In this case, resentment began brewing between two sisters from a young age. But after their father died, his will divided them even more. This story was inspired by an account of a reader of AmoMama, where the story was originally published.
The Favorite Daughter
John loved his two daughters, Eleanor and Hannah. However, he seemed to favor the younger one, Hannah. She was born after her parents had almost given up hope of having another child. Eleanor was already a teenager at the time. But her parents showered Hannah with love, attention, and gifts. Eleanor, who was used to the spotlight of their affections, felt neglected.
The situation became worse when Eleanor turned 18. Her mother passed away. A short while later, John realized they needed a second income and told Eleanor to take a job as a dishwasher at a local restaurant. She hated the job and tried to oppose her father. She argued that her friends didn’t have to work yet; they were going to college. But her father said, “You’re an adult and you need to learn how to help other people.”
“You mean you and Hannah,” Eleanor retorted.
They had several more arguments like this until Eleanor begrudgingly agreed to keep the job. Her jealousy toward Hannah only increased. For her part, Hannah refused to pitch in and work, and Eleanor thought she was a spoiled child. The divide between them got worse.
Hannah liked partying often while Eleanor had to continue at her job. After months as a dishwasher, she became a kitchen assistant, and finally got promoted to cook. As time passed, Eleanor tried to dispel her jealousy of Hannah. While she also wanted to party and live large, she appreciated her experience working. It had taught her a lot.
But when Eleanor tried to talk her sister into being more responsible, Hannah scoffed at her, thinking her older sister was jealous and spiteful. Their father didn’t help the situation as he continued to enable his miracle child in her partying ways. Eventually, Eleanor gave up.
The Unfair Inheritance
However, everything changed when their father passed away. In his will, he left the family house to Hannah. But for Eleanor, he only left an old, dirty plate. Eleanor wanted to contest the will but she chose to back down. Hannah was 21 and needed more help than Eleanor did. She tried to advise her to sell the house and put the money toward college, an experience Eleanor regretted to have missed out on.
However, Hannah rebuffed her and told her to stop acting like she’s better than her. “Besides, I don’t need advice from a cook.”
Eleanor didn’t push her and the two didn’t communicate further. Weeks later, Eleanor heard through the grapevine that Hannah had sold the house and moved to a lavish apartment in the city. Eleanor silently wished her luck.
Months later, Eleanor was spring cleaning her small apartment when she found the dish that was her inheritance. Deciding it should go to some use, she washed it and placed it on the drying rack. Hopefully, she could bring it out for special occasions. Soon after, she hosted a small get-together and served food on that special dish. One of the people was a historian and he was shocked to see the design.
He convinced Eleanor to get it appraised and she learned it had belonged to a Chinese dynasty. It was worth two million dollars. She sold it and put the money into building her own restaurant that grew successfully over several years.
However, Hannah suffered misfortune after misfortune. Eventually, she ran out of money and struggled to find work. Her situation worsened until she became homeless.
One day, she heard of a restaurant that gives food to those in need. She also got the tip to go early because the owner gave more generously than the workers later in the day. So Hannah arrived at the restaurant and met the owner, who was her own sister Eleanor.
Instead of just giving her food, Eleanor helped Hannah move in with her and gave her a job at her restaurant. As adults, the two sisters were able to connect and become close for the first time. Despite all of their challenges growing up, they both came out stronger and more compassionate to each other.
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