Some actions can never be undone. But also, some non-actions can never be done once the opportunity passes. That’s often the case with elderly relatives. Once they die, people wish they would have spent more time with them. But they made too many excuses and missed their chance. Some non-actions like these are a bitter pill to swallow, but they can leave a painful but lasting lesson, as experienced by Henry and Jasper. The brothers neglected their mother, but she managed to find another family to love. This story was inspired by a reader of AmoMama, where it was originally published.
The New Inheritors
The reading of the will took a nasty turn for Henry and Jasper. They received a large inheritance after their father’s death, so they expected a similar windfall from their mother, Marybelle. But to their shock, there were two strangers present at the reading. The lawyer introduced them as Lydia and Savannah, a single mother and daughter who had boarded at Marybelle’s house.
Henry and Jasper had never heard of these tenants before, but then again, they haven’t heard much about their mother’s life. They left home at 18 to travel and party around the world, before attending university paid for by their parents. Then they used their father’s contacts to get prestigious jobs. When their parents would try to get in touch, Henry and Jasper would claim to be too busy with their jobs and families. Their father’s funeral was the first time Marybelle met her daughters-in-law. She invited them to visit her but they never did.
Eventually, Marybelle opened her house to tenants. She didn’t really need the money, but she couldn’t stand living alone anymore, especially in a home that used to host her husband and sons. Soon after, Lydia and Savannah moved in. The three became close. Marybelle and Lydia bonded over their love of novels. And when Lydia had long shifts at work, Marybelle greeted Savannah after school, helped with her homework, and made dinner together.
So when Marybelle became sick, Lydia and Savannah were there to help her. Henry and Jasper were not. They didn’t come to the hospital when their mother breathed her final breaths. They only showed up to the funeral Lydia and Savannah organized.
The Reading of the Will
Still, the brothers didn’t notice the two women until they arrived at the lawyer’s office. Lydia greeted them civilly, but Savannah scowled. Marybelle hadn’t spoken about her sons very much, but Savannah knew the signs of deadbeat relatives from her dad. She wanted nothing to do with Henry and Jasper. Especially when Jasper told them to move out. “You’ll have to board somewhere else so we can sell the house. The market is perfect right now, so you’ll have to be quick about it.”
The lawyer, already familiar with the situation, intervened. He told the brothers to respect Lydia and Savannah since they were also in the will. In response, the brothers told him to get on with the reading. But they lost their edge when the reading was completed. In it, Marybelle declared that all of her money and estate will go to Lydia and Savannah. With the exception of two small silver goblets, Marybelle had engraved for her and her husband’s fifth wedding anniversary. Henry and Jasper got one each.
The brothers were furious. It was clear she left them with the goblets so they couldn’t contest the will. Plus, with the engravings, the goblets had little resale value unless they were melted down into something else. They threatened to send their own lawyers after Lydia and Savannah and stormed out. Maybelle’s lawyer assured the women that the brothers had no legal case against them. Relieved, they went to the home that now belonged to them.
A Surprise Visit
Savannah set aside funds for college and Lydia left her job to pursue her dream career. Fortunately, they could now afford her being unemployed for a little bit. For a while, everything went well for them. Lydia got a good job and Savannah began applying to top colleges best suited for her major. The future was bright — until Henry and Jasper arrived on their doorstep.
Lydia and Savannah’s guards went up immediately, but the brother just wanted a few childhood items. Their old bedroom had been kept intact since the women had no purpose for it. Marybelle kept no valuables in it, just her sons’ old belongings.
Not wanting to start a feud, Lydia let them in and followed them to ensure they went to their bedroom and nowhere else. Turns out, she was right to be suspicious. The men didn’t care about sentimental objects; they wanted to find evidence that the women had tricked Marybelle into changing her will to favor them. However, a letter awaited them on Jasper’s bed. It was from their mother.
“All My Love, Mom”
“Dear Henry and Jasper,” it read. “I know you will find this letter because I know your nature. And I know you think yourselves entitled to my money. But Lydia and Savannah are my real family and they deserve to live in comfort. They were the ones who spent holidays with me, who spent time with me every day, and loved me as much as I loved them.
“I will always love you two. But you’ve already inherited from your father and used it to make your own fortunes. I wish you would have let me celebrate your successes with you. I wish I could’ve spent more time with you. And I wish your children will treat you with kindness when you are old so you will never feel the way I felt. But most of all, I wish you can learn from this. I know you two can be better and I will always believe in you. All my love, Mom.”
The brothers read the letter twice then they quietly left the house. They never returned and Lydia and Savannah only saw them at the cemetery on the anniversaries of Marybelle’s death. One year, the brothers left a photo with their bouquet. It included their wives and the grandchildren Marybelle never got to meet. It also included the two goblets, their inheritance, polished and cared for, never melted down into something else.
This story was inspired by an original piece of fiction that first appeared on AmoMama. Any similarities between this story and actual people are purely coincidental.