My mom recently..

While my mom battled cancer, I was her caregiver, nursing her until her final days. But when she passed away, my mom split her money between my money-hungry brother and aunts. But it turns out that there was more to the story. It turns out that inheritance, loss, and family are the ultimate recipes for drama. Let me tell you all about what happened after my mom passed away.

My mom battled with cancer for the longest time. When I look back now, it was something that had been around throughout my early life and then carried on when I enrolled at the community college close to home. Mom was always my best friend, so naturally, I was going to be there every step of the way while she battled this illness. I just remember the days bleeding into nights when she was sick — something that was in a constant loop. But I also remember that the spoon-feeding and the hand-holding gave her as much comfort as they gave me. And then, on the other side of this story, my brother and aunts only showed up when they needed something. Usually, to have their bills paid. Or, like the one aunt (while my mom was on a steady decline), she wanted mom’s “contacts” to sort out a new house for her. Because my mom owned a real estate agency. The audacity was unbelievable. Anyway, Mom tried her hardest, but the illness took over in the end. Now, fast forward to the day of the will reading.

All the relatives, the lawyer, and I were sitting in a room like something straight out of a Hallmark movie — think of wood everywhere and a chipped tea set on the scratched surface of an impossibly old coffee table. I was sipping a cup of weak tea from one of the chipped teacups when the lawyer dropped the bomb. Mom’s savings, about all $5 million of it, was to be split between my brother and my aunts. I choked back the tea, thinking what was happening in the name of heaven. Because I got nothing. Zip. Nada.

Now, I’m sitting there, with tears streaming down my face and onto the white skirt I was wearing — mascara drops staining my clothing. And this greedy bunch did not even bother to hide their smirks.I was baffled. How on earth could my mom have done this to me? I thought, wiping my nose with the face of my hand. And then, as a classic overthinker, I began to wonder whether I cared enough for her during those final months. But then, the lawyer stood up and handed me an envelope. “Your Mom,” he said, “loved you more than anyone.”Of course, the room gets quiet, and the greedy bunch all look hungrily at the letter. Dearest Lily, it said on the front.I opened the letter, and an address and a key were written on a single piece of paper. Now, I’m sitting there and thinking, What the heck, Mom? But I decided to check it out. Maybe she wanted me to clear out a storage room or something.

The lawyer decided to tag along, tight-lipped about everything. So, we got to the address, which turned out to be this hidden gem of a house. A beautiful home with even my favorite flowers planted along the walkway. Mom had left me a fully paid-for home! And it was clear that she had left her imprint on the place because there were photos of us inside. And another letter on the glass table in the entrance hall — this letter was to spill the beans. It turns out my mom knew all about how my brother and aunts were the biggest money drains. But she wanted me to have a place to build a future and a family. To make new memories in a place that clearly has her spirit. As for the money? Well, the letter said that she handed it to them, fully aware that they would blow through it. She wanted to teach them the value of things and focus on family ties. Which was bound to happen when the money was long gone. But now, I’m standing in my new kitchen, drinking coffee from the coffee machine I always wanted, and I realize that mom’s love was never in the money — no. It was in this home, and I knew that this gift would be more valuable to me than anything else. Hey, Mom? You still know the best.

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