Jump to content
Grief Healing Discussion Groups

Dividing Mothers Belongings

Recommended Posts

So I dont know if most of you know my story, my mother passed this past late november. Well I have two other siblings, two older brothers - one is married, the other lived in my moms house with her as did i when i was home from school. So, when going through my mothers belongings, we kept telling my brother who is married to come over and sort through things, he said he was "too busy". Time was ticking because my brother and i are each moving out into our own homes seperately. When my brother who is married finally did come over most of the stuff had been sorted through, now granted my mother didnt have too many valuable possesions - for the most part her ceramics which she painted herself. Now these ceramics i decided to split so each one of us got one - most of them were sets so i split the sets. Now since my one brother (who is married) did not recieve many things, which in another sense doesnt necessarily make sense - sinsce most of the things my brother and i did take are everyday household items, dishes, towels etc...

Now i was going through a chest where my mother kept all our baby things, within the box i found a ceramic train set - 3 peices, each engraved on the bottom the year december 1985 with my moms name, which was the year my brothers were both born, i was following in 1986. So this set was made specifically for the both of them. Now when i was going through this stuff i was talking with my sister in law and told her how i found these, she immediately said that , (well lets call the wed brother A, and the unwed B;) A should get those, i hesitated and thought that it should be split between them, now since there are three peices i decided to let A have 2 and B have 1. Now I hadnt told her what i planned on doing with these, but she immediately called my brother A and he had called me shortly after saying that he needs to get those, they are a set keep them together, i Disputed that many of the things that i have split up prior were sets and we each have a peice. He said if he doesnt get the whole set he doesnt want it, i told him that hes getting the two peices.

Now i know i shouldnt have told my sister in law, because really, had i not told her - he would have gotten two peices of it and not even of known. However i like to be honest, now - should i keep it a set or am i doing right by splitting them by whom they were made for. Also this is the only set of ceramics i have found that actually has my mothers name engraved so i feel like these are sort of the "jackpot" in my opinion of my mothers things. And my brother A was saying well you guys went through all the things without me, and i clearly told him that he had plenty of opporunity to come and go through things - even so, i did set some special items asside for him

any thoughts would be appreciated, its not a situation i've ever been in - not a situation i want to be in. And im torn...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My circumstances are somewhat similar to yours. My mom passed away in November just over 3 years ago. My two brothers, sister, and I were certainly under high levels of stress after my mother died. We all occasionally lost our composure, forgot our best manners, and came into conflict with one another. And most of the trouble resulted directly from how my mother's estate was handled.

Things happened in my situation that were particularly difficult. Before my mother's things were even sorted, my own personal possessions were thrown out of her home without giving me any notice. Then my mother's things were distributed in the manner of a public auction; the format and rules were brutal. I had almost no say in these matters, and channels of good communication with siblings were mostly closed. I had to wait a full year for my mother's physical things to be divided, and at times I did not know whether I would inherit anything. Two years were required for the legal issues to be settled.

The result of the botched division of my mother's possessions was an intense wind-up of my own emotions. I had such intense resentment and anger, that had to get professional counseling. Felt I was coming unglued.

I did get past the difficulty though counseling, reading a lot of psychological literature, support here, and making much effort to repair relations with siblings.

At heart my brothers and sister are all gentle people, but stress, difficult circumstance, and bad planning somehow brought us into open conflict. I've already said plenty about the rough end of all this, but I want you to also know that much mending of hearts and learning also occurred.

I will tell you what I think about the ceramic train set. If I were in your situation, I'd keep all pieces of the ceramic train set together and give the entire thing to the brother(s). I would do this to not only to avoid conflict, but also to completely clear my own conscience. You may indeed be entitled to one third of the set, but who is to say for sure? You already have more than one family member on the other side of this issue, so it's is kind of steering into conflict if you insist on having your way. Sorting the family estate can be less a matter of calculating entitlement, and more a matter of heartfelt effort to preserve family relationships.

My story is of intense conflict while my mother's things were divided. I hope your issues are much more moderate and can be resolved without similar ordeal. Best of luck working your way through this issue.

Ron B.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

well heres the thing, i think you may have misinterpreted what i said. There were other ceramics that were a set that i split amungst all three, now as for the train set i only intend to split this amungst my two brothers the brother A is the one who will get two peices and brother B will get one peice - i get no peices out of this

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yup, I misunderstood your situation. Now I get that you are caught between two brothers as the arbiter of who gets what. Any way for you to duck out and let someone else decide? Or maybe your two brothers can do some kind of time sharing with the train set, keeping the set whole?

Anyway, I agree with you about the difficulty of the situation. Sounds like no matter what you do, someone is going to be very unhappy. Three years on in my own family there are still hard feelings about how things got divided. My own number 1 priority was to avoid conflict, but it happened anyway. Hope you do better.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another option would be to keep the set together...draw straws as to which brother gets it.

My mom hasn't passed but she had to go into a Dementia Care Unit and the house needed cleared out of all but her basic necessities (clothes). My brother is the conservator and the only one with a key to the house. He also had a lot of stuff stored there, which we didn't (there's six of us kids). We waited for him to decide when to go through the stuff and he put it off and put it off and suddenly decided on a weekend in which I had snow arriving (I live in the mountains) and I couldn't make it. As a result, I got nothing. You know what? I'm not going to nitpick over "stuff", I've lived without that "stuff" all my life and can continue to do so. The one thing I wanted, as my dad's firstborn, was the painted portrait of him but I was told my brother got it, so that's that. I wouldn't fight over ceramic trains and to do so shows Brother A is not at his best right now...grief does that to people. I'd let it go and resolve, most importantly, not to let any stuff come between the relationships that exist between the three of you. That is what your mom would want and that is what is most important. My brother and sisters are way more important to me than anything my parents owned. We all have memories of our parents inside our hearts and nothing can destroy that.

Good luck to you, I don't envy you your situation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...