A Gift From the Grave

When all of my Uncle Bruce's affairs were settled at the beginning of 2006, I received a small amount of money from the estate. I was pretty conflicted about it, mainly because some hoops were jumped through to give it to me (the will did not explicitly say that I should get anything), and because although I appreciated the sentiment that each of Bruce's nieces and nephews should get something, I didn't need it.

So after agonizing over it for about five minutes, I set aside 1/5 of the money for the Beaner and donated the other 4/5ths to charity. I can't even tell you how happy it made me to give far more than I ever had before to the two public television stations that supply us with Sesame Street, the local radio station that produces Fresh Air, and a fourth organization that works to preserve the American Bald Eagle, Bruce's favorite bird. It made me so happy—and the two public television stations, in particular, downright ecstatic—that I've been wishing that I had another chunk of money to give away this year.

Enter my grandmother. Or exit, I should say. My mother's mother died on January 1 of this year, and I just got a letter informing me that I have inherited the exact sum that I received from Bruce's estate. Ironically, this time I'm feeling no conflict or agony, despite the fact that my grandmother and I have not been close since that time she flipped out on my sister and me at Disney World when I was 14. (Long story, but she scared the shit out of us, and suddenly I saw why my mom had been so afraid of her growing up.) I never quite forgave her for that incident, or for the pain she caused my mom, though I'm not sure she was ever really aware that the distance between us had more to do with me resolving to stay cordial but closed, rather than with actual physical distance.

Anyway, today I am happy to report that my grandmother is bringing happiness from beyond the grave rather than pain. The local PBS stations that were so thrilled to get larger-than-usual donations last year will be getting them again this year. So will Breast Cancer Action, and so will our local food bank, because as Al says, it pains him to know that people around us are going hungry. I feel like the Grinch on Christmas morning, and that my heart has grown three sizes today. I hope my grandmother, who probably would have considered such a sentiment "soft" while alive, is feeling a bit of the joy her gift is spreading.

Posted by Lori in random at 4:07 PM on January 19, 2007


You rock!! On behalf of the 16 or so folks/families I know who benefit from the local food programs here in SF, THANK YOU!

Posted by: Kristin at January 19, 2007 7:15 PM

How lovely!

Posted by: ratphooey [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 19, 2007 10:16 PM

Wow, that is really wonderful. What a great way to honor her memory (and your uncle's last year.)

Posted by: Karianna [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 24, 2007 10:48 PM

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