I finally got out to watch the movie Manchester by the Sea last night. It is a movie about a man who suffered a great loss in his own life, and while trying to make sense of it all was hit with the news of the death of his brother. On top of that, he found out that he was appointed the legal guardian of his nephew.
What struck me as odd, is that no prior conversation had occurred to consult or confirm if this would be a workable solution for everyone involved. This dead man’s wish was put upon both the uncle and the nephew.
Clear communication didn’t seem to be very open or a high priority within this family overall, however, passing along a minor to an adult that didn’t see it coming is, well, an awkward situation.
The movie explored the challenges of adjusting to a new life for those involved, however I wondered how often in real life this might happen. Of course if the family in the movie worked out these kinds of details well in advance, there would not have been enough of a story to entertain us.
Regardless of whether or not the story line in the movie depicted reality, it is not uncommon for there to be a lot surprises when someone dies in a family that does not communicate. It usually relates to money and stuff and a lot of hard feelings and misunderstandings are result.
The assets (money and stuff) of an estate may not always be divided in the way the spouse or children may be expecting. Suddenly it seems the love just disappears, during a time when families could be moving closer together during their time of loss.
Unfortunately it is not unheard of that some folks plan their wills to send a message from the grave. The trouble with this is that it causes more hurt feelings and for families to become even more estranged.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to have conversations ahead of time with family members about your intentions, and even inviting others to contribute to your decisions. Why anyone would want to leave this world either with a mess for others to sort out or bad feelings about anyone over stuff, just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.
If you can’t seem to work things out with your family, there are plenty of good family counselors and mediators out there that can help. Don’t wait to sort thing out with your family. Dying with lingering angst or regrets is a ticking time bomb for everyone, including you.
Don’t be one of those people who sends a cryptic message from the grave