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The Best and Worst of My Family Life

by Sarah Angelleni

And Fighting Sometimes (well, it's not me fighting)

And Fighting Sometimes (well, it's not me fighting)

We've all been through the best and worst and I'm sure we've all got a great tale to tell about it. Whatever family you belong to, you are going to experience some of the best or worst of times. Sometimes, death can bring people together or tear them apart. I remember when my father died and I saw our really close family, almost get ripped apart over items he had accumulated.

His extra room was full of metal shelving and stacked like a little store that had five of everything for each of us girls. The items weren't identical exactly, but very similar. While there was sorrow as we thought of each item he had picked out, they were systematically divided. Since my Dad died at a fairly young age, of an unexpected heart attack, he had not taken the time to prepare a will or label anything.

Then it came time to divide the larger household items, such as computer, living room furniture, yard tools like a lawnmower and the dreaded hedge trimmers. Being the oldest, I sorted through the insurance policy paperwork, looked for an attorney and planned a funeral.

The younger sisters argued incessantly, when it came time for us to evacuate his rented home to get rid of his entire household of things. Because I was overwhelmed with grief, legal paperwork and financial worries about how we would pay for the funeral, I had little interest in the material items. In a family, where there are multiple siblings, birth order characteristics begin to show when there is no real emotional outlet for the grief and it started with my younger sisters as their arguments became more heated.

The biggest arguments of all were over the computer and the hedge trimmers, of all things. Back then a computer cost three times what one does now, but the next oldest had two children and she wanted it for them so that argument was finally settled. The hedge trimmers were quite another story.

This was just an ordinary, (electric I might add), pair of hedge trimmers. The two youngest sisters, who were in their twenties, married to best friends and hung out together all the time, both wanted them. They argued over why they should be the one to have them, both grasping the handle of the $80 hedge trimmers. I even offered to pay one of them the money to settle the argument, to no avail. They pushed and shoved each other like a couple little kids.

I finally declared that everybody could use them to trim their bushes and pass them around. Through the funeral and dividing the rest of Dad's things, they didn't speak to each other. His car, truck, land, life insurance policies and bank accounts were sold or cashed out and split equally with a few squabbles along the way, but not many.

When the two younger sisters finally made up, it lasted about ten years. The last argument they had was three years ago and they still don't speak to this day. Stubbornly, the rest of the family and Mom have two separate Christmases, birthday parties and graduations or weddings. You can't help but wonder if they never really got over the hedge trimmer argument. Families go through the best and worst times together, but the worst can sometimes tear them apart forever, unfortunately.

Sarah Angelleni

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