There are a few things that you don’t become aware of until a loved one passes. Among these are the vultures.
I don’t mean literal “SQUAWK SQUAWK” (or whatever noise they make) vultures. I’m referencing the bipedal ones who look just like you and me, speak the same kind of words, and manage to appear when there is some material gain to be had.
My first experience with this was a week after my mom died. Amidst the phone calls from teary friends and co-workers offering condolences was one from a family member. I won’t say that they most definitely were not family. I’m Filipina, so the number of “cousins,” “aunties,” and “uncles” I have can be counted on one…nothing. It can’t be counted on one anything.
What’s key is that my parents, like myself, kept a rather tight inner circle. I knew the names, if not the faces, of anyone they would have wanted to bestow possessions or memorabilia. This particular “family member”? I had never heard of them. Not a whisper. Nor a murmur. Not even a passing remark among hundreds of other relatives’ names when the topic of family arose.
Despite all of this, the person spoke in a very assured voice of how close she and my mom had been, how devastated she was about the loss, and had my mom mentioned something she was to inherit? If not, surely that was an oversight, and wouldn’t I be a good girl to let this “relative” come by to look at her belongings?
I think I told her that it wasn’t a good time, but if she left her number I would call her. She didn’t leave a number.
A few people had the audacity to just show up at our front door, telling my dad the same story. Close family/friends. Knew my mom really well. Could they come in because she had surely left something for them? Thankfully, despite his grief, Dad was having none of their foolishness and sent them away with more politeness than they deserved.
I remembered these long ago events as I contemplated my husband’s obituary. His hometown, and the places we lived before this, are far flung. Our local circle already knows of his passing, and what a wonderful person he is. Is there really a need for a local announcement? At this point, it would most likely lead only to me answering the door while wielding a baseball bat and intoning in a dangerous voice, “You’re saying you know my husband?”
Ultimately, my sister-in-law wrote an absolutely beautiful tribute that will run in their hometown’s newspaper. I feel that this is the best resolution.