My father had a terminal illness and died recently. Throughout, there was drama between my adult siblings and our stepmother. She refused to take him to a better hospital; he told us she made him feel like an inconvenience and that she tried to stop my dad’s mother from visiting. Since his death, it’s gotten worse. My stepmother snapped at my sister that she feels like an outsider and that she was the only one there for my father. She won’t let us take anything from their house until she’s gone through everything. She refuses to pay back money my father borrowed from my brother. And she won’t divide up my father’s ashes so we can have some. My father didn’t have a will, and they were only married for a year. His last wish: that we forgive her. How?
I’m sorry for all of you. In an effort to help, though, I am going to do the unthinkable by speaking ill of the dead: Your father created this nasty drama, not your stepmother. For a man with grown children (and debts) to die without a will or burial plan is to invite precisely the misery that your poor family is suffering now.
At any time during his illness, your father could have changed his medical proxy to one of his children or shared his wishes for his ashes. Apparently he didn’t. As for your stepmother’s complaint that she was your father’s only consistent caretaker — a physically and emotionally exhausting job — is it true? You don’t share the story of their marriage, but how awful for…