*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.*
I used to have a huge, happy, close Italian family until my dad’s mother died and he had a falling out with my cousin Michael which ripped the family apart.
Shortly before my grandmother died, she sold her house to Michael for a neat hundred thousand dollars, which was ridiculously underpriced for a three bedroom house in ritzy Greenwich, Connecticut. My dad was the executor of her estate, and, well, my entitled cousin had the audacity to ask for that money back.
Michael thought that since she had died so shortly after selling, and for such a low price, she must not have needed the money. He was very wrong. As the executor of her estate, my father was responsible for what she left behind, which happened to be more than a hundred thousand dollars of secret credit card debt.
My dad was shocked that his mother had been racking up credit card bills for decades without paying them off, and dismayed he had to deal with tying up her loose ends. Clearly, after all was said and done, there was no money left to give back to Michael even if my dad had wanted to do that.
Sadly, things got worse. A few months after his mother died, my dad’s younger brother, Michael’s father, died as well. In his will, he gifted my father his collection of baseball cards that was decades old and probably worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Needless to say, Michael was furious.
Somehow the family got through the wake and funeral without trouble, but at the graveside, just after the pastor finished his words and people started to disperse, Michael lost it on my dad.
“Now you have everything,” he shouted at my father, causing all the mourners to turn and watch. “I bet you’re happy now, aren’t you?”
“You’re a real piece of work,” was all my father could say, disgusted by his nephew’s greedy behavior, and especially in public.
After that, no one on my dad’s side of the family would have anything to do with him. For some reason, they all took Michael’s side and thought he deserved more and should have gotten it.
Maybe if Michael were nicer, my dad would have split the baseball card collection with him. Such as it was, they never spoke again.
How would you have reacted to Michael’s behavior?
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