We arrived at our campsite late in the afternoon. I gathered sticks and set up the fire with with some of them and a little paper, then lit a match to it. That is when I noticed a small, translucent, albino lizard wriggling around underneath the burning sticks. I scolded her to get away from the fire, but she didn’t seem to understand how to do that. So I backed off a bit in order to give her the space to, hopefully, exit without me peering at her. But when I went around to where she had been, I saw that she was singed and dead. I had been regretting the fact that I had not been invited to my mother’s cremation. So here this little lizard had given her life so that I could symbolically push my mother into the flames.

Sorting through the grief of a cardinal loss is a process. The loss of Mother screams loud and clear, “You are not going to be around here forever either!”

Sibling rivalry over gifts, favors and bequeaths can be intense. I deeply regret the appropriation of property that had been promised to me by a sibling. She felt that since it had been left up to her to uphold our parents wishes she could legally get out of it, and started decades ago, brought considerable influence to bear, to do just that. I wasn’t even permitted to speak at Mom’s memorial.

 After my mother was placed in an institution and I was denied any input into her care, I brought a challenge. Our mother had been institutionalized without my knowledge or consent and her location hidden from me. I had to call and visit facilities until I had found her. I had provided personal care to our mother for the two years prior to her being institutionalized, and suddenly she was isolated from my ministrations.

The house Dad and Mom wanted me to have is on a 7 acre parcel. Neither one of them wanted to meet the expense of subdividing the parcel. In fact they hated the whole idea of subdivision, land speculation, and urban sprawl. They preferred to designate the house for my use along with the orchard that surrounds it, while having the balance of the parcel managed by the trustee. It didn’t work out, because the person who became trustee wanted to keep the 4 acres the parents had given her while depriving me of the property the parents had designated for my use.

I visited Mom a few days before she passed away. She had been slowly declining for years. She seemed like the same old Mom in a way, and yet her death was no surprise; the surprise was that she lasted as long as she did in the condition she was in. She had lost the ability to walk at the age of 91 and had begun to loose her mental acuity at the age of 83. She passed almost two months prior to what would have been her 95th birthday. 

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One thought on “Albino Lizard

  1. A thousand or so years ago, the forerunners of what we call “lawyers” were equestrians available to be hired to stand in for someone to settle a dispute. Each disputant hired the equestrian of his choice (or that he could afford) to “joust” with the advocate of the other disputant. The advocates each put on armor, mounted his horse, was handed a long “jousting” pole, and charged at each other from opposite ends of the “court”. The disputant whose advocate fell from his horse is the one who lost his “case”. The one who’s advocate stayed on his horse was said to have “prevailed”.
    Some of the language is still used today. The title “esquire” is recognizably derived from “equestrian”. The battle now takes place in the “courtroom”. The legal profession is still the choice of those with combative personalities. That being noted, I would like to add some input about your characterization of “a lawyer who encourages a family member (our younger sister) to be antagonistic towards the rest of the family.”
    I am the one who, a few months after our father died, introduced our mother to the lawyer you refer to, Eight years later, after being wrongly foreclosed upon and becoming evicted from our home, my wife and I had our camping trailer towed and parked on the 2.1 acre parcel. A few days later, our sister and her husband discovered that we were “camping” on the property. They told us that the trust lawyer had instructed them to not allow us to be there, and that we were “trespassing”. I showed up at the lawyers office while our sister and her husband were seated at his desk, and asked him if it was true that he instructed them to not allow us to camp out on my mother’s property, and if so, why he would give instructions that go against what he knows are our mother’s desires.
    He explained that he did not so instruct. He said that he had explained various scenarios – including how our sister could have me removed from the property, and how it would be more difficult the longer we were allowed to stay – in answer to her questions. He further explained that our mother is suffering from dementia, and has had no dealings with him for several years. He explained that it is no longer our mother who signs the checks that pays his fees, but it is our younger sister who signs all of the checks written from the Trust account. “So,” he concluded, “I do whatever the person who pays me asks me to do. If you don’t like or agree with the decisions that my client, your sister, is making, I can only suggest that you obtain your own lawyer.”
    I glanced at our sister and brother in law, neither of which had said a word, and saw two of the glummest expressions – no trace of a smile – that I have ever seen on those two faces. Although the lawyer seemed to be somewhat enjoying himself – as well he might while he charges $6 a minute – it seems that the antagonistic attitude was coming from the other direction. After all, it is not a kind person who hires and directs a lawyer. Notice she did not say, “Our mother’s lawyer told me to do this.”. She said, “My lawyer told me to do this.”

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