10 Estate Behavior Commands

With great reverence for God’s 10 commandments, here are the basic rules which should be followed in any and every estate situation.  Often, we aren’t thinking clearly in the middle of the estate settlement and distribution process.

While there are no laws that pertain to human behavior when handling an estate and the distribution of property, these commandments should be “etched in stone” to remind us how we should behave.

  1. Thou shalt not worship material possessions.  They can be a monkey on your back and, ultimately, you can’t take them with you.
  2. Greed and the love of possessions can be false idols which can, and often do, ruin families.
  3. Don’t forget to take Sabbath for yourself.  We all need time and space to breathe and reflect.
  4. Honor your loved one that just passed away.  Take actions that would respect them and make them proud.
  5. Thou shalt not kill thy family relationships by destroying your chance to find peaceful resolutions.  Mend your fences.
  6. Do not cheat anyone, including yourself, in the estate distribution process.
  7. Thou shalt not steal anything, even if you think no one is watching.  Someone is always watching.
  8. Thou shalt not throw thy sibling(s) under the bus.  What goes around often comes around.
  9. Thou shalt not covet anything a sibling gets.  It’s not worth it; let it go.
  10. Stay true to who you are and walk as straight a path as possible.  Not only is immediate family watching, but your children and grandchildren as well.  Set an excellent example.

©2016 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

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“Skeletons,” Secrets Cause Strife

From cleaning out estates all these years, I have learned that many people have “skeletons” that need to be dealt with prior to their passing.

In the land of the forgotten (attics, boxes in the back of the closet, locked trunks, hidden in barns or sheds, etc), we find things I can’t even talk about without teary eyes.  I do my best to let go, or tuck these things away somewhere in a spare brain compartment, hoping not to think of them too often.

It is not unusual to find love letters, adoption papers for a child that never knew they were adopted, or evidence of an extramarital affair.  On occasion though, we find things like suicide notes, drug abuse issues, different levels of pornography … some so bizarre it challenges my understanding of humans.  These still leave a mark of sadness upon one’s soul.

We see the dark portals in people’s lives after they leave.  We will never have a clear understanding of why these people did what they did, made certain decisions, or why on earth they would ever leave those secrets behind to be found.  I think to myself how fortunate it was that my company was the one who found those items, instead of a family member who may be traumatized for the rest of their life.  It is my cross to carry … discretion and protection.

Uncovering these secrets casts a shadow which can change your feelings about the person who has died, not to mention seriously tarnishes their personal legacy.

Some things need to be told to the family

and some secrets need to go to the grave with the deceased loved one.

Remember: The dead cannot defend themselves or their actions.

It is difficult to write these things.  We must not only think about ourselves and what we desire, but we must think about those we leave behind and what they may find.

TIP OF THE WEEK:

Clean your home and clean your life! 

Leave a legacy, not strife!

©2016 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

 

Published in: on February 5, 2016 at 11:05 am  Comments (1)  
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You’d Better Sit Down!

I can’t stress this enough, though I feel like a nag for repeating it often:

A majority of the time, your possessions are not worth what you think they are worth.

My phone rings each day with dozens of calls.  But the calls that always make me pause and take a deep breath are those that start telling me what their possessions, or inherited heirlooms, are worth.  In fact, a recent client had a great deal of difficulty hearing the real values of her mother’s possessions.  I was afraid she would pass out, so I said, “You’d better sit down!”

Allow me to say this where all can see it clearly, in hope of helping as many as possible.

  1.  Internet research of items may be completely useless.  Many items are not researched correctly, because the average person may not know the correct name or description for the items being researched.
  2. The internet is only a good tool if you properly search for realized prices, not asking prices.  Realized prices are what an item sold for.  That’s the only figure used to determine fair market value.  Someone can ask the sun and the moon for an item; the asking prices on websites are insanely high.  One is left to think those items will NEVER be sold at that price in this market.
  3. People hear what they want to hear.  Many do not listen, even to an expert.  They see a “price” on the internet for $650 and by golly, that’s what their item is worth.  No, it’s not!  This particular item may actually be selling for $75, making the fair market value $75, not the figure they saw.  Sadly, some people are so anchored to their possessions they will not heed the sound judgment of professionals who do this every single day.
  4. Family lore: “The fish you caught was HOW BIG?”  All our parents told us for decades that certain pieces were “extremely old and valuable.”  Remember, until a professional examines them, conclude that the pieces were cherished by your parents/grandparents, but still may not be worth much.  Keep your expectations in neutral.  Most of the time, these pieces have more sentimental value than actual value.
  5. The price paid for an item has nothing to do with its value in today’s market.  “I paid $5,000 for that.”  It doesn’t matter.  What does matter is:
    1. It is a used item.
    2. It may no longer be in style.
    3. It may not even be desirable, especially if it’s dark brown or very large (both are out of favor now).
    4. No one really wants it.

 Try to remember these things brought you or your loved one pleasure.  In today’s soft market, there is no way you’ll get thousands of dollars from selling them.

6.  Mom collected these for 50 years but they are still not valuable now.  We grew up with our mothers drilling into our heads just how valuable her items are, and yes, they were desirable at that time.  In the 21st century, homes are desperately wanting to be clutter-free.  The younger generations no longer want to crowd furniture surfaces with framed photos, figurines, and paperweights.  Boomers are getting rid of these items, hoping to live a simpler life.

The solution to all these problems, and many more, is to find an expert who understands these possessions and the best way to sell them, based on what they know about the market.  Always get professional estate assistance before you do anything.  Try to be as realistic as possible.

©2015 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

 

Giving While Still Living

Every estate plan should have a mandatory requirement: give away what you have (or at least part of it) while you are physically and mentally able to do so.  It is so important to make sure things are done the way you would like them, instead of through an unsuspecting family member or friend, who could make poor decisions with your assets.

Sometimes, those chosen to make decisions, make very poor decisions; some based on greed and not putting the loved one’s wishes at the forefront.  In some cases, the person chosen is just the wrong one to make these decisions; choosing wisely is half the battle.  Sadly, some feel they are entitled and help themselves, or they do not communicate clearly with other heirs.

I have seen this scenario so often; it leaves me with chills every time I think about it.  I have been brought into homes while mom is literally taking her last breaths.  I would have declined the visit, if I had known.  I have seen children steal while mom is sleeping in the next room (“She’ll never miss this.”)  I have been discovered that children have showed up with moving trucks in the dark of night to take what they want, never to be heard from again.  I have seen a woman steal jewelry from a dying girlfriend as she napped.  Sigh …

It brings me great joy when I can bring light to dark situations.  But what I can’t figure out is why people behave in this manner?  How on earth can they sleep at night?  I cannot imagine anyone doing such things and sleeping soundly.

My mind returns back to handling my own parents’ estate and how well my brother and I managed it.  We split everything right down the middle, down to the penny, just as mom and dad wanted it to be.  We loved them so much that we knew their money was first and always for their care.  They were the priority and we made sure they had what they needed.

Looking back, I am glad that mom gifted some things to me while she was still living.  When my father died last, I realized they had not gifted to my sibling, like mom did for me.  So when dad passed, it was important that my brother have grandfather’s war medals of courage, dad’s jewelry and college ring, etc.  It was only fair and that was the way we wanted it.  Since our parents were no longer there, we carried on in the way they wanted us to treat each other.

For those who may be struggling with this issue, allow me to interject a powerful thought.  With all the clients I have had in my career, I can assure you that the ones who

  • MAKE PLANS
  • STICK WITH THE PLAN, and
  • GIFT AHEAD OF TIME

fare much better than those who

  • DON’T PLAN
  • LEAVE OTHERS TO DECIDE FOR THEM, and
  • ANGER OTHERS.

SEIZE THIS MOMENT!

Gift to those who are special to you.  If your gifts are significant, please talk with your attorney or CPA for guidance.  If your gifts are sentimental, be as equitable as possible and give these items in person, so there are no questions later.  This simple gesture will not only offer joy to someone you care about, but you will also simplify what has to be divided later.

Accept this advice from one who really knows!

©2015 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

 

“Swim to the Ladder!

AN IMPORTANT LIFE LESSON

At six years old, my only experience with swimming was at the local county pool in the kiddie side, not in the deep end where all the big kids played.  I loved the water and mom always had trouble getting me out, until one day, fate had another plan for me.

We went to visit my aunt, uncle, and cousins who had a second home on the water.  Uncle Joe enjoyed clamming so we ventured out to get some clams for dinner.  After we drove the boat to a favorite spot, the adults went clamming.  Some of the kids paddled around in the water, including me, bobbing up and down in the Atlantic.  I always wore my life jacket, and adults were within arms’ length.

When we were all back in the boat toweling off, Uncle Joe asked me if I knew how to swim.  “Not really,” I said, “but I can dog paddle a little.”  In front of my protective mom, he unclasped my life jacket, picked me up, and tossed me into the ocean with incredible strength.  It felt like he threw me far away from the boat; in reality, it may have been 12 feet.

Amid my own panic, I could hear my mother vocally upset with Uncle Joe, screeching, “Dear God, Joe, what have you done?  She can’t swim!”  The boat seemed so far away and I was already swallowing plenty of salt water, thrashing about and tired.  I still remember vividly this terrifying experience.  My little legs moved very fast to keep my head above water.

He stopped my mother from jumping overboard and said, “Watch what she’s going to do.  Trust her.”

 Uncle Joe: “Julie, swim to the ladder on the side of the boat.”

Julie: “I can’t. It’s too far!”

Uncle Joe: “Swim to the ladder; you’re closer than you think.”

Julie: “I can’t.  Someone help me! (cough, cough)”

Uncle Joe: “You can do it on your own. Use your arms and legs. Swim to the ladder.”

Mom was still hassling Uncle Joe and he kept telling her, “Watch what she’s going to do.  She knows what to do instinctively.

Finally, I made it to the infamous ladder.  Waterlogged, ticked off beyond comfort, and angry at Uncle Joe, I didn’t speak to him for the remainder of the trip.  I had swallowed enough of the Atlantic to last a lifetime.  Why couldn’t he have just taken me in the water, like my dad did, and slowly guide me to the boat by the hand?  WHY such a harsh manner of teaching?

Hmmm.  Let’s consider this for a moment.  Sometimes we all need to be thrown in and “awakened.”

He said, “Watch her. Trust her.”

“You’re closer than you think.”

“You know what to do; swim to the ladder!”

He trusted me, my instinct, my ability; he taught me that I can do it.  I was so scared in the water, crying and yelling at the same time, really believing I was going to drown.  But instead, I made it to the ladder because of what he was saying to me.

All of us need to remember that no matter what ladder we are swimming toward, we will make it if we keep trying and don’t give up on ourselves and the loved ones who help us along the way.

boat ladderWhether you are starting a new company, handling a challenging estate, dealing with an illness, living through difficult circumstances, etc., my wish for you is that you have someone like Uncle Joe, who is on the sideline cheering you on.

I couldn’t stay mad at Uncle Joe for very long.  He must have seen a tenacity in me, even at a young age, and believed anything is possible.  And it is!

©2015 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

Published in: on March 19, 2015 at 10:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Progressive Journey

Sitting and writing in my office, I am treated to a few, rare and quiet moments.  The sound of silence bothers some people, but I rather like it.  It allows me to think and listen to my own inner guidance.  Today, I’d like to share some thoughts with you about the past, present, and future.  This thing called life is really quite amazing, especially when you glance in the rear-view mirror.

Sometimes the past is not such an easy place to visit.  Personally, I only go there long enough to learn from or remember the good, and how that good has sculpted me into the human being I turned out to be.  True, you shouldn’t go backwards, but there are times it is necessary for growth.  My mind ventures back to my long-ago, taken there as I sort through decades of my parents’ photographs throughout our lives.  With a smile, I am reminded what a good life I have had and continue to have; though, none of us can claim life was perfect.

This is the past and I wouldn’t trade it,

even if I could turn the clock back. 

It is the foundation of who we are and how we came to be.

Few of us are fortunate enough to love our chosen work, but I live and breathe mine.  Serving others with skills I have accrued through decades of experience, feeling others’ pain and solving estate problems has enabled me to serve, guide, and help people.  As a result, I sleep very well at night.  However, the thought occurred to me that I didn’t get here quickly, and I certainly didn’t get here by myself.  Sometimes we unintentionally take things like this for-granted.

When I go back to where my real journey began as a young adult, I am suddenly reminded of all the kind, giving, creative, helpful, odd, patient, gentle, appreciative, harsh, happy, and sad people who have crossed my path and helped me along the way.  It takes all kinds.  Some were incredible teachers, both good and bad.  Some made me laugh until my ribs hurt.  Some inflicted great pain.  Some taught me what real suffering is, and others taught me how blessed I am.  But all of them were teachers.  We are teachers, too.

We are never alone and never on this journey without purpose.

While we may not necessarily understand what the purpose is, we need to move in a forward motion, lest we get “stuck.”  Each experience seems to be a stepping stone to another place, another direction, and then our purpose(s) may be revealed.  We get to choose that place and direction, and hopefully, we choose wisely.

This is where we are.

The choices we make here in our present

will have an impact on our future and our loved ones’ futures.

We are all connected.

As for the future, it is not yet written.  Like an artist standing in front of a blank canvas, we can (with some luck and strong faith) create something really good.  But, it is unknown and most people find that a little scary.

I don’t know anything about the future, but I do know that, in getting there, we can’t keep looking in the rear-view mirror.  If we do that, we will not move forward and fulfill what we are here to do.

We should use all that we learned in the past, and here in the present, to help create a better future for ourselves, albeit unknown.  We also need to be extraordinary teachers, all of us.

I am reminded of a thought-provoking snippet from a famous quote of Captain James T. Kirk from the original Star Trek series:

 To Boldly Go

It has an exciting ring to it, don’t you think?

©2015 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

Published in: on March 5, 2015 at 10:40 am  Comments (8)  
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Beware of Snowballing Family Lore

I would be a rich woman if I had a dollar for every time I heard a family member tell the story of an heirloom in which the story gets bigger and better with every telling.  It’s like the old parable, “The fish that got away was THIS big …” and every time the story is told the fish miraculously gets bigger.

As estate professionals, we have the same challenge when discussing and valuating family heirlooms and other treasured items.  I visit clients in their homes and enjoy each of them as I listen to their stories.  However, I know what the values really are, regardless of the verbal family stories.

The hard part for me, and for the client, is providing proof that the following really happened:

  • “Did you know Abraham Lincoln sat in that chair?”
  • This belt buckle once belonged to Robert E. Lee.”
  • Our grandmother told us Teddy Roosevelt took a picture with daddy, but we don’t know where that picture is.”

We know what these items are worth on a monetary level, but you can’t place a value on sentimentality.  Sentimentality is priceless.  Sentimental items are what we mostly find.

Could some of these family stories actually be true?  Who’s to say.  Perhaps they are.  But without provenance, or history of the piece, it leaves a question mark and it’s impossible to valuate.  The needed proof would be, for example, a photo of Abraham Lincoln really sitting in that chair with the original upholstery, or a document that proves it was at a historic event or with a person of distinction.  Without proof, we can only appraise what we see based on the characteristics or its aesthetic value.  It then becomes just an “old chair.”

I look back into my experiences with all kinds of families and wonder why most people seem to exaggerate about possessions.  Here’s what I came up with:

  • It’s their version of the truth as they see it.
  • To make the item more “valuable”
  • To accentuate the positive.
  • To make the mundane more exciting
  • To give their heirs a legacy they believe is valuable

Maybe Abraham Lincoln did sit in that chair.  Or maybe he sat in one just like it, and that’s how the story got started.  Someone heard what they wanted to hear and generations of tongues did the rest.  It happens in every family.  Remember too, that people hear what they want to hear.

The bottom line is that we professionals don’t want our clients to be disappointed when they go sell these items and the prices brought don’t match the stories behind the pieces.  Very often, this is the case.  Setting your expectations in neutral before the estate process gets started means we all are one step ahead.

Research professionals before you hire them, but then listen to them with an open mind.  We know the items in the majority of our estates, and if we don’t, we can research them.  Have faith that we handle these possessions every day and can advise you correctly and honestly.

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

The Emotional Porter

When I pack for a pleasure trip, I only allow myself to bring one piece of luggage.  I traveled for many years and made a habit of running for my plane in high heels and skirts (way back when).  Now that I am older, I do everything in my power to lighten my load, wear sensible shoes, and give my aching back a break.  I can’t wait to check my bag, sit down, and relax.

I think many of us lug around our emotional baggage on a daily basis and never bother to “check” it.  Maybe we don’t know how to, or maybe we just forget, so we end up dragging it with us wherever we go.  It gets rather tiring, doesn’t it?

In my business of helping clients sort through estates, after a loved one has moved to assisted living or has died, I see many children/heirs carry a lot of baggage with them, to the point of personal detriment.  I realize that we are not at our personal best when these situations occur, but even after months and years of not making proper decisions, we still carry our emotional baggage wherever we go.  It then becomes a monkey on our back, and we get angry and even resentful.  It chokes our spirit because we don’t know how to heal it.

This emotional baggage comes from a place of not dealing with our stuff ahead of time, before the loss.

  • Not speaking our truth,
  • Not making amends,
  • Not having that conversation when we could have,
  • Not asking the questions to get the answers we want,
  • Not healing wounds that could have been healed.

We forget to forgive ourselves for whatever is eating at us!

Besides all that, I see clients feeling guilty and taking possessions they don’t really want.  It only means we have more to carry, or more for our children to carry.  Life is hard enough.

We don’t need to lug around someone else’s sentiment or prized possessions.

That was their desire, not ours.

On some deep level, we must consider it our penance to drag around this baggage, like the ghost, Jacob Marley, in “A Christmas Carol” showing Scrooge all the heavy chains he must now carry, due to the choices he made in life.  PhotoMichalDanielIt doesn’t have to be like that; release yourself!

I see many children/heirs carry a lot of baggage with them, to the point of personal detriment.  Keeping too much stuff can cause divorce, tension, fighting, resentment, and anger among our still-living family.  It’s just not worth it!

Some would argue that everything they kept was sentimental, but you can’t squash mom’s household of stuff into your already-full household of stuff and expect everything to be ok.  There is only so much you can keep; it should never cause strife among siblings, spouses, or children.

Holding on to grandmother’s or dad’s possessions are not a mandate, not something you have to do.  It’s something you want to do.  Seriously edit your selections as you do.  If in doubt, listen to your inner voice and pass on the item.  Take a photo of it and pass it on.

Don’t be pushed, nudged, guilted, obliged, forced, or coerced by any person, any memory, any ghost, or more importantly, yourself.

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

 

 

5 Regrets People Make on Their Deathbed

NOT ONE OF THEM HAS TO DO WITH STUFF!

“Nurse Reveals the Top 5 Regrets People Make on Their Deathbed” http://topinfopost.com/2014/05/12/top-5-regrets-people-make-on-their-deathbed

In the end, it comes down to you preparing to meet your Maker.  I have felt incredibly blessed and humbled after watching a loved one die.  It is a process of making peace with everything and everyone, before shutting down the shell that carried us so well through life.  It is obvious to me that the farthest thing from their minds were their prized, earthly possessions.  It is those of us who are left behind that struggle with the stuff, often transferring our affection for the person to their sentimental object(s).  Sometimes, we might even think, “Mom or dad would never forgive me if I gave that away,” or “Grandma would be rolling in her grave if I didn’t keep this.”

I don’t think that’s the case. At all.

I think what we may find in the above article is a slice of human clarity.  It’s a glimpse into the world of someone who is getting ready to leave it.  This glimpse focuses on human interaction and the many decisions we made along the way, and the things we could have/should have done differently.  I think it offers the reader food for thought about our very real, very human interactions, and how we could have a better life or how we could offer a better life for others.

In the end, regrets are not what you take with you.  Nor will you take your money, your possessions or collectibles or cars.  All you take is what you entered the world with, plus all the love you accrued along the way.

The only thing we should be concerned with is leaving a legacy that would make those who know and love us, know and love us more.  Go change your world!

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

The Mother

What a very strange place to build a nest!  The top of our old, abandoned basketball hoop post is not exactly my idea of a safe place to raise babies, especially because the nest was built inside the open top of the pole hole.  It’s safe from most predators because it is 8 feet up in the air.  The parents take turns keeping watch so they are also safe from birds of prey as well.  But a long, hollow pole for a teeny, tiny nest?

Suddenly, my delight changed to concern.  I watched, completely fascinated, from inside my car parked in the driveway, as the tiny mom and dad dove down inside the top of this metal pole to feed the chirping babies.  It must get really hot in there for those babies, I thought to myself, especially here in the warm south with a temperature of 90 degrees yesterday.  What if the nest fell all the way to the bottom, inside the pole?

The sky turned gray and I heard a rumble of thunder.  The rain started as a trickle first, then gradually came down harder until it was a good downpour.  Still in my car, windshield wipers on full speed, I watched as the two parents emerged from the top of the pole, looking as if they were ready to take off.

Dad flew to the top of the hoop and stood guard, but it was what mother did next that made me wish I had my video camera handy.

With the delicate grace nature gives her, she balanced on the top rim of the opening as if she would go back in with her babies.  But instead, she hovered, extending her wings, stretching them as far as they would go and acting as an “umbrella” for her offspring.  Was she cleaning herself, using the rain to take a shower, or was she protecting her babies from potentially drowning?  I know nothing of birds or their habits, but it certainly looked like she was protecting them, with dad watching over his mate and babies.

It dawned on me that all good mothers do this.  As mothers, we spend at least 18 years of our lives with our wings extended, as if to say, “Nothing’s going to happen to my child with me here.”  We too have a natural instinct to surround, protect, keep safe, stand guard against anything bad that comes near our children.  We nag … they chirp.  We yell … they squawk.  We hug … they extend their wings.

We shelter our “babies” from sinking into a bad place, and if they do fall, we go down there with them and pull them back up.  It’s what moms do.  When the time is right, just like mother bird, we have to push them out of the nest too, so they can learn to be self-sufficient.  How else will they learn?

My mom is gone now, but somehow she is never too far away.  At times, I swear I can hear her whisper guidance in my ear, tell me she loves me and she’s proud of me, or remind me that each new day brings new things and not to be afraid of tomorrow.

My mom was just like that momma bird.  She protected us fiercely, and when the time was right, she let us fly, because she knew she had done her job correctly and prepared us for what lay in front of us.

I miss her so much it hurts.  Remember your mom this weekend and be ever mindful of all she did, has done, and will continue to do for you in life as well as in death.  If she is still living, there is a huge blessing in that.  And if she has passed on, the blessing now sits inside of you for having known her.

God bless all mothers everywhere!

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

Published in: on May 9, 2014 at 6:46 pm  Comments (5)  
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