I wonder how my mother would have finished the sentence fragment that is the title of this post had she left a last will and testament. But, she didn't. Instead, scrawled in a spiral notebook in her elegant, but nearly undecipherable, script were a few scant directives that only a few of us understood and that had no legal weight whatsoever. She left with no indication as to who was to get what, and so each of her fourteen surviving children gets to guess and formulate opinions concerning her desires.
I'm trying to take the higher ground on this. I keep telling myself that no one thing that belonged to my mother means so much to me that I will fight with any of my siblings to secure it. I just want my mom back. But, things have gone missing from the estate, and even though these were items of nominal value, disregarding sentimentality, I find myself mildly irked by their disappearance. And I hate that it bothers me. Or maybe what perturbs me is that I cannot come up with a statement to justify my removal of anything from mom's house as some of my siblings can, i.e., "I know Mom would want me to have this."
I'd like to think Mom would have wanted for me to have her garden shears and maybe her trowel or hoe. I'm pretty sure she would want me to take a cutting from her rose bush so that I could start a new one. (We shared a love of beautiful gardens and especially of hybrid roses.) I'm also fairly confident that she would have wanted me to have a big clump of her lily-of-the-valley, any of the wayward ferns that crossed the invisible boundary of their shady bed into the lawn, and all of the bearded irises that manage to survive this northern winter.
But, Mom did not specify that I was to have any of these things. So, tell me, how do you divide a rose bush fourteen ways?