One Big Happy Family
When we are born, we are vulnerable to the many dangers the world has to offer. Our parents are dedicated guardians tasked with protecting our well-being until it’s time for us to leave the nest. As our parents become riddled with age, some would argue the roles reverse, and it becomes our turn to take care of them as their time to move on draws near, but some children never stop depending on their parents.
“Robyn’s” brother is the perfect example.
Robyn and her younger sibling, “Jacob,” had a tense relationship as children due to their polar opposite personalities. Robyn always had a sense he was “the favorite” because he was rarely punished and always got what he wanted. Still, Robyn loved her parents and pushed to make them proud in any way she could.
So when her father passed away and Jacob’s spoiled brat mentality became too much to bear, Robyn couldn’t help resenting her brother’s special place in her parent’s hearts. That wouldn’t be until she became a part of the ultimate lesson of her mother moments before she took her last breath.
Robyn and Jacob’s parents paid his way through his bachelor’s degree. They covered his entire tuition, housing, books, and meals so he wouldn’t be distracted by a job while he studied. As Jacob got further along in his academics, he stopped visiting.
Jacob soon developed the habit of popping up out of the blue when he needed money. Robyn hated this, but their parents happily obliged, thus festering the entitled attitude Jacob had developed over the years of being spoiled rotten.
Closer to the end of Jacob’s studies, he shacked up with a girl named “Sylvia.” Within months, Sylvia ended up pregnant, with someone else’s child. Jacob was still mooching money off his parents, but after many months of giving and giving, Robyn witnessed Jacob getting cut off. A moment that was long overdue, to say the least.
Of course, being cut off upset Jacob. He argued he needed the money to help his new girlfriend raise the child, knowing it wasn’t his. He then threatened to quit school to take care of the unborn child if his parents didn’t give him money as he asked. His father put his fist down. He looked Jacob dead in the eye and said, “Over my dead body. I’ve been paying for your education the entire time. You drop out now, you’ll be responsible for everything.”
Jacob’s face flushed red as he glared back at his father. After going back and forth about the matter, Jacob relented. He went on to finish the degree, but not before moving out of the university housing and getting a low-end retail job to support his girlfriend. Robyn couldn’t help but grimace when she found out about him turning down a career opportunity that was guaranteed six figures a year all because his girlfriend “Sylvia” didn’t want to accommodate. Robyn knew it pained her parents to see their pride and joy essentially throw his life away for a girl, but there was nothing she could do except continue to focus on her academics and make better decisions. So she did just that.
About three years later, Jacob and his girlfriend were married and had their first child on the way. Robyn continued to focus on her academics and visited her parents frequently, unlike Jacob who continued to find ways to mooch. Robyn knew there would come a day he would regret the way he treated their parents.
She just didn’t realize how soon that time would come.
When Robyn and Jacob’s dad was diagnosed with stomach cancer, it broke her heart. Everyone knew he was sick, just not how sick. Robyn spent most of her time with her parents and made sure to help her mother take care of her father’s needs as his health deteriorated.
The doctors gave their father just three months to live. It was a very aggressive cancer that was not responding to treatment. In those final, painful months Robyn knew what her father had left, but Jacob did not seem affected. In fact, once again, he only came around to mooch money. The excuse was always different, but what hurt Robyn and their mother the most, was how Jacob never asked how his own father was doing. Jacob lingered around, thinking his presence would convince their mother to write a check, but most of the time, Jacob went home empty-handed. Robyn remembered the times she had to comfort her mother, heavy-hearted by the eminent death of her lifelong partner and the disgusting behavior of her own son.
Weeks later, Robyn watched her father lose his battle to cancer. She couldn’t stop the tears from flowing but knew she had to be strong for her mother. Once Jacob heard the news, he rushed to the hospital. There Robyn held their mother, both were crying and shivering with anguish. Jacob took one look at the two of them and asked the most heartless question.
“Did Dad have life insurance?”
Robyn shot him the most horrified look.
“Are you serious? Dad is dead and that’s all you care about?!”
Jacob shrugged. Their mother lost her cool and demanded he leave.
“I can’t even look at you right now,” their mother said as she choked back tears.
After that day, Jacob was no longer welcomed around the family. A short time after their father’s death, Robyn helped their mother plan their father’s funeral. At the memorial service, Robyn half expected Jacob to skip it. But as everyone found a seat, she watched Jacob slip in and found a seat in the back. He had a blank expression on his face for the entire service. As soon as it was over, he slithered away just as quickly as it started. His obligatory presence had been fulfilled. Robyn knew deep down her brother didn’t care much about anyone else, but it still burned her inside.
She thought to herself: How could he treat Mom and Dad like this? After all they’ve ever done for him.
Robyn wished she could do something, but there was nothing. She could chew him out, but she knew by then that Jacob was void of emotions. He was a sociopath, incapable of empathy, even for his own parents. Nothing she said would make him realize how horrible he was as a person.
However, two weeks after the funeral, Robyn came home one day to find their mother having a drink with one of their father’s old friends. As soon as she entered the room, Robyn’s mother beckoned her over. Robyn could tell something promising was on the horizon because of her glowing grin.
Momma’s Brewing Something
Robyn entered the living room where her mother and her father’s friend sat. There were random papers littering the coffee table where they had been chatting away just moments before.
“Come sit down,” Robyn’s mother’s sudden cheerfulness made her uneasy. Robyn nodded at the guest and plopped down in the recliner on the opposite end of the coffee table.
“Mom,” Robyn’s voice was soft. “What is this? What’s going on?”
“You remember ol’ “George” right?” Her mother waved her hand in the guest’s direction. “He’s actually a life insurance broker.”
Robyn still hadn’t caught on. Her main concern was how sudden George was visiting after the funeral. She forced a smile and George nodded back. That’s when her mother continued.
“He’s here because he’s going to help me apply for a life insurance policy of my own,” Robyn’s mother perked up. “For five hundred thousand dollars.”
“Five hundred thousand?!” Robyn squealed in disbelief. “Oh, mother. Forgive me for sounding so pessimistic, but there’s no way you’ll get approved for a plan like that. You have diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease!”
Robyn’s mother’s smile sent a chill down her spine. Her next words made Robyn even more skeptical.
“Don’t worry, dear. Just make sure you tell your brother when the time is right.”
Robyn wasn’t sure how to feel about her mother’s cryptic statement, but after that day, all she wanted to do was honor her wishes. Weeks later, life had returned to how normal it could get after the death of her father. Unfortunately, Robyn’s mother’s health began to falter. Robyn felt it was her duty to once again notify her ungrateful brother, but instantly regretted it because Jacob used their mother’s failing health as an opportunity to mooch more money off her. In her weakened mental state, Jacob waltzed over more often but did not pay visits out of concern. Each time he asked their mother for money, she said no. To retaliate, Jacob would berate her and declare their mother heartless for not wanting to “lookout” for her only grandchild.
It made Robyn sick to see her brother take advantage of their mother, but what made her even more irritated was how her sister-in-law, Sylvia would chime in to berate her mother as well. There came times when Robyn would stop Sylvia in her tracks, but Sylvia and Jacob were made for each other. Both were entitled and soulless people with terrible outlooks on life.
The two of them continued to bully Robyn’s mother until she passed from a heart attack and stroke. Robyn was once again left devastated. She had lost both of her parents in as little as six weeks apart.
After signing the necessary paperwork at this hospital, Jacob offered to drive Robyn home. It was an odd gesture on account of the friction between them, but Robyn knew there was no way she could bring herself to drive, so she accepted.
Robyn was in possession of their mother’s personal belongings, like her purse, the last outfit she wore to the hospital, and jewelry. Once they were almost home, Jacob looked over at Robyn and once again asked the most unbelievable question.
“Look, Robyn,” her brother began. “Does Mom have any cash in her purse?”
“What?” Robyn couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
“Kid needs food,” Jacob gruffed. “Come on, I know she’s got something in there for me to use.”
Robyn bit the inside of her tongue and fished out a twenty-dollar bill. She hurled it in his direction, not even caring if the bill lazily floated through the air. Jacob grabbed it and put it in the pocket of his jacket then asked, “Do you know if Mom had life insurance?”
Robyn swore she heard an invisible bell go DING!
Remembering the conversation she and her mother had just weeks ago, Robyn sat up as she answered.
“Yes. As a matter of fact, Mom did have life insurance.” Robyn said.
Jacob’s excitement made Robyn’s stomach flip. “Really?! That’s awesome! How much?”
“Five hundred thousand,” Robyn stated.
It was silent for the rest of the car ride. Robyn didn’t have to look at Jacob to know he was smiling. Robyn imagined invisible money raining from the sky in his mind. It was sickening, but Robyn felt proud that she was able to keep her mother’s wishes.
Mother’s funeral was attended by Jacob and his family this time around. Robyn took her time paying her respects, desperately wishing she could seek advice from her mother one last time.
Weeks after the funeral, Robyn checked the mail and felt numb when she found a letter from the life insurance policy. She walked inside the house and tore it open. After reading over it, she didn’t have to ponder what it said for very long. Robyn didn’t suppress her laughter. She laughed so hard that tears were streaming down her face. Her mother had really outdone herself with this one.
Now it was time to call Jacob.
When Things Don’t Work Out
Robyn’s brother picked up the phone after the first ring. Once Jacob answered, Robyn was sure she heard a bit of annoyance in his voice. When she mentioned the letter from the life insurance policy, that’s when Jacob’s tone suddenly changed.
“Oh, you got a letter!? Finally! What does it say, sis?”
Jacob had never called Robyn “sis” in his life. Still, Robyn brushed it off and said, “Mother didn’t qualify for the policy. The letter says we won’t be getting a check.”
The silence on the other end was deafening. At first, Robyn thought her older brother might have hung up. Then he heard Jacob yell, “ARE YOU FREAKING SERIOUS?!”
Robyn opened her mouth to object but was immediately cut off.
“What about my child!? What about my rent!? We need food and clothes and we just booked a vacation! How could Mom do this to me?!” Jacob bellowed.
That’s when Sylvia grabbed the phone. She didn’t even bother greeting Robyn before she started screaming. “You did this, didn’t you?! You’re just jealous you don’t have a family! You want all the money for yourself!”
“There’s no money,” Robyn said calmly.
“I can’t believe you would steal from your own nephew!” Sylvia spat into the phone. “We’re getting a lawyer and you’ll be sorry!”
Robyn let out a shaky laugh. Apparently, after the call ended, Jacob managed to get a hold of the executor who happened to be George, the family friend who was sitting on the couch with Robyn’s mother weeks ahead of her death. George was in on it since day one. Robyn’s mother confided in him about Jacob and Sylvia’s terrible attitudes toward her, so George helped her pull off the ultimate prank to teach them a lesson.
Once Robyn found out, she couldn’t have been happier. Her mother may have gone to glory, but this was only the beginning of her plan for revenge unfolding.
Rest In Peace
Robyn later found out that Jacob and Sylvia’s intense anger came from the fact that the two of them racked up forty thousand dollars in debt because they thought they were going to get the money back from the life insurance policy.
From beyond the grave, Robyn and Jacob’s parents wanted to show their son just how undeserving he was of the effort they put into his well-being. Their view of him as their star child, rapidly changed as Jacob’s horrible personality matured. Not even his own parents were spared.
Robyn may not have been the favorite child growing up, but she missed her parents like crazy. She was honored to have played a role in teaching her terrible brother and sister-in-law a lesson they wouldn’t soon forget.