casket with flowers, blue skyWhen I left off, I just had the conversation with my Dad about if there was any money for funeral expenses. My Dad said there wasn’t any. So I planned to have the funeral in a cost effective manner.

So Dad dies and the family meets at the funeral home to plan the arrangement. At this funeral home to make the arrangements are my stepmother, her son, a family friend who is a minister, my husband, I and the funeral home owner. I am given free reign to chose the casket, the vault, etc. Everything I chose is in the “middle” range – not the most expensive, but not the least expensive either. I figure out I was given reign on the choosing because I was paying for the funeral. I was surprised when I received the next month’s American Express bill and the $8,900 charge for the funeral was not there yet. I was happy because I figured I needed another month to have the money to pay it off. In my surprise, I called my stepmother. She was surprised too.

It is not until much later that I found out that I was being tested. My stepmother believed that I knew of some money that my father left and I was not being forthcoming about it. Little did I know that my stepmother had an arrangement with a certain funeral home owner that he would do my father’s funeral at no charge. (I have no idea what type of relationship would provide a free funeral but there it is.) The test was if I knew I had some money coming I would purchase an extravagant package, if there is no money I would (presumably) go cheap.

About 45 days after his death, I receive a notice from an insurance company. Somehow they traced me to my current address. I was notified that I was the beneficiary of a life insurance policy. The policy listed me as a beneficiary living at an address from 9 years and 3 state moves ago.

My stepmother was not pleased with me because I received the money. I had no idea anything was coming to me. I was hurt because I was tested to see if I was telling the truth. My stepmother and I never reconciled over this.