Vignette 20: Hearbreak Changed My Values

From Heartbreak, Mourning, Loss. Volume One, Detach or Die

A moral tale

My client was a widow of 74, dying of cancer and with an only son who had not visited in two years. When she called him to announce that her cancer was in stage four, he came to visit. The front porch was icy, he slipped and fell on his butt.

His first greetings to his mother were to say in an angry voice: do you know that if I had broken my neck on your icy front porch, I could sue you for a million? His mother was shocked by this lack of filial compassion, and by the fact that he did not offer to shovel the ice.

The next day, the son hired an appraiser to take a look at the house and the bedroom where his mother lay dying.  As soon as he departed, the old woman called my friend the attorney and changed her will. She said she had always known her son was a spoiled entitled narcissist.

She felt that it would be morally reprehensible to leave him an inheritance; he really had enough money for basic needs and more. She left her house and her money to an organization that takes care of battered women, and a letter to her son explaining her reasons.

About Author

Ginette Paris
Ginette Paris

Ginette Paris Ph.D. is professor at Pacifica Graduate Intitute, in Santa Barbara, California. She teaches and lectures in US, Canada and Europe. Her books have been translated in French, Spanish, Italian, German, Portugese and Russian. Paris’s previous book, Wisdom of...


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1 Comment

  • Rebekah Lovejoy

    An excruciating lesson learned, the hard way, and a profoundly moving story. This blog has amplified my understanding of loss, and given me new perspective into my own mourning process.

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