Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Father Passed Away This Early Morning

I guess the title says it all. In all honesty, I'm more relieved than anything. I saw my father last on November 1st. I tried to encourage him to stay positive but he replied, "Every time I try to think positively, it just seems like I run into set backs. It's as though I shouldn't even try to be positive. All I wanted was to die quickly and painlessly. I can't even succeed at that." My father was a broken man in life and he wasted away in pain during his last months. For whatever he suffered in life, I hope he is happy in the afterlife. Rest in peace, Dad.

Right now, I'm struggling with the conflict between juggling family/cultural obligations vs. financial responsibility. For example, I suspect that my father's brother (my uncle) wants my father's ashes to be buried in the family plot in the old country. I'm not certain, but it appears that the Buddhist Temple would require a yearly maintenance fee or rent that could potentially cost anywhere between $200 - $1,000/year. My mother also believes we need to go back to the old country to hold a memorial for my father's family. The travel costs during the holiday + memorial costs (feeding my father's extended family) could easily run $20,000.

I hate to think of my father in terms of dollar-and-cents, but is it really my burden to carry on this potentially never-ending financial obligation, especially when my father didn't plan for it himself? Am I a bad daughter for even thinking in these terms?

I also feel guilty for feeling grateful that my father passed away before his term life insurance lapsed. This means we'll have some money (~$200k) to hold in trust for my mother in the event she needs to go into an assisted living facility. I'm glad my sister and I had the foresight to file my parent's bankruptcy so that this life insurance money can be preserved for the care of my mother.

There's just something tasteless about not wanting to do something for a deceased parent due to money. But at the same time, I need to do what's financially responsible for me. Where do I draw the line? What are my filial duties and obligations? Perhaps this is one of those questions that have no right-or-wrong answers.