I Want My Family Home Back

I have hit a brick wall, and the only way that I know to get past the hurt and hateful feelings towards my Dad is to write about them. I don’t care who reads this, I just want people to read what I have to say and walk away promising themselves and their family members that they will be truthful about their final wishes. No matter what, be upfront and honest with the people closest to you so they aren’t left wondering and hurt when you are gone.

My Dad built my family home when I was around 2 or 3. I grew up there along with my 3 brothers, Mike, Jeff and Jason. My Dad loved that house more than anything. That is the home our lives revolved around. When I go home to Vancouver, THAT is home. Or was.

Dad gave the house to a woman he only knew for a few years.

My Dad died last December and he didn’t write out any wishes, just a very simple will that passed on everything to his common-law wife of 3 years, Donna.

When me and my three brothers read the will, we were devastated. Dad always told us the family home belonged to us. How could he have given it to her?

Apparently Donna’s ex-husband took her through the ringer financially. When her and my Dad met, she was renting a townhouse. Now she is the proud owner of a house plus a condo her and my Dad bought together. Good deal. Maybe that’s what it was, a deal. My Dad was sick with cancer and here comes this nurse who can take care of him. Yes, Donna is a nurse. The plot thickens.

We talked to a couple of lawyers, and both were flabbergasted that our Dad gave her the house. They said they had seen some bad things happen, but not this bad. They also told us that we have no legal right because our Dad put Donna on the title of the house. I don’t know very many people that would willingly add someone they hardly knew to the title of their house. Especially a house they loved more than anything, a house they promised to their children.

None of my Dad’s oldest friends or employees knew that Dad did this, and they certainly don’t think that Donna should have the house. My Mom and my Brother’s Mom are very very upset. They can’t believe the father of their children could do this. His brothers and sister can’t either. Everyone thinks the house should go to us. His children.

Donna is the Executor of my Dad’s estate but we haven’t received any information, just the will. She doesn’t talk to me, nor my brothers. She doesn’t care about us. She got what she wanted. We had to beg her even to get the meaningful items from the house, like our baby photos. There are other things in there that she shouldn’t have, but we aren’t invited to the house to see what is there.

I think the kicker is that if Donna keeps the house, it will go to her kids. It makes me sick to my stomach.

Oh, and I lied, I want Donna to read this. I want her to read this and understand that she needs to stop believing she is entitled to that house and give it to the rightful owners; me and my brothers. I want our family home back.


Tara Tiger Brown is a technologist, educator, and author developing programs at the intersection of environment, education, and well-being. Tara is a certified Earth Charter Educator, certified GLOBE Teacher, certified Trainee in Forest Medicine. She has co-founded numerous educational-focused nonprofits and startups including LA Makerspace and KitHub and actively participates in community science projects.