I admit that I am guilty of using money as a stop-gap for things I rather not do. Sometimes, it causes me some internal moral writhing.

Last Sunday, Mum and Dad went to visit a relative who had just been discharged from hospital. She is actually Dad’s cousin, twice removed. She is reasonably close to Mum and Dad, but we kids seldom have much interaction with her. And I also do not like her very much anyway.

Anyway, when Mum and Dad told me that they were going to visit her, I had a moment of indecision. I felt duty-bound to join them for the visit. No matter the closeness of our relationship, or my personal feelings towards her, she is still family. And I had nothing better to do other than mooch around the house.

But I had been looking forward to mooching around the house all week. I am a rather extreme introvert and need a lot of down time by myself. Mum and Dad also said they were planning to spend a few hours at the relative’s place. I would have gone for an hour or so, but sitting there listening to inane small talk for a few hours was more than I thought I could bear. Still, the idea of not visiting her during her convalescence when I was free to do so did not sit well with me.

I thought the best way was to send her something so I could least show my concern (and salve my guilt about not doing my duty) without making my way there physically. So I made up a red packet with $100 and asked Mum to pass it to my relative as a token of my concern. I was thinking of her, just not enough to pass up my own free time and visit her. The red packet was supposed to let her know that she is at least in my thoughts. Better than nothing, I thought.

It has been a week, and I am still thinking about it. Obviously the money hadn’t gone towards salving my guilt as much as I thought it would have.


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