Aunt Barbara’s Will

S. E. Wigget
3 min readJul 12, 2021

My dad and I traveled to Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2011 because his sister died unexpectedly. I lived in Portland, Oregon, and he lived in NW Indiana, an hour from Chicago.

View of the building where Aunt Barbara’s condo was, facing the Charles River in Cambridge, MA

Massachusetts, Part 8

I just read Aunt Barbara’s will. She names a couple lawyers as the executors of her estate, which means they have to deal with all this complicated stuff instead of my dad. That makes things so much easier! She wants her entire estate (all her possessions) to go to “the President and Fellows of Harvard College, a Massachusetts educational, charitable corporation, to establish the Barbara Lynn Wiget Endowed Research Fund at Harvard Medical School.

“I further direct that the income only from this fund be utilized by the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine to support research pertaining to the understanding of severe psychiatric disorders with special emphasis on the treatment of paranoid schizophrenia.”

When I read this section to my dad, he said that maybe she had paranoid schizophrenia. I had a kneejerk denial reaction. I thought she was just manic depressive, but after some thought, it’s possible.

I found in her files at least one article on schizophrenia that someone had sent her with a letter. However, I also found papers — including the autopsy report — about the boyfriend of hers who suicided in 1983. I have a theory that he was the one who had paranoid schizophrenia, but I could be wrong. [I later told my brother, who said Aunt Barbara seemed schizophrenic.]

In her will, Aunt Barbara specifies what she wants done with her body: she wants it cremated. (That’s already done, since her body was found almost a week after she died.) She wants the ashes buried in her niche at Mt. Auburn Cemetery (a famous cemetery we passed on the way from the funeral home). Interestingly, she also says the ashes of Richard Davidson (the suicidal boyfriend) are at her condo in a brass urn, and she wants her executor (the lawyers) to “cast the remains” into the Atlantic Ocean.

The lawyers must take care of everything, such as selling the condo and car and antiques and burying the ashes in Mt. Auburn Cemetery. It’s a huge weight off our shoulders.

I searched online for “Barbara Lynn Wiget Endowed Research Fund” and only found this web page, where “Estate of Barbara L. Wiget” is under “$1,000,000 — $4,999,999”: https://hms.harvard.edu/departments/development/campaign/campaign-honor-roll

One of Aunt Barbara’s two passport photos from the 1980s

My travel memoir Every Day is Magical: A Buddhist Pilgrimage in India and Nepal is available on Amazon here:

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S. E. Wigget

Outside Medium, I mostly write fiction, especially paranormal and historical fantasy, under either S. E. Wigget or Susan E. Wigget. WhimsicalWords.Substack.com