It's surprising how many times I hear or read about siblings who haven't seen each other in years because of some family fight that happened decades ago. Cousins who don't know each other because their parents don't speak.
Relatives of mine, 3 siblings, always seem to be fighting with one or another, or both of the other siblings and months or years may go by without contact among them.
Or things happen between siblings when a death occurs. Things may have been just fine prior to the death, but when it comes to settling the estate, it gets ugly and people don't speak afterwards because one or more of the parties feel they have been slighted by one or more other parties.
Today I was speaking to someone about an upcoming social gathering hosted by one of their children. I asked if another of their children would be there because I had something to pass along. No, I was told, there is a feud that goes way back and the siblings don't talk to each other any more.
This always makes me sad to hear because I have seen the other side of sibling relationships. You won't find siblings closer together than Walt, his brother and sister.
I always figured that a big part of this was because their father died when they were so young (Walt, the oldest, was 15). They and their mother were a force against the world and they worked together, played together and loved each other.
Any social occasion where Walt, Norm and Alice Nan are together, they are always together, laughing together and just enjoying each other, often oblivious to others. Not that they deliberately exclude people but they have a special sibling speak that it's difficult to join.
I've always been jealous of that because Karen and I, while not exactly feuding, were never close either. We were oil and water growing up and when she left home and acknowledged that she was in a relationship a woman, in an era where lesbian relationships were not exactly accepted by anybody (heck, even PFLAG hadn't been formed yet), she kept herself away from the family for most of the time. though, as I have said before, the very last time I saw her, she and her girlfriend came for dinner and we had such an amazing time. It was such fun. I remember standing at the door, waving goodbye to the two of them and thinking that maybe now that we were adults, we could finally be friends. Two days later, her girlfriend put a bullet in her head.
But I have missed her sorely these past years, especially dealing with making decisions about my mother. Ed, her stepson, was a big help, but he wasn't her son, so the decisions were left up to me and how I wish I had had a sister to confer with so I could be sure I was making the right decisions.
It saddens me that so many people throw away the thing I want most desperately -- a sibling who remembers our past and who has known me all of her life, who shares the jokes I can no longer share with my mother, who remembers what it was like being raised by our father. But it's just me.
Given the relationship Karen and I had for 24 years, I have no guarantee that we would have become good friends in adulthood or that we would not become one of those fussing' feudin' and fightin' siblings, but this many years later, I have my fantasies that it would be better.
The thing that makes me the happiest is seeing how Jeri, Ned and Tom are friends with each other. They are like Walt, Norm and Alice Nan and I love watching them get together and enjoy each other. I wonder if that would have been the same if Dave and Paul had lived.
|Day 42: Happiness is seeing my 2 babies together--I raised them both from birth.|