As noted in my very first post, I named this blog “Conquering the Divide” because of various tensions in my life that I encounter. One of the tensions I mentioned was family tension.
Historically – at least for the last 35 years or so – in our family of 3, I was the closest to my mother. I can’t explain the reason for this, particularly in light of the fact that when I was an adolescent we had a most difficult relationship. At some point, though, especially after my father died in 1980, we became quite close.
One of Mom’s fondest hopes was that this closeness would extend to the rest of the family – that somehow she could become close to my siblings, and that we 3 siblings would become close. It wasn’t to be. I can’t explain why it didn’t happen. And Mom’s death, I fear, has added to the distance among us, or at least the distance between my siblings and me.
We’ve all faced our our personal demons; one or more of us has experienced serious relationship problems, disappointments with our children’s choices and concerns about our children’s health, career ordeals, addiction issues. All of us could count on Mom to help us with these situations, and that help could be both psychological and financial. All of us could count on Mom to let the others know what’s going on. That help, that glue, is now gone.
I’m not a psychologist, so I really don’t know the reasons why we’re not close. We all grew up in a secure, loving family, with two parents who had a wonderful relationship. But the 3 of us have made very different choices in life. One of us moved away physically and psychologically, choosing to spend little time with family. One of us never lived more than a few miles from where we grew up, but that closeness didn’t extend to relationships. One of us tried to be a “fixer” of family issues, usually unsuccessfully. None of us is perfect, and none of us is able to discuss the situation.
My challenge is to understand the situation, and recognize that if Mom couldn’t pull off the closeness, I’m not going to, either. I also know that close friends can be as fulfilling as close family.
I’m sad that I’m not close to my siblings. It’s a choice we’ve all made, to which we’ve all contributed, for which we’re all the poorer. But I cannot unilaterally change the situation, so I must understand it and accept it.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.