Taking Sides

I don’t know why, after all the years of dysfunctionality within my family unit as I was growing up, but even as an adult, it still amazed me how many differences of opinions there would be within our family, and extended family, as we all married and went our separate ways. I personally believe that when there are problems within a family, especially when dealing with emotionally charged issues such as divorce, sickness, aging parents and even death etc. In-laws should offer their opinions if they are asked, but keep their opinions to themselves if they aren’t asked. I think making decisions on how aging parents should be cared for should be made within the immediate family unit between immediate siblings. All others should let the siblings work out any differences among themselves. Offer support to your spouse or significant other if they need it but don’t get involved in telling the other immediate family siblings how you think things should or shouldn’t be done. It has been my experience that doing so will only have disastrous results.

For example: Stephen and I were locked in a bitter argument about mom’s care.  As far as I was concerned the disagreement was between me and Stephen and should have stayed that way. However, Stephen’s wife jumped in the middle of it and made the situation much worse than it had to be. And, to make matters even worse, instead of discussing her opposition with me, face to face, she fired off an email to me that attacked not only my character, but my christian faith as well. What makes people think they have the right to do that? How could anything positive possibly come out of that? She sent so many emails of that nature that I finally blocked them from being able to send us emails at all. Even if Stephen and I were to have had a meeting of the minds and move past our differences it would have been very difficult to move past the things his wife said.

Several months went by and Stephen and I never spoke at all. If we ran into each other at the Care Center while visiting mom, one of us would leave to avoid getting into further arguments. Then, I made arrangements with my brother, Danny, to look in on mom for four days because I had a trip planed to New York City to visit a dear friend. Danny is also listed on the power of attorney for mom so I knew if anything happened he could take care of things while I was gone. New York City was just what I needed to help me forget about all the turmoil going on back home. However, when I returned, I found out tragedy had struck but it had nothing to do with mom. Stephen’s nine-year old daughter, Justice, had died.

Now, what was already a very explosive and difficult situation between Stephen and I was about to get even worse. I loved Justice, and felt horrible about her passing. However, I’m not, and never will be, one to be hypocritical about my believes. Some find my believes offensive and unchristian like saying I’m not able to forgive. I disagree. No one knows my heart but me and God. The fact of the matter was that Stephen and I weren’t in each other’s lives because of our differences, and we hurt each other too much when we were together. I forgave Stephen in my heart, but I had to make a decision to love him from a distance. And, when that happens, life still goes on. Babies are born, people get married and people die. That’s the type of family events you miss when you can’t get along.

When Justice died, my mother insisted I go see Stephen saying in times like that you need to put your differences aside and be together as family. I disagree. I sent a card that was returned to sender unopened, but I wasn’t about to show up on my brother’s doorstep, or anyone for that matter, if we haven’t been in each other’s life. I don’t believe in calling a “cease-fire” when a tragedy happens then go right back to fighting as soon as things settle down again. I watched my father’s family do that all my life. Brother’s and sisters wouldn’t speak for years, then, when someone dies, they all gather around crying and hugging etc. and then immediately go back to not speaking again as soon as the funeral is over. I choose not to live my life like that. I take family, and all relationships very seriously. I want people in my life because they love me and want to be part of my life. But if the relationship I have with you isn’t based on mutual love and respect, I believe ether party has the right to choose to end the relationship regardless if it that relationship is with your mother, father, sister, brother, child or friend. If you are in my life you are and if you aren’t you aren’t. If that’s wrong I guess I will find out on my judgement day.

Next: Fleeting Forgiveness!

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. gotham girl
    Apr 15, 2012 @ 20:15:21

    This post really speaks to the core of a lot of family turmoils. People that can’t stay out of other people’s business. Great advice my dear! If your post helps one person that’s one more in this world that will “get it!” xoxo MORE! your frissy


  2. Megs
    Apr 20, 2012 @ 04:10:16

    This story hits home for me. You do give great advice and I am confident you will make a difference with all your posts. Love you!


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