Woman's Era - - Contents -

My sis­ter was re­cently wid­owed at the age of 40. Her hus­band died in a road accident and now the in­sur­ance com­pany is re­fus­ing to pay her the in­sur­ance money she is en­ti­tled to, on the grounds that the accident that killed my brother-in-law was caused by his own care­less­ness.

This re­fusal by the in­sur­ance com­pany has come as a shock to the whole fam­ily. My sis­ter will cer­tainly fight the in­sur­ance com­pany’s de­ci­sion in court, but the im­me­di­ate prob­lem is how she will support her­self till she wins the case and the court or­ders the com­pany to pay her.

It then oc­curred to my sis­ter that she could com­plete a course that she had given up half-way when her mar­riage had been set­tled by our par­ents. She had topped the first year ex­ams in the course. So now, she de­cided to go to the in­sti­tute where she had been do­ing the course and ask if she could com­plete it.

My whole fam­ily felt that this was a good idea and I went with her to the in­sti­tute. To our sur­prise, the peo­ple at the in­sti­tute re­mem­bered her as one of their top­per stu­dents and at once agreed to take her back to com­plete the sec­ond half of the course.

But my sis­ter told me that she did not feel con­fi­dent that she could com­plete the course in one year. After all, she said, she had been out of touch with stud­ies for more than 12 years and she also had two chil­dren to take care of. I im­me­di­ately told her that our whole fam­ily would help her and that I would look after her chil­dren for the year that she would be study­ing. They would stay with me and go only on Sun­days to see her.

My sis­ter was touched when I told her this and when we went home and dis­cussed the mat­ter with the rest of my fam­ily they all agreed that this was a good way of deal­ing with this sad sit­u­a­tion. My niece and nephew were also okay with stay­ing with me. Their school too was not too far from my home.

I went home feel­ing very happy that I would be able to help my sis­ter. My hus­band had come home from work and I told him what had been de­cided. But I got the shock of my life when he said that he would not agree to our look­ing after my niece and nephew for a year.

He re­minded me that we did not have any chil­dren and so would not know how to look after the two chil­dren. He added that our rou­tines would be up­set and that it would also cost us a lot. His last point was that as he did not have any sib­lings of his own, he was not com­fort­able in my sis­ter’s com­pany and if the chil­dren stayed with us, he would be forced to see a lot of her.

I was speech­less and stunned when I heard this and these feel­ings were fol­lowed by in­tense anger. I did not say any­thing and just walked away from there. A day has passed and my hus­band, be­liev­ing that he has won the bat­tle, is pre­tend­ing that all is nor­mal be­tween us.

But he hasn’t won and my si­lence is just be­cause I do not know what to say to him or how to con­vince him that he is so com­pletely wrong in his think­ing. There is also no way I’ll let my fam­ily feel that my hus­band is nar­row- minded and self­ish. What do you sug­gest? Your hus­band’s ob­nox­ious be­hav­iour is be­cause he has no sib­lings and so does not know what it feels like when a sib­ling is in pain and one is ready to do any­thing one can to help him or her. He doesn’t know what it feels like to share your child­hood and all you have with a sib­ling and to feel that there is some­one who will al­ways be there for you.

But you should not give in to his self­ish be­hav­iour. So, break your si­lence and talk to him. Ex­plain how you feel and how it is your duty to help your sis­ter. Tell him that you will al­ways feel a great sense of guilt if you do not help her in her hour of need.

My hus­band and I have two sons aged 35 and 38. We have al­ways been a very close fam­ily and from the time they were young, the two boys have never quar­relled, have shared things and have en­joyed each other’s com­pany. So, when they were in their late twen­ties and they de­cided to go into busi­ness to­gether, we were happy.

My sons de­cided on the busi­ness they would en­ter, drew up a plan on how they would di­vide re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, raised money and got to work. Things went well for the first eight years and all of us were happy. Dur­ing this time, they both de­cided to get mar­ried to won­der­ful women and we be­came even closer as a fam­ily. But after this, prob­lems arose in the busi­ness and the two broth­ers dif­fered on how to tackle these. These dif­fer­ences af­fected their re­la­tion­ship and as each wife sup­ported her hus­band, the sis­ters-in-law fell out.

Now both broth­ers are barely talk­ing to each other. They dif­fer on how to tackle the prob­lems they are fac­ing and both my hus­band and I are very un­happy. Each son ex­pects us to support him and so do our two daugh­ters-in-law.

My hus­band feels that we should support our elder son as the younger boy should re­spect and obey his elder brother, but I feel that we should support the younger one as he needs us more as he is younger. Whom should we support? Each of your daugh­ters- in- law will nat­u­rally choose to support her hus­band. But for both you, your sons are equally pre­cious and it is ab­surd of you to choose whom to support on the ba­sis of age. Ac­tu­ally you should de­cide on whom to support on the ba­sis of who you think is right. But that would be dif­fi­cult un­less you are knowl­edge­able about their busi­ness and are in busi­ness your­self.

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