Sib­lings es­tranged

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - An­nie Lane

My youngest sis­ter, “Rebecca,” and I have not spo­ken in over 25 years. She was the golden child — never get­ting into trou­ble, al­ways get­ting any­thing and ev­ery­thing she wanted. On the other hand, my el­der sis­ter and I were our par­ents’ worst night­mare. For­tu­nately, we were able to grow up be­fore it was too late to re­pair our re­la­tion­ships with our par­ents.

Our prob­lem with the younger sis­ter is that as she got older, she com­pletely aban­doned our par­ents. When my mother fi­nally had to be put in a nurs­ing home be­cause of ad­vanced Alzheimer’s dis­ease, Rebecca did noth­ing to help. I live 1,300 miles away, so it fell to my el­der sis­ter to deal with ev­ery­thing. My younger sis­ter went to see my mother once in 10 years, even though she only lived 4 miles away. She never asked Dad to come over for din­ner, Christ­mas or any hol­i­day.

I have reached out over the years, es­pe­cially be­cause we are all get­ting up in age. I have given up com­pletely, as has my el­der sis­ter. Some­times, sib­lings or not, it is just best to let go. Some peo­ple just do not want to be in­volved with their fam­ily. As much as we try, there are some things that can’t be for­given — and shouldn’t be. I have prayed over this for many years and have fi­nally found peace. When my dad died, again, noth­ing. Why should we even be con­cerned with her at all? — Over and Out

I’m so sorry for what you and your fam­ily went through with Alzheimer’s dis­ease, and my con­do­lences on the death of your fa­ther.

Ev­ery­one deals with grief and stress in dif­fer­ent ways, and it sounds as if Rebecca re­sorts to avoid­ance. It’s not the health­i­est cop­ing mech­a­nism by any means. But just be­cause she wasn’t there doesn’t mean she wasn’t hurt­ing.

Though you say you have found peace re­gard­ing your re­la­tion­ship — or lack thereof — with your sis­ter, your tone sug­gests other­wise. You’re right that “some­times, sib­lings or not, it is just best to let go.” But you can’t very well let go if you’re hold­ing on to all that anger. Find it in your heart to ac­cept your sis­ter for the flawed per­son that she is, whether or not she ever reaches out again (and if she does, don’t shut her down).

To “Tea Drinker,” who wanted to know why cof­fee re­fills are free but tea re­fills some­times aren’t: You’ve been led astray some­what. It’s in the bag. Cof­fee is rel­a­tively in­ex­pen­sive to brew pot af­ter pot. Tea you pur­chase by the box, and it’s filled with all these in­di­vid­ual bags.

When a cus­tomer or­ders tea, yes, the pre­sen­ta­tion is more de­tailed, but frankly, it doesn’t take that much more time. But you are serv­ing with a lemon, which has its cost, and honey, which also is an ad­di­tional cost, and the se­lec­tion of tea bags.

I have never worked any­where where we charged for a sec­ond cup, but I do work in nicer restau­rants, where the se­lec­tion of teas is al­ready on the ta­ble --and you can be cer­tain that bags of de­sir­able tea fla­vors are stuffed in some peo­ple’s purses when they leave. It’s a cost we’ve al­ways just ab­sorbed. But some places maybe can’t af­ford to ba­si­cally be giv­ing free tea bags away and serv­ing the honey and lemon free. For what it’s worth, that is my ex­pe­ri­ence over 40 years of restau­rant work.

Ev­ery­one deals with grief and stress in dif­fer­ent ways, and it sounds as if Rebecca re­sorts to avoid­ance.

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