The Hamilton Spectator

Friend won’t forget perceived wrong


Q My friend’s daughter was born with a life-threatenin­g disease years ago. My friend, her husband and their entire extended family threw themselves into doing everything possible to save their child. That included fundraiser­s of varying forms to help pay for medical bills, but also research.

Our group of friends linked arms and did whatever we could, whenever we could. Through no one’s fault, the timing was difficult for many of us. We were all young mothers of young babies, trying to juggle that with returning to the workforce and still new marriages. Most of us did not live up to our friend’s standard, and she let us all know.

We gave her grace because we couldn’t imagine the position she was in. Thankfully, her daughter survived and thrived; more than our friendship­s. At no time did she recognize her over-the-top expectatio­ns, nor acknowledg­e her unfounded reproaches.

Now one of our other friends is going through something traumatic and, again, we are linking arms. Again, the timing isn’t great for some due to personal situations (one woman has a very sick parent; another is going through an ugly divorce; a third was recently laid off), but we are doing what we can.

We have all reached out to the woman with the now healthy daughter and she has refused to be part of anything, still standing on the fact we weren’t there for her (which we were).

Will this ever get put to bed?

Unhelpful grudge

A Unfortunat­ely, probably not. I’m not totally clear on your timeline, but it sounds as though several years have passed since her daughter’s illness was overcome. I’m not disregardi­ng her feelings because I’m only hearing your side of the story. Nonetheles­s, if she was a true friend, she would put aside her grievances, at least for the time being, and show everyone what she hoped to see from you all.

If her grudge is too deep to do that, then she’s never letting go. If you have it in you, you could privately message her and say something to the effect of, “I understand you are still hurt by our lack of action when you needed us. We can agree to disagree on that for now. Right now, our friend needs us, and I know she’d appreciate your support.”

If she still doesn’t come around, I believe you’re wasting your time.

Focus on the friend who needs you.

Q My family is in complete upheaval and we need help. My mother and her sister, aged 91 and 94, respective­ly, died within two days of each other. They were best friends and lived together for the last few years of their lives. Neither myself nor my first cousin are surprised, and we are leaning on each other as we have done for the past decade that we both had Power of Attorney for our own moms.

We’d like to do a joint funeral and burial service, but we are getting push back from our siblings. Her sister lives across the country and hasn’t had much to do with caring for her mom in years; and my brother just isn’t close at all with these cousins and wants it to be our private family’s service.

My cousin and I both know the final decision is ours, but we don’t want to alienate our siblings. How do we handle this?

Grieving Cousins

A As you already know, grief affects everyone differentl­y. It’s your call, and you’re fortunate to have your cousin by your side. And the same for her. Make your decisions together and lean on each other. Your siblings will come around.

Unless there is more to the family dynamics that you haven’t shared, and everyone else will be upset with your decision.

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