The Fracture Becomes the Routine


The Fracture Becomes the Routine

Time heals all wounds, they say.

It also can turn any grudges that fracture a family into a routine part of the family.

The family fracture began in August 2015 when Sibling (my oldest sibling) became angry when another sibling and I questioned a decision she made about transferring my mom from a community hospital to a university hospital. Honestly, we were right and she was wrong. We moved on, she never did.

Her anger led to her request that my siblings and I no longer update her about our parents. Initially, she continued to speak with my parents, although infrequently. But that has basically stopped. She last saw my parents a year ago, which was probably the last time she actually had a conversation with them. Text messages, and not many of them, are now the way she keeps in touch with my mom.

I should mention that Sibling lives five minutes from my parents.

We continue to invite her to family functions. In September, Sibling told my mom she would only attend family functions if she received an apology from me and my other sibling. I told my mom I would apologize to her if my mom thought that would help. My mom said she would talk it over with my dad and let me know. They never followed up with me so no apology has yet to happen.

Over the years, I've researched my sister's behavior to try to better understand her. My best guess is that she has Narcissistic personality disorder. She has seen a therapist for years but, obviously, it's not helping.

Last year at this time, my mom was understandably very upset about Sibling's refusal to join family celebrations. "She's mentally ill," I would say. "If she were healthy, she wouldn't make these choices."

This Christmas, we didn't talk about Sibling's absence. Honestly, I don't think any of us even noticed her absence. Sibling's three adult children celebrated Christmas with my parents on December 27; my parents had a wonderful time.

In late December, I realized I never texted a "Merry Christmas" to my three nieces. I simply forgot. Today, I realized these three nieces didn't text me a "Happy Birthday" as they have in the past.

Our family changed and we have adjusted to that change. Is that healing? I am both relieved (her drama drained us dry) and sad (the next generation pays the greater price).

I think one of my nieces will soon be engaged. She will invite my parents to her wedding celebrations of that I am sure. If I enjoy her lovely day simply through Facebook photos, I am okay with that. But that becomes the family legacy. Will my niece be okay receiving that legacy? Ultimately, that's the legacy Sibling will be known for leaving.