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The Battle Lines Have Been Drawn

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I ahve been involved in this online community for four weeks. My father passed on 5/26/06. The advice and companionship is excellent and does help. I am now finding that I am part of an interesting yet difficult situation and was wondering if anyone can advise or point in the right direction.

I am the youngest of 5 children(36)in my family which has always been very very close, until my Dads passing. My two oldest sisters(54 and 52), are not speaking to each other. My second oldest sister is still at 5/26/06. She was the closest to dad. She wanted to hold onto his oxygen "Just incase you never know when someone would need it." She gave me an old razor of dads and when I was going to throw out the old blades she grabbed them and said those are Daddy's whiskers." I can understand that we all mourn and experience grief at different stages and times. Also there is no right or wrong way for one to grieve. My concern is that my two older sisters were always extremely close in a family sense. Now they are not speaking and there is so much tension between them. I received 2 calls from one sister today and was getting a really rude snotty attitude for something which I did not deserve it for. I did not argue with her as I thought that would be the worse thing to do and just let the calls fly by.

I am wondering if she is trying to pull me in to her fued or break apart the family all together.

I have starting attending a greif support group(Last night 6/22/06), and my other sisters are all in support of it. My one sister feels that "She does not have a problem we all have the problem." She also has stated "I dont need help from you or anyone else." Her words are coming across like dagegrs and knives instead of words and her actions are alarning us all that love and care about her.

What can I do to remain safe and sane in the situation and yet get her to see how her actions, if no help is needed, are conveying a totally different message?

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Wow. It never ceases to amaze me how unglued even tight families can become when there is a death. People react in ways that you would never imagine and say the most hurtful things. I wish I had some advice, but sadly I don't. I think it is such an extreme emotional time that you can't really "reach" anybody at this time. You just have to sort of let it play out and hope that as time goes by, they will realize what they are doing. I'm so sorry for this added stress. I have experienced something similar and know how horribly hurtful those attitudes and words can be. And it is certainly something you don't need! Hope your sisters have an awakening soon. I guess the only advice I would have is to try to stay neutral, if that's possible. Hope someone else has more helpful advice for you.

Hang in there,


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Hi Joe,

The short answer is that there's no easy answer to this complicated question. I've lost my Mom last November and my family has been torn apart by a rift as well, although as things are turning out I'm the one on the outs, (so there's not that much of a rift after all) despite have been the caregiver for Mom (and saving the eventual estate a bunch of money, plus enabling Mom to have lived for a few years longer than she otherwise would have. But is this recognized? Nooooo. Am I bitter? Not at all!!! No way!!!! Why should I be????? (Paul, it's not about you, it's about Joe. Uh, OK, sorry.)

One possible solution is that you are kind of doing what you're supposed to be doing. You do have to focus on yourself for the time being. Since your situation is somewhat different from mine, inasmuch you have actual family to talk to, keep on doing that. Maintain whatever links you can to prevent a further split. Your sister who was the closest to your Dad (she's the one with the attitude?) may see the closeness of you all, and desire a spot back in. In her own time.

Focus on dealing with your own grief.

Keep on posting here.

Start reading grief books if you haven't already. There'a nice long list on this site of highly recommended texts by the HOV staff and fellow board members.

Keep on with the support groups.

Find a face to face counselor. They're usually free, if offered by a hospice or some other bereavement center. Maybe a church in your area has something.

Give your sister some space that she needs and cut her some slack. If your family has been close, then maybe that'll reassert itself. Shell always gives great advice and hers about trying to stay neutral seems good, given what you've said about the situation.

One thing you said hit home with me: "She gave me an old razor of dads and when I was going to throw out the old blades she grabbed them and said those are Daddy's whiskers." I found an old hair curler of my Mom's, that somehow got overlooked in my sister's general wrath of destruction hours/days after Mom died. It still had some hair on it. I thought I had found a piece of the True Cross and The Holy Grail. I gingerly took it and placed it in a little ziplock baggie. It's a prize.

Anyway, I hope this helps, and its all based partly on what I've been through and what I'd wished I've been through. Take care and hope to hear from you again.


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