06 August 2013


Oh boy, are they ever mixed up and muddled at the moment. I seem to have found myself on the emotions roller-coaster with no way to get off, even though the ride is making me quite queasy.

Warn you now - what follows is, in essence, the fat lass venting her spleen. It's nothing remotely to do with weight loss, or maintenance, or anything much at all like the things I'd usually write. However, I do need to get this stuff off my chest for my own comfort and sanity before I get a grip and take the advice in the graphic (if I can!).

Please do feel free to navigate away, move on to someone else's words and forget about the negativity that follows.

OK then, this roller-coaster... one minute I'm quietly smiling at a happy memory of better times (yep, you've got it pegged - these beautiful thoughts pretty much all involve my darling Mum), the next moment I'm desolate and the tears are springing to my eyes - even when there's been no apparent trigger. And then there's the almost overwhelming anger...

I've mentioned my sister a fair bit in the past. She is such a sweet, supportive, thoughtful lady and I'm proud to have a lovely sister like her. Even if we have our differences (which we do) we can talk about them nicely and respect each other's viewpoints, even if we don't agree. What (or rather who) I probably haven't mentioned very much is my other sibling.

You see, I also have a brother. An elder brother who is, of course, by dint of being both older than me and male, always 'right'. Yeah, you got it - he's absolutely correct, 100% of the time... in his own eyes, anyhow. We have had a 'challenging' relationship for a very loooong while but, for the sake of my darling Mum, I've kept my mouth firmly zipped and kept the peace by treading carefully, soothing bruised feelings, sympathising with his multitudinous woes and pandering to all the negative vibes... for years (actually it runs into decades now).

Maybe, in retrospect, that wasn't such a great plan but heck, that's what I did. This isn't just down to him and me though - he has an equally (if not more) difficult relationship with my sister, and various other members of the family have also had their fair share of problems interacting with him.

Let me get this up straight though - my brother isn't an intrinsically bad person. He's not evil, despite anything I go on to say. How could he be, eh? He's my mother's son after all. He's just not an easy man in any way, shape or form. I think he's actually quite a damaged individual. One who is highly-strung, and always has been looking back, and one who is readily (and constantly) stressed. One who, when he feels vulnerable in any way (he really can't cope with 'feelings') responds like a beaten dog might do - with seemingly unprovoked aggression.

Now I am fully aware that every person will need to manage their grief differently, and he is entitled to handle things in his own way. If his way happens to be quite unlike mine, then that is just fine.

But, and this is where my anger comes from, he seems utterly oblivious to the fact that what he's doing has a hurtful impact (and a significant one) on others. He is, both verbally and by his actions, making things a whole lot more difficult than they should be at what is already a very difficult time. Even when we've tried to explain the impact of his approach, words and actions, he dismisses us and discards what we say - it isn't relevant, he won't even listen to us and thinks we are 'faffing about'...

This isn't only affecting we three siblings any longer, nor does it just have a knock-on effect on our respective husbands and wives. Actually, his wife is a contributing factor too - but that's another tale. The problems are affecting Mum's beloved grand-daughters (one of whom is very pregnant and could well do without added strain), some of my cousins (especially those who were very close to Mum as she treated them like her own kids) and also her one surviving brother. Thank God Mum isn't here to see this - we can barely believe that this sort of thing would ever happen to our family... but it is happening.

There is a particular 'something' going on which is making my blood pressure rise and my mental 'temperature' approach full boil. Actually there are several 'somethings', but I digress. The M-A-J-O-R blot on my emotional landscape is the undue haste with which big brother is pushing to get Mum's house completely and utterly cleared (down to the last odd button - just don't mention 'house clearance' to me right now!), sold to the first bidder (in the twinkling of an eye, if you please) and gone forever.

Whilst the logical part of me can understand that there may be a desire on his part to 'move on' and get back to 'normal' life, Mum's funeral only took place a few short days ago.

Sorry bro, but you really need to back off a little here. It's way too soon to be acting like this and by forcing the issue you've initiated a sustained and heartfelt push-back on our part which you probably hadn't anticipated - we do after all need 'some' time to say our goodbyes and come to terms with the fact that we've lost our mother. We're all hurting.

Hell, my sister actually called him out about this over-eagerness at the weekend. She told him that she felt he was "trying to erase every last trace of Mum from existence", an accusation he vehemently denies but one which I reckon holds at least an element of truth. It wasn't a pleasant interchange at all - a master of understatement, this! Similarly reactionary and explosive conversations have occurred off and on for quite some time, covering various topics, both before we lost Mum and since. All of this is taking a toll... a serious one.

Add to this that my sister and I are still desperately trying to understand what's happening, and trying hard to keep some sort of compromise going so that the rift in the family doesn't open wider or deepen further. Just now I feel like Canute, and the incoming tide feels like an unyielding adversary! It seems that pretty much all of our mental resources are being devoted to this battleground, rather than to dealing with losing Mum. This cannot be right.

One other little problem to add to the mix is that every time we go back to Mum's, our family home, (which has been every weekend and various days in between up to now), this involves us both in around a 400 mile round trip. My sister lives about the same distance away as I do and both of us work. So, you can add growing weariness from the travelling to the emotional upheaval. Oh yeah, and a night's uninterrupted sleep is still a luxury. I guess that means you can see why I'm so dog-tired and why I need to vent.

The latest is that we 'may' have come to something approaching a compromise of sorts, thanks to my Uncle's calm and mature input, but I still can't see the way forward at the moment. I guess there's just too much raw emotion surrounding this whole business. Will he honour what's been tentatively agreed? I don't know (and can't know) how this will pan out in the end, but I do know that the situation is causing/has caused a divide that I'm not sure can ever heal. What's worse is that I'm not sure that's something I care too much about any more.

The way I'm feeling right now, once this period is over I don't really want to maintain contact with my brother and his wife. I've lost trust in him, I've lost any sympathy I had, I've lost that familial love for him, and it feels like I've lost my brother as well as my Mum.

OK, take a deep breath. It's time to try to set aside the emotional baggage, seek serenity, then grasp and hold tight to the faith that things will indeed turn out for the best. Onwards, ever...


Enz said...

A death of a parent either pulls siblings together or pulls the apart. As cliche as it is - take one day at a time. Unless he's the sole executor of her estate he can't do anything on his own - and like you say, this is his wY of dealing with it. Men want to DO something even if its the wrong something. My thoughts are with you.

Gwen said...

Hi...new follower (found you from Jeanete's.) I'm so sorry you are having to go through this. Family problems tear a deep hole in our hearts, don't they?

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