Follow
Share

My husband died after a 7 month illness and my dad died two weeks to the day after that. My husband and I had been caring for my mom and dad for several years. I still care for my mom. My brother reluctantly came down to FL from NY for my husband's service; his wife did not. Neither one of them came back for my dad. I was left alone (Mom has dementia) to make all arrangements for my dad while going through (and still going through) the most heartbreaking time of my life. I expressed this to my brother just recently (about 6 weeks later), calmly and in the form of an email - his preferred method of communication. His response "Sorry that you feel that way." Should I even bother to mend this fence?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
I would just let time pass and see how you feel about him in a few months or so. I used to think when I was younger that siblings should have a lifelong relationship, but I have changed my mind over the last several years, and now I feel it is alright to not be in touch with a sibling. Hope all goes well for you.
Helpful Answer (10)
Report

No. F*ck him. Sorry, but I've had enough of brothers to last me - don't take me too much to heart.
Helpful Answer (8)
Report

Mending fences has to be a two way process. You put your feelings out there and got a reply that indicates brother is not ready or willing to meet you half way. I tried so many times to repair things with my sibling and eventually realized that he was a total narcissist, not capable of caring about other's feelings. I had to let go of the idea of the Hollywood ending, the redemption, reconciliation, etc. and put my energy elsewhere.
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

The problem with email/text is that the tone is in the mind of the reader. What you write as humor can be interpreted as sarcasm, and explanation is read as an accusation. Just send him a card for his birthday, leave it at that.
Obviously he was fond of your husband. I'm going to guess that when dad died, brother just could not face more grief and shut down. I'm not making excuses for him. I have seen the same shut down in my SIL, who is very upset by her mother's continued decline. While you or I would jump up and do MORE for mom, she does less. She visits less. I asked her to give mom a shower and she doesn't do it. Check the laundry? doesn't do it. How about checking mom's BP/temp/O2. Doesn't do it. Absolute shutdown.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

I have calmed down a little now. I apologise for being immoderate earlier.

However. I have not changed my view, for this reason. Let us be charitable and assume that the OP's brother has sound reasons for his behaviour - we none of us have any idea of what they might be, but let's assume there are reasons. His failure to attend his own father's funeral - and let's face it, that is by any social norm a biggie, which is why even the meanest employer would allow compassionate leave for it - could therefore be the result of history, issues or even totally unrelated problems of which we are entirely ignorant. We wouldn't blame him, perhaps, if only we knew what they were.

However. He not only chooses not to disclose those reasons to his sister. He chooses not even to state that there are any. Instead, he verges on blaming the victim, by saying that he is sorry that his sister feels hurt, or disappointed, or let down, or whatever she explained to him that she did feel. Sorry she feels that way. Not even: I'm sorry to have disappointed you. He accepts no responsibility whatsoever for his behaviour, and does not even acknowledge that it has been in any way different from the social norm. No. He's just sorry that his sister's "reaction" is what it has been. He sees her feelings as the problem, not his behaviour as the cause of them.

I'm about to get immoderate again so I am going to leave it there. Wjjlyj, you are owed at least an explanation, if not an apology. The ball is in your brother's court.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

I expect a good Cognitive Behavioral Therapist would be a great help to you right now. They are the ones who help you work out strategies to deal with difficult people (no meds, the're not doctors). It helped me so very much - I found a good Christian lady who was a therapist through a large church and I never learned so much about people before! The book Boundaries by Townsend and Cloud is a good start and written from a Christian perspective.

I think brother has shown you his boundary - he was attached to mom but not to dad. He's given you a very healthy response to your email, that he is sorry you feel that way. He may have been in therapy to get to that place. There may be issues with dad and or your husband that you don't know about. If brother wants to get in touch with you, he knows your email address. In the mean time, I would talk to a therapist about what went on and what to do now.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Why does it have to be you to mend the fence? They made it very clear where they stand when it comes to His side of the family. They both didn't come to your father's funeral. Like in therapy, you wrote to your brother about what you're feelings. His response to you was very very detached. He has absolutely no feelings or emotional attachment to your father. He has some feelings for you because he did respond to your emotional statement. He has detached emotionally, mentally and physically from his family.

You have the option ( for Your peace of mind) to continue to send him updates on the home front knowing that he will not step in to help ease your stress. Or take it as a sign from his no-show at the funeral, that he doesn't want to deal with you at all - even when one of you dies. Therefore, it's time for you to cut the family cord on your side (since he already did on his side).

No need to mend fences ... unless something major in the past blew up and he walked away?
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

I would also wait a while to see how you feel in a few months. I don't know that you have a fence to mend, you expressed your feelings and he expressed his. It doesn't sound like you were rude or angry with him.

It would also depend (for me) on the overall relationship you've had with your brother through the years. Is this par for the course for him when it comes to you, or has he generally been a good guy and he just wasn't interested in helping with your folks? What was his relationship like with your parents? I'd need more info before I decide what I'd suggest, other than waiting to see how you feel when you get a little more time under your belt.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

I strongly disagree with the poster who said "I'm sorry you feel that way" is a healthy response. I think it's a total copout. Regardless of the brother's relationship with the father, he should not have left all the funeral arrangements on the shoulders of a sibling who had just lost her spouse. He should have stepped up out of common decency. He should have been there for his mother and his sister. To say "I'm sorry you feel that way" indicates that there was nothing wrong with his behavior, that he has nothing to explain or apologize for. "I'm sorry I couldn't be there for you and Mom" would at least validate his sister's feelings, even though it provides nothing in the way of explanation. This guy's a shmuck. As his sister, I'd reach out to him not to have or expect a relationship with him but to get as much support and involvement from him as possible with the needs of the remaining parent. Unless he does a whole lot better for the second parent' than the first, I'd write him off after both are gone.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Hang on.

SORRY YOU FEEL THAT WAY????

Don't email him again. Send him an imitation dog poo and a card saying "sweets to the sweet." I stress the imitation part - it is an offence to send foul material through the mail.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.