To speak, or to leave well alone?

A close relative is, I am told, beginning what has been called ‘the Long Goodbye’. He is exhibiting the first definite signs of ‘early onset Alzheimers, a condition for which there is no cure, ‘some’ palliative drugs and treatments; but the inevitable decline of the mind into a benign chaos is, unfortunately, his destiny.

As to his eventual decline, I have no answer; as does all reputable medical concerns; but I do have one very personal question which I must grasp, myself. He went through a very turbulent divorce many years ago, leaving a daughter who always has had, probably through her embittered and intransigent mother’s ideas and stories; a definite slanted ideal of her estranged father. That daughter has herself married with one daughter, and contact with my relative has been equivalent to the ratio of storms in Death Valley. But the question which I must ask, and indeed answer myself is this: ‘do I initiate contact with his estranged daughter, and then tell her that her father is in the first stages of a complete loss of all memory, of losing all knowledge of the true happiness of ‘family’, however long ago those memories existed: then ask her to make her own mind up as to whether to rekindle a relationship damaged by over thirty-odd years of poisonous propaganda courtesy of her own mother; so that she might say ‘farewell’ to one who might not even recognise her in a few short years?

In my own life, I have had that question. I argued with my eldest brother: it was an argument, as usual over politics, and our different ideals, and beliefs, and we just stopped speaking to each other. He died quickly, after a terrible illness struck him down, and we never spoke again, or became reconciled; and that lack of reconciliation will last, for me at least, as long as I shall live.

Solomon had it easy; but real life is truly difficult!

7 comments for “To speak, or to leave well alone?

  1. Ed P
    November 8, 2016 at 11:10 am

    I fell out with a good friend over 30 years ago and regretfully neither of us made enough effort to overcome the differences. Now it’s too late and I live on knowing I could have done more to resolve it.
    So regardless of the probable reaction, I suggest you should attempt to bring about a reconciliation – successful or not at least you will have tried.

  2. November 8, 2016 at 11:43 am

    Make contact. I’ve just tried to do so myself with family long gone and no response so far. But it was right to try.

  3. Andrew Duffin
    November 8, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Make contact.

    You may regret it, if things go pear-shaped, but not as much as you’ll regret it if your friend dies (in fact or in principle) without any possibility of a reconciliation.

  4. Mudplugger
    November 8, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    Make contact. It’s then the daughter’s decision how she responds, but at least you’ve created a framework on which her decision can be made. Not to make contact is to deny her that opportunity. There’s no downside in telling her, but you may have to live with a downside if you don’t.

    • Ted Treen
      November 8, 2016 at 3:55 pm

      Absolutely spot on. It would have been my advice, had you not beaten me to it.

  5. Scrobs...
    November 8, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    You need to settle ghosts here.

    Mrs Scroblene and I often re-visit discussions after many years, as to how we dealt with similar situations, and I think we probably did things with some disarray, but now, after all these years, I think I would tackle the people you need to talk to, now, rather than when it’s too late.

  6. November 9, 2016 at 2:05 am

    A ‘third-party’ is often an essential circuit-breaker. One side refuses to speak to the other regardless of that other’s attempts. A ‘middle-man- with no ax to gring and only the best interests of both parties, can sometimes make a bridge. Sometimes. Blessed are the peacemakers.

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