Distant Family

I got a message from my brother last night wanting my phone number; he called me later. Our father is in hospital. It’s been more than 2 years since I had any contact with him (or my brother for that matter). Seems that it’s never good news that brings the family together.

The lack of contact had nothing to do with my gender transition: it started well before I came out. Just… separate lives I guess.

I don’t know much about what’s going on at this point–although it’s more than I knew this time yesterday. I didn’t know he’d been undergoing chemotherapy for myeloma. I didn’t know he’d been having back trouble that led to a fall before his recent hospitalization. (Until my daughter told me last month, I hadn’t heard that he’d remarried.)

I’m informed that he’s to have an MRI scan Monday and we should know more following that. My brother’s going to phone me when there’s more news.

I’m not sure how I feel yet. I never had the same closeness to him that I did to my mother. I have very few memories of doing stuff with him; mostly going to rugby matches (usually with my brother). But he got me my first computers, provided that means for me to discover my passion for programming.

I’m thinking about whether I’ll make the journey to see him: my brother tells me he’s not very lucid much of the time, and I live about 250 miles away. More than that, I don’t know what I’d say: we don’t have a lot in common and to be honest, as I said earlier, we live separate lives. I suppose it might sound callous, but if he weren’t family there’d be no connection between us these days.

Still, there’s a lot of history there, living under the same roof for nearly half my life. I’m torn between the lack of a current relationship and a sense of filial duty.

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9 thoughts on “Distant Family

  1. My thoughts are with you Alex – really difficult decisions. My instinct for closure tells me it’s often important for us to see. Connection may be elusive but seeing can be helpful in processing. I hope things become clearer for you. Sending hugs xxx

    • Thank you. I’m hoping it looks clearer after I’ve spoken to my brother again in a couple of days’ time and know more about the situation. Right now I’m rather in the dark and it’s more speculation than facts, which isn’t helping. It’s too much to figure out based solely on a 10 minute phone call. xxx

  2. I’d encourage you to go see your father. Don’t over analyze it, just go. He may not recognize you and you may not recognize him. That’s okay. Just be there. Also, your brother may need your support in the coming days. Many times, just being there is enough. I wish you well.

  3. I totally understand that conflict. I barely have any contact with my parents, and the only time I’ve seen them at all for the past years was when my father was in the hospital 2 or 3 times because of heart attack and stroke.
    I go because you’re supposed to show up on these occasions, and also out of a sort of “maybe if I don’t go and he dies, I’ll regret it later”. But not because I actually want to see him or my mother.

    It’s difficult. I do think that the chance of you later regretting having gone is much lower than the chance of you regretting having not gone. So maybe just go. Whether or not he is aware of your presence, may not matter. Suppose he dies, if you go maybe you can get some kind of closure which you might not get if you don’t go.

  4. I have a saying I live by in difficult situations. It is ‘no regrets’. So if you do not go and know for sure you will never regret it, then you do not need to go. If there is any doubt then you should go if you wish to never regret it.
    It’s a difficult time for you. I hope regardless of your decision, that your father is comfortable.

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