Dear Annie: My brother, “William,” recently passed away in his sleep. His passing came as a shock to everyone. He wasn’t ill or showing any indication that something was wrong. We suspect it was a heart attack.
However, the real tragedy of his passing is that William and his two children had been estranged for more than 19 years. When I called his son and daughter to inform them of their father’s passing, I could tell that they certainly felt the loss, and they also understood that any opportunity for reconciliation was now lost forever. All the years of anger and resentment suddenly appeared senseless.
I do not know the reasons for the estrangement, but I can place blame on William, as well as his children, because all of them were adamant that they were “right” about the way they felt. I had discussions with my brother, but he was never ready to open up communication with his kids. I also met with my niece in the hope of persuading her to phone her father and try to talk things out. She didn’t. And her brother declined to talk to me about it.
Whatever wounds they had incurred had not healed, and there was no change of heart. With their father’s passing, they will now have to cope with their inaction for the rest of their lives.
Please pass my letter along to your readers. Life is too short to harbor ill feelings and resentment, especially with loved ones. – Mourning My Brother
Dear Mourning: Our sincere condolences for the loss of your brother. We hope your letter serves as a heartbreaking warning. People often think they have limitless time to fix relationships, but you never know what will happen. If someone is important to you, work it out. Talk it through. Get an unbiased third party to mediate if necessary, but don’t let it fester until it’s too late.