“You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family, an’ they’re still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge ’em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don’t.” ― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
Even in the best times, relationships within families are not always smooth. There are bumps, curves and differences between siblings and parents and children. Most of the time we chalk it up to ‘that’s just the way it was’. As years pass most of us let these conflicts fade and happily move on. While others allow past ‘family issues’ to haunt their lives and cannot let them go! So be it.
Years pass, life goes on and all is great until, one day a phone rings and tells the family something ‘bad’ has happened – death, illness, etc. The time has come for family to reunite and make some dramatic and life changing decisions. Going back, being with siblings, parents and relatives can be troubling. Are you ready to pull up the past and deal with people who have hoard memories like they were precious possessions?
Prepare for the infamous family meetings. I call them PB&J sessions. That’s right Peanut Butter and Jelly. Why, because most of the time things get very sticky and stuff is hard to swallow! When peanut butter is spread thickly it sticks to the roof of our mouth and we may gag or choke while trying to swallow. Adding jelly makes it a little easier and tastier to swallow but makes a mess and it is sticky. No matter how you cut it, you still need to clean up the mess that is left behind.
A family in crisis should be able to pull together to make sound, reasoned, and life changing decisions. Whether it is making funeral arrangements, deciding on best possible medical treatments, or arranging for long term care these decisions need immediate and proper attention. They don’t go away while the family squabbles over past history and they should not turn into sticky PB&J sessions.
Who cares if Mom loved Suzie more than you? Get over it! Mom needs you to focus on her and if that cannot be done then find someone who can make the responsible decisions without becoming stuck in the PB&J. Make the tough decisions, let go of past hurts, grab a gallon of milk and wash down the PB&J.