Family quarrels are more intense, last longer and everyone is less forgiving.
It seems my Dad and his brother quarrelled often and as a child I witnessed some of these. I was blissfully unaware of the whys and wherefores and Mum was careful to not colour our feelings. In my child’s mind they were both silly and I never thought bad of either. I understood more in later life when I questioned Mum, and I really admired her putting events behind her for the sake of family, but when I had a run in with him myself, I was furious. We agreed to disagree. Well that was my words, not his.
I never spoke to him again and in a childish rant said I wouldn’t go to his funeral, but then I realised he wouldn’t actually be there! I had no quarrel with his family and all my cousins would be there. A case of cutting my nose off to spite my face.
As I sit and listen to the eulogy I’m reminded that a persons time is many layers of interwoven threads. I remember his beautiful gardens and it’s nice to hear how special he was as a Father and a GrandFather. My memories are just a tiny slice of his life. So much more makes up a person than my brief encounter for sure. Nor do we always know what makes that persons view. Thinking this through makes me see my own short comings.
Lindy tells me about two old brothers she knows who never spoke for forty odd years. But shared a close and lovely bond for their last ten years before they both passed away and I wonder aloud if people mellow as they age. The intensity of old disagreements fade over time. Perspective changes. The importance of the ‘thing’ diminishes. Blame reapportioned or simply the family bond is so strong it rises above the hurt of past times. Life is so short and we can waste too much on things that in the end are not important.
In many families adult siblings have friction and as a Mother it would be pretty hard to see that animosity, especially if it runs deep and spills into the next generation, as it often does.
If our kids fought for any length of time or had hard feelings I would pull them up together and tell them that their brothers and sisters were their best friends. That they need to really treasure that relationship because when times were tough and when others fall away it will be their brothers and sisters who will be the ones who will still be standing. Come hell or high water. These were the people you could depend on. Their angry little faces would be tipped up to me as I dispensed this wisdom they might not have been quite ready to take in.
Was it these head bangings that made our children close or was it three months in a Chinese village when they depended on each other? There was virtually no English and water had to be bought up from the well and they travelled in pairs to the village market to shop. Was it times spent camping at doc sites where they slept together and shared jobs, or simply that we were out in the country and they didn’t have kids down the road to play with so made games up together? Or was it because Gilbert worked long hours and I depended on the kids to work together and help me? I don’t know, but I’m happy to report that they can laugh at each other’s mischief, forgive short comings and be there when needed. I don’t expect that to change, but will happily bang their heads together if it does! Hahaha!
You would have loved seeing these gardens Uncle Des as I know you loved your roses!
Taken in Butchart gardens. Victoria Island. Canada.