I never had a close relationship with my brother. He is 4-5 years younger than me. We were somewhat close when he was very young but when he became sentient, we pretty much parted our ways. We were completely opposite and pretty much fought all the time. It was probably my fault. I was just trying to have fun. I had my friends and he had his. I was as I am and he was regular. We had many things in common but our differences made it difficult.
I’m writing this to help clear my mind on the subject. I woke up early this morning thinking about him and couldn’t get back to sleep. Thinking is bad.
In the early 90s, I had gone to work and he went into the Navy for four years. I attempted to write to him but didn’t get much back. I had planned that we might get together and do fun stuff when he got out but as soon as he was discharged, he got married and died.
We saw him occasionally over the next few decades but his wife has him whipped. She is especially difficult to get along with. She will get offended at the drop of a pin so we have to walk on eggshells when she’s around. There’s no joking or having fun around her. Say one thing wrong and she will freak out. “What do you mean by that?” she’ll say with a frown. Eventually, you learn to just smile and nod. Keeping your mouth shut at all times is the best course. Not a fun experience. Right? Easy to see why I didn’t seek out any time with him. He’s completely different when she’s not around but we don’t get to see that side of him very often.
I guess that’s always the point of view of the non-spouse. I have another friend who right after high school, got married and died. I see him on Facebook sometimes but he’s not approachable anymore. Good as dead.
My brother lives around 100 miles away which might as well be 1,000. He lives a frantic life and has no time for anything other than his own interests. As long as he is happy then I’m happy for him. I just don’t need to be around him.
So last year, they magnanimously allowed my mom to stay with them while she was ill and unable to take care of herself. That lasted a surprisingly long four weeks until he called me and said it wasn’t working out. My mom is the most wonderful person on the planet but even the Pope would have trouble living with my brother’s wife. I picked her up and brought her to my house where she stayed either with me or my sister for almost a year. She’s much better now and is back home.
I texted my brother that she was back home in case he wanted to stop by for a visit. He didn’t respond and didn’t even call her on her 91st birthday.
A few days ago, his wife texted me asking for my address. I hadn’t responded immediately so she called me 15 minutes later and said, “I texted you. Can you send me your address?” It was mysterious and I was curious. Attempting to make conversation, I very carefully asked why she wanted it. She was immediately offended and said, “I don’t want to put you out.” I did my best to smooth it over and said I would send it. The conversation was over. I texted her my address and apologized for offending her. What do you make of that?
I presume that they are angry at us for reasons other than I know. During the time my mom was with them he had spoken to her about our family being “broken”. I can see how he might see it that way. We ARE a broken family but he’s the one who broke it by not spending any time with us. For the last 40 years, I’ve been taking care of my mom and her house while he has barely even shown up on holidays. She wanted to thank me for being there for her by giving me half of the house instead of a third in her will. She made the mistake of telling him that so it wouldn’t be a surprise. I think that’s what he’s angry about. Surely he can see that I’ve done so much for her and he’s done nothing. Maybe not. I would have still split it evenly with him but the way he’s acting, I don’t think I care to.
I am thinking about reaching out to him to see what’s going on in his head but on the other hand, I don’t think I want to deal with it and even if it went well and we made up and saw him more often, I don’t think I could deal with his wife.
It may sound cold but I don’t have any room in my life for that. It may be for the best that we are estranged. I think I prefer to keep it that way. He adds no value to my life. Only complication.