Sunday, 11 November 2007

Actually, I can't leave it like that. I need to write about the row with my Mother. My own judgment in these things is a little suspect at the moment, so I'd appreciate another view.

I have spoken to my Mother on the telephone perhaps twice since last I saw her (at Ann's funeral). She called about a month ago to say that she was organising a party; and she called again today to ask whether I would be there. I told her that I would not.

But I had better go back a little. There is some necessary ground to cover.

Although it wasn't always so; my family is a mess. For reasons I don't fully understand, like some shredded, civil war casualty, it now only hobbles painfully, supporting it's fractured limbs on crutches of superficiality.

There are a number of different rifts. The most relevant for my purposes today is that which exists between me and my thirty-year-old niece. We haven't spoken since we argued at Christmas four years ago. The cause of the particular argument is unimportant. There had been a little tension between us for some months (concerning her attempt to undervalue a house she was retaining following a failed relationship). In any event, I said something which upset her; and she threw a glass of wine over me. I apologised later that evening, but...

When Ann fell ill, my niece remained entirely aloof.

And when Ann died, she refused to send either flowers or a card.

My Mother has invited my niece to her party and seems surprised that I am therefore refusing to attend. I, in turn, expressed my surprise that my Mother would sanction my niece's behaviour by inviting her at all.

How silly this all seems, now that I have written it. How very trivial.

But it has upset me.

25 comments:

Hilda May said...

Yes...frustrating....I'ts all trivial Philip....you will know what to do. Dare I ask this....what would Ann say?
Big hug
Rachel x

Vee said...

My opinion would be quite useless to you, I'm sure. (I wouldn't want to go either. Whether I would actually go...not sure.) I like Hilda's question.

Hilda May said...

.....now lets think of positive things......Tony Blair is no longer prime minister.....I know I know.....Brown is....
I tried!
Rachel x

Philip Sinclair said...

Thanks guys.

Kat-in-a-flap. said...

Hello.....Aaaah Families....I could write a book !!!!!I loved my dear daddy to bits but sadly lost him......I pray on a regular basis that I am never trapped in a lift with my dear mama.....and my in-laws are more like out-laws !!!!!My mother in law is possibly the most two faced acid dripping bitch that ever drew breath and my father in law is a spinless muppet who closely resembles Josef Mengele at the height of his career.
Bugger the party....buy some Pimms and drink at home........
Kepp Buggerin' in mate...
Kat xx

Kat-in-a-flap. said...

Sorry......should have been Keep Buggerin in.....
I love your wedding story it sounded just perfect.
Kx

Patti said...

Families. Pah.

I would say, stuff the niece. Why should she keep you away from your mum and the rest of your family.

(But only if you would enjoy a party - if you wouldn't want to go any way then have your own individual party)

But definitely don't let the niece affect your relationship with your mum.

Tracy said...

my boy
i have emailed you
t x

trashalou said...

Aaaah Phillipe *sighs and gallically shrugs* le famille c'est impossible!

If you can't bear sharing air with the asinine niece and the enabling grandparent then have a meal with friends otherwise go and prove you are above their idiocy.

Rose Vintage said...

Sometimes I think a point needs to be made. Not that I think this unfeeling person would even see it that way but for you perhaps this is a way of expressing outwardly how you feel right now...

Bobbie said...

" To see what is in front of one's nose requires a constant struggle."
George Orwell

I see a touch of self-indulgency here that must be stemmed at once. To wallow in oneself and blinker one's view of life, to tailor an argument to keep yourself in the right and others in the wrong, is a dangerous path to tread.

I see in your posts a penchant for blaming others and a desire to stay brooding. Arguments take two, especially on the phone. Glasses of wine are not usually thrown without provocation.

Get out, work, play, live again.

Recover from this state. I hope to inspire something in you and bring you back to realisation with a jolt. Constructive comments are the ones to be thankful for.

"Success is dependent on effort"
Sophocles

Bobbie

Leanne said...

I think I would take the higher ground- go to the party, be charming, and make your neice feel the small minded petty person she seems in your post. You lost your lovely wife, and she was mean spirited.At 30 she is old enough to have known better. Dont let her be the reason you lose your Mum too

hugs, Leanne x

Vintage to Victorian said...

Possibly the question is what is the party in aid of? If it's a special anniversary or birthday for your mother/parents then perhaps it's something that, had it not been for the neice, you would have liked to attend despite your own personal sorrow at this time. If it's 'just a party' then maybe it's not the right time for you to attend as emotions will be running high and what was a bad run-in with your neice at the time could end up as a words-which-can-never-be-taken-back occasion. There's a time to rise above such things, but also a time to back off and stay away. I'm sure you'll end up doing what's right for your mum and you. Either way, you must come first.

Am keeping up with you day-to-day although I've only commented once.

Teresa said...

Make the decision with an open mind and the fewest regrets.

Veronica said...

It would be interesting to hear your neice's side of the story. Surely as her uncle you should be above all this, and what exactly did you do to upset her in the first place? You sound quite bitter. It seems to be a bit selfish to upset your mother over an argument with your neice and yourself. Perhaps she can't forgive you for whatever you said to her, but it must have been quite bad for her to throw wine at you. Was she drunk? Seems that you are dragging up things from the past because you subconsciously don't really want to go to your mum's christmas/birthday party. Think of your mum, forgive your neice, or perhaps you can't as you might be the one in the wrong? Just because your wife ahs died, don't blame the world for this. You sound angry, but don't take it out on your Mum or your neice. Grow up! Veronica

Kitty said...

Things which 'seem' trivial can still hurt. Hurt is hard to mend, especially when even more hurt has been placed on top. You are, it seems to me, in a place where living day to day is hard enough without thinking ahead to the political ramifications of a family party (which, let's face it, can be tricky at the best of times).

Does your mother really need to know now whether or not you'll be there? Would she accept a 'maybe I will, maybe I won't' RSVP? If so, my advice would be to play it by ear - see how you feel on the day.

For now you are in a very vulnerable place - be kind to yourself. x

Philip Sinclair said...

Hmmmm... I wonder who 'Bobbie' and 'Veronica' are?

Hello 'Veronica'. I guess you heard I had a Blog and did a Google search.

Or, if 'Bobbie' is who I think it is, I suppose he told you?

'Veronica' is my sister (the mother of the niece about whom I have spoken). I couldn't mistake the turn of phrase.

But really Juliet, I have never suggested that I was without fault. I, at least, apologised for what occurred that evening.

Janice said...

Hi Philip, I've been following your blog since I stumbled upon it via Tracy at 'Cupcakes at Home'. Having lost a daughter and a granddaughter I know something of the pain you are going through. My question, which no one else has asked, is why has your mother only spoken to you twice since your wife died? Doesn't sound like there are very many close relationships in your family. I'm just reading between the lines and I could be way off base. I can't imagine anything that you said to your neice would be so bad that she wouldn't make some kind of contact when Ann died. For what it's worth I don't think I would go to the party but only you can decide.

Anonymous said...

veronica
if you have nothing supportive or useful to say then please keep quiet.
why take the time to comment on a blog of a person who is grieving after losing his wife when you quite clearly have no compassion.
there are thousands of other blogs to visit
go and spread your misery there.

Anonymous said...

if that is your family commenting then they are quite clearly low life scum
ditch them

Veronica said...

I agree. Why have you spoken to your mother so little? Perhaps it's your mother who is stirring? You sound like you have an unusual family. Most families are closer especially in times of sadness. Have you always been so distant? If so, why should it change now? Why do you think I'm Juliet?

Rebecca said...

I have said this before but please remember this is YOUR story - tell it however YOU need to.

Please delete the nasty comments and keep blogging.

Anonymous said...

I have just read all the comments written by Bobbie and Veronica, along with everyone else's. I can barely type for the anger I feel right now. I woke this morning, thinking of Philip, thinking of Ann and thinking life is so so unfair at times. Today is so beautiful, a real 'doggie walking day', that Ann and Philip would have loved!..Yesterday my man and I drove down to Brighton, to shop, eat, drink and socialise. All the way I kept thinking of Philip,(and Ann), how selfish I felt for not ringing him and not asking him to join us. (Sorry Philip) What would we say, not having actually "seen Philip" since the day Ann decided she had had enough of fighting that terrible disease? We still feel so many things have been left unsaid between us etc...Has there not been enough fighting already? Philip has apologised, as the gent he is. He IS prepared to move on. But enough is enough surely! I AM on my soap box, (I am told I was too like Ann for us ever to have been close friends), but Philip needs support, love, UNDERSTANDING and a whole lot of care now. Not careless bitching about who was right and who is/was wrong. I love life, have the time,(I pray), to continue loving life; sometimes this includes my family and my friends,sometimes not. May I suggest,(I am assuming you too have the luxury of life),that you spend your time loving it, and caring about Philip rather than about making a point that is frankly showing you up as spineless.

acrossthepond said...

Oh my goodness. I am stunned by those nasty comments!

How insensitive?

acorn and will said...

Having jetlag and just wept my way though your blog, I find you writing about something familiar. In my experience grief and tragedy sort people for you very efficiently!

I can only suggest what I do, which is protect myself. I don't expose myself to things that I even suspect will upset me, as I have enough pain in my life, and I treasure and expand on those areas that make me feel safe, and these days, can even make me happy.

I guess I would just say, look after yourself, and let everyone else get on with it.

Thank you for writing such a touching blog.

Jennifer