Do you have aging parents , aunts’ uncles who don’t speak each other? Are you forced to ignore one side of the family over age-old vendetta that you don’t really understand . There’s hope. Elderly siblings have a unique opportunity to reconcile in later life. What’s later life- post 85- the fastest growing demographic in the US. We can even add in 75 and above.
Reconciliation among old/ old siblings can lead to a more realistic view of the past . It can end cut off- not talking to a sibling- for up to years at a time. Resolution of old gouges can stop never ended cycling of sibling “ I hate you stories” that are passed on from one generation to another. A cessation of blood wars can allow younger family member to give a collective sigh of relief and attend family rituals together again.
Why reconcile in old age ? What do you get over? How do you do it?
Why- because sibling relationships are the ONLY relationships that last a whole lifetime from early childhood to old age. Reconciliation brings back who knows you longer than your kids your spouse or anyone on the planet
What do you get over? Reconnecting can bring back the sibling who shared the same nest . Siblings experience the same developmental stage childhood- at the same time with no choice. Old age is a time to address those wounds before the clock stakes midnight and then is passed onto the next generation.
Here is a list of some treacherous pattern of sibling difficulty that might be resolved in old age
- An traumatic external event like the death of parents that forces siblings apart
- Roles or playing favorites in families like the boy get the most or the oldest or the handicapped child or the perennial favorite the youngest
- Sibling Rivalry
- Rules in family that are silent that either enforce those roles or protect the parent, like the parent is a drug uses and none of us talk about that, or a child is mentally disturbed but protected and that is not openly discussed
- Circumstances- for example we are all very poor so hand me downs are all we have but the second and third children resent the oldest sibling for getting the only new clothes
- A traumatic internal event like sibling molestation.
How do you do this as an adult child .What are some answers to resolving ancient childhood wounds in the old/ old. One is reminiscence or life review when a family member helps an older person to tell their life story. This can heal old wounds of early childhood with the effects of helping to adjust to old age . During reminiscence older people analyze, evaluate and reinterpret their lives in relationship to preset events and vales . Siblings reminiscing in old age can look at early childhood wounds and see them in the context of he here and now .
As siblings face death it is sometimes easier to let go of old hurts ,resolve them and actually see that elderly sibling again be with a person who knows just about everything you know bookend to bookend of your life. .