Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sneaky siblings are really hurtful

My sister-in-law (SIL) lives in a distant city and when her mother was alive, she called regularly. With the same regularity, my Mom-in-Law (MIL) asked me to drop things at the Post office for her. Often, these packages were addressed to the distant sister-in-law. At the time I had been married into this family only a year so I didn't feel right asking questions. I thought it best to just do the favor for MIL since she couldn't get out herself.

Now I wish I'd said something - a question, a hint, a suggestion - something, to let my husband, other SIL and brother-in-law (BIL) know what I suspected - that distant SIL was asking for the few dear, dear things that belonged to their grandmother and MIL was sending them. Since the death of my MIL, the kids -without the distant sister - talk about things and ask "I wonder what happened to that?".... I see these things at SIL's home so I knew exactly where they are but I maintain my silence. Things with the distant SIL are strained enough speaking up might exasterbate things.

Maintaining my silence is tough, really tough. I hear the emotional connection that my other SIL and BILs have for these things. I know that they would enjoy having something to remind them of their grandmother. Who's at fault here? Distant SIL asked for the items and MIL complied; she could have said "no". I can't help but feel that distant SIL should have been content with an item or two and then left something for someone else. She had not visited for years; she never drove MIL or her husband to the doctor; she didn't cleaned MIL's house, mowed her yard or help financially. Did she "deserve" all of those dear items? If we keep score on "helpfulness", then no. If we rank it on emotional attachment, she'd rate high BUT..... I wish she'd put some value on the feelings of her siblings and her emotional attachment to THEM and share the mementos and thus memories. In the end, it's the people who are left with us who should mean the most.