It is one of the tragedies of my life that my two daughters, aged fifty-one and fifty-five, are not on speaking terms. This has been going on for years, one jealous of the other, the other always weepy and hurt, constant coldness, badmouthing and venom, a refusal to sit down at the same table or be in the same room, the families of both women keeping totally separate, not one ounce of kindness or cordiality between them. It’s sickening and all caused by some stupid long-forgotten incident years ago concerning an antique piece of furniture in one of their houses — what an idiotic thing to fight over, though, of course, the furniture was symbolic of something else: money or love, I’m not sure which, probably both. Now I’m an old lady with a terminal illness, not more than a few months to live. The two girls visit me separately, but it is my dying wish to see them together, my family whole and the two girls seated on either side of my bed, behaving like mature adults, reconciled and peaceful. I want to leave this planet knowing they are friends. What can I do to make this happen?
A Mother’s Dying Wish
Dear Dying Wish,
I get many questions of this nature, regarding splits and disagreements in families, particularly around inheritances. Each case is different and individual, yet each is similar in terms of bitterness and pain. I feel for you. You cannot force your daughters to have a truce. All you can do is tell them from the heart how you feel — that your dying wish is to leave this planet knowing they are friends, and that you expect that wish to be fulfilled. I’m sure you’ve told the rest of your family to lean on them. Blackmail is always an option, though a tawdry one. I don’t think you’d leave the planet any happier if you threatened to cut them out of your will… but it’s a thought.
Good luck to you,
REACTIONS TO CONFUSED MOM
I agree with Knowles. The sooner you tell your daughter, the better. We had a similar situation with our own daughter. In fact, we weren’t planning to tell her at all and she learned the truth through Ancestry.com because her donor mom was mostly Irish and my wife and I are a mix of Czech, German and Dutch. So, the genetic picture she was presented with made no sense to her and she was furious with us for a long time. I hope you have better luck than we did.
Patrick N., Austin, TX
No choice but to tell your daughter ASAP. Anyway, how could you live with yourselves keeping her in the dark regarding her origins? She may be angry with you, but so what? She needs the truth!
Joyce H., Corpus Christi, TX
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Disclaimer: CD Knowles is not a doctor or psychotherapist. Any opinions expressed on Knowles Knows are just that — opinions.