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Reaching Out to a Sister Becoming Estranged?


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My mother died at the end of last year. She had been in declining health over the past two years, yet her death was fast and unexpected.

Mom lived down south in her golden years and left behind four daughters. One lives out west and rest of us live in the same New England state. Due to a combination of unusual circumstances and our understanding of my mother's final wishes, we have not yet been able to get together as a family to mourn or celebrate my mother's life and death. We have all been affected by this and have struggled with trying to find something tangible that makes Mom's death more real. Her home has finally been remediated and we three eldest daughters will be traveling south next week.

Our family usually comes together during times of need, as when my brother died in an accident years ago. With Mom's death, there has been a splintering of the family with the youngest sister becoming more and more estranged.

I sent two of my sisters cards yesterday remembering our mother and thanking them for their patience, understanding and support during this time. I now want to send my youngest sister a card as well, but I am at a loss for words. What little communication has come from her has been strained, angry and hysterical at times, launching into a personal attack on other sisters. She will not be going south with us, as that is "not where she knew Mom." She wanted the sister who lives out west to come to New England first so that we could all gather together here, but plans were made otherwise. Now she will not be joining us for Easter.

Money is not a factor in her decision not to go south as Mom has left a sizable estate, with us receiving a first check that would more than cover any travel expenses.

Because this sister has not expressed her thoughts or feelings about Mom's death, I do not know what is going through her mind. I understand that anger is often a part of the grieving process, yet her anger has been personally directed towards her sisters and we are very tentative in our communication with her.

I was closest to her before Mom died. She was probably in the least contact with Mom during the last ten years.

I would like to send a card to her, but I do not know what to write. I am concerned that the more time that passes, the greater the divide will become, possibly even irreparable.

Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

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I am sorry you are going through such a hard time. It sounds to me like your sister is grieving in her own way. She is hurting and does not know what to do with the hurt. It may be that she if feeling guilty and very angry about her mom dying. These are all very appropriate emotions but she doesn't know how to show her emotions so she lashes out to all of you. She may even think it is you and your sisters fault that your mom died.

Sending a card to her with saying how much you love her and thanking her for being your sister maybe a good way to open up the lines of communication. Writing about your mom may not be the best thing. Telling her that she is important to you and you want to be part of her life could be something that may help her see, that even though her mom is gone, she still has family that love her.

I feel like I am rambling so I hope you get what I am trying to say. I will be thinking of you and you are in my prayers.

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Slim i lost my mother 4.5 months ago and i was the only child. My mom and i were best friends. I also lived down south and out west for years.

Anyway my mom was one of 5 and i can tell you some sisters can be stubborn, but i can bet that this sister that is having trouble communicating with you would still like a card, just tell her that she is part of the family and that you are sorry she feels like she does. Im not sure if you don't want her to go south or she doesn't want to go.

Anyway, i think its a blessing having sisters people don't realize it till its too late, welll thank goodness you have several sisters you are lucky. I am sorry for your loss and hope you get on your way to healing. Im not too far from you if your in New england im in NJ at present where my mom is buried but my mom was from scotland. She was the best. We had relatives up in Conn.

Prayers for you during this difficult time and enjoy your trip down south. It should be nice and warm down there.

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