Alma Gill
Alma Gill

By Alma Gill
NNPA Columnist

Not Speaking to My Brother

Dear Alma,

I cannot speak to my brother and I don’t know if I ever will again. The night our Dad died I called him to tell him and asked him to meet me at my Mom’s house. He said no, he couldn’t but he’d be there the next day. Which he did and he did take care of things for my Mom and me. But, you would not believe why he said no. It was because he and his wife along with two other couples had rented a limo to take them to the Jay Z & Beyoncé concert and he didn’t want to change his plans. Can you believe it?! My husband says I’m wrong and I should make up with him. I disagree. What do you think?

Name withheld

Dear Name Withheld,

First, my condolences to you and your family. Secondly, ok, I ain’t mad at him, and you shouldn’t be either. Thirdly, I know, I know this isn’t quite what you’re expecting to hear but everyone grieves differently.

There’s no right or wrong way to experience it. Would I go to a concert after hearing my father passed away? No. Would you go to a concert after hearing your father passed away? No. Your brother, on the other hand, did. Does that mean his decision was wrong? No.

With all due respect Sweetie, I know I’ve just pulled in your driveway in a hooptie, but hear me out. Your brother wasn’t trying to hurt your feelings or not be there for you. He had plans and he retained them. He also kept his word and showed up the next day ready to do what needed to be done. You should have received him at that time, respecting his decision and embracing him with love. On this occasion, your husband and I are asking you to turn the other cheek.

Everyone in your family is heartbroken right now, and the grief you’re carrying is unbearable, I’m sure. Don’t seek to blame or exchange a list of personal bereavement expectations. Make every effort to love and support one another, 110 percent. You are taking out some of your sorrow towards your brother and that’s gonna hurt the two of you in the long run.

Make amends with him. What’s done is done. Life is too short to hold a grudge over a disagreement. Sometimes you need to agree to disagree and let it be. I don’t even see a need for long drawn out apologies. Let go and let love reclaim its place in your heart for your brother. Just call him, I betchu he’ll answer on the first ring.


Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and Twitter @almaaskalma.


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