by, 05-Nov-2014 at 05:50 (1125 Views)
I have two awesome parents. I've looked up to both of them my whole life.
So how do I tell my dad he's being a jerk about something that doesn't directly affect me?
Backstory: My dad is in his mid 70's. He has three brothers, one of whom is his twin. My dad and his twin brother could not be more different. This brother flunked out of school, went into the Army, and was sent to Vietnam. He saw a lot of horrible stuff there, and has major PTSD -- listens to CDs of artillery sounds to calm himself! He subsequently went through a terrible divorce that left him in financial ruin. As if that wasn't enough, when my grandpa was diagnosed with terminal cancer and took his own life, it was my dad's twin brother who found the body. He's had various ups and downs since, and recently suffered a stroke.
And I really like him. In fact, he's one of my favorite uncles -- a really raw guy with a crude sense of humor, but always kind to me and generous with what he has.
On the other hand: My dad was a consummate academic, held a well-paying research job with the government, and later became a university professor. He recently retired, and although not "rich" by any definition of the word, has no real financial worries. He's in good health, as is my mom.
Every year in November, I fly out to visit my dad's brothers and go deer hunting with them. Over the last few years, for reasons I'll admit to not fully understanding, the relationship between my dad and his twin has grown strained. My dad will say that he cares about his brother, but then he'll make remarks that just drive me nuts. For instance, the other day, a photo arrives by email showing his brother with a number of extended family members and a new granddaughter. My dad meets me for lunch today and says, "Wow, (brother's name) has really put on a lot of weight. I'll have to talk with him about that when we're out visiting."
I didn't say anything, but my first thought was: Why, oh why?! What could my dad possibly accomplish except to further alienate a brother who, let's be honest, is in generally bad shape and might not be around all that much longer? If there was a chance his intervention might actually help his brother, that would be one thing, but his brother lives with other family. He's around people. He's surely heard it, and he surely doesn't need to hear it again. Driving family away is bad enough when you're young and have time to patch things up. Doing it when you're older just seems so dumb.
Ugh! Dad, you're being a jerk! (That's what I want to say.)