I have this relative. When I was young he was in my life. When I was in kindergarten my family stopped seeing him. It was only when he was back in my life as a teenager that I was told why my family had stopped associating with him. I have a very poor memory and no memories from before I was in about first grade. I’ll leave it to your imagination what I was told. When I became an adult I stopped seeing him again because I couldn’t keep that out of my mind when I was around him.
Now I’m told he’s dying. Has only days to live in fact. Might even be gone by the time this posts. This information came to me via text, complete with a hospital name and room number. And now I’m torn. Should I go? Should I see this man again before he dies? What can I say to him? The death bed is not the place for confrontations or recriminations. It’s not a place to ask if what I was told was true. It’s not the place to even think about that. It’s a place for mourning and grief. And although it’s always sad when someone dies, I’m not sure I will properly mourn. Yet I know I’ll go to his funeral because he’s family and his wife and children are family. So, should I go? Should I implicitly give my forgiveness for this thing that haunts the back of my mind, although neither of us has ever acknowledged it? Would he even want me to go? Or would he prefer that I stay away?
I question not only because of the thing I was told, but because we haven’t had a relationship in a decade. I’m not sure the death bed is the place to renew old relationships. Growing older is complicated.