Families Fall Apart After Matriarch Or Patriarch Dies

Italian familyIt’s a common phenomena.  The matriarch or the patriarch of a family passes and the family unravels.  I knew a mother who died, leaving her husband and four sons behind.  The men never realized she was what held them together and helped them relate to each other.   When she left the picture each man became an island.

I’ve seen families collapse when the patriarch dies as well.  Whatever the qualities the individual had, there is no one willing or able to step in and replace them or reconfigure the family so it can be sustained and recover from the loss.I don’t think families have to accept this fate as a foregone conclusion.  The falling out can be avoided.

The families who manage this tend to live in reality, meaning they realize their parent(s) are not going to be around forever.  Based on this, they take on increased responsibility as time passes and their parents age.  A younger family member takes over the cooking of the holiday meal, for example.  Another may start making the calls that keep the family in touch and organized.  Basically, they follow the example set by the matriarch or patriarch so the family can endure into the next generation.

We each have a Sun (male) and a Moon (female) in out chart, these are referred to as the “lights”.  You’ll have a very hard time in life if your lights are dim.

Who are the “lights” in your family?  If they pass, is their someone waiting to step up?  Why or why not?

145 thoughts on “Families Fall Apart After Matriarch Or Patriarch Dies”

  1. My Gemini grandmother held the family together for her four children and their families; after her husband died, she came to live with us (my mother was her youngest daughter). Thinks then revolved around our home, then my mother, but mostly my mother’s sister and my aunt, their sister-in-law, kept it glued and rolling. Due to ridiculous petty estrangements between extended married families and in-laws, and then the deaths of the aunts (both Aries) and my father (another Aries) the family sort of fractured; career moves for work took people hundreds and thousands of away.

    We cousins try to stay in touch, maybe see each other every other Christmas, and take turns hosting. My sister-in-law is great at this and the one located in the center of far flung people. But few are like my mother…sort of entrenched and won’t budge, everyone has to go to them. Outlying kingdoms. We all live 50 to 300 to 1000 miles from each other, so it’s a virtual kingdom. But nothing like it used to be; my husband’s family is still very intact with family event around the patriarch, but as he ages, it’s uncertain who will step up, it’s again sort of all of us taking turns — we all live relatively close to each other so it’s not as hard.

  2. For those stuck with only females to carry on a family name, definitely use your surname as a first or middle name for your children!! Those are often cooler than most given names…Jones OMalley, OMalley Jones etc…

  3. Growing up, I tried to keep the family together since my sister and my parents were in a constant fight. Some years were better than others. Dad was an alcoholic for the first 18 years of my life and then a recovered alcoholic. Amazingly enough, the final split with my sister happened after he died. He wasn’t much of a patriarch but he always took the blame for everything, so whenn he died there was no one else to take the blame.
    I don’t care about family anymore, my sister stepped on her mom and dad and me and now claims to have her own family. She refused any responsabilty for her role in this family, but she claims she is responsible. People do shitty things under the concept of ‘family’.

  4. My grandmother and her middle sister died within days of each other and were the last remaining siblings of 6. After my grandmother’s funeral, my mom and I went to see my great aunt in the hospital and as we said good bye to her daughters in the lobby their comment was “well, have a nice life, it is doubtful we will ever see you again with the “sisters” to keep us coming home.” They were right of course, in the 20 years since, we have neither seen or spoken to anyone from my grandmother’s family. I have reached out a couple of times, but it was clear there was no interest. Now my mother and I barely speak as she wants to only spend time with her husband and he has decided he does not want my kids in his house. Oh well…off to start new traditions and regrow our family tree off of a new branch.

  5. My father was a patriarch who connected the family (pisces sun, moon in libra). He died 20 ys ago and for some years my mother took over. Over the last ten years the responsibility has been passed on to me and one of my brothers. We have different areas. As I am the only one with kids I have become responsible when uniting family at birthdays and holidays. I am proud of this, but sometimes it is a heavy task. But I Will gladly do it to keep a foundation for my kids. Cancer rising conjunct saturn trine jupiter in Pisces. Sag sun in the 5th.

  6. I have thought about this. The part about the lights is interesting. My parents are in their late 80’s and lights will go out, unfortunately. They are dim in my case: Libra Sun and Scorpio Moon. I don’t have the energy or enthusiasm – the reasons are too difficult to explain. My two brothers are even worse – divorced, unmarried …

    I don’t think the family name is so important in these matters, but to people to whom it is, the law is flexible in my country.

  7. Funny to think back on it. We really needed to fall apart. My brother’s wives were all too ready to take over. My parents carried a certain power. It’s not that they were rich or powerful or anything, very salt of the earth with a touch of that married-in-the-40s romanticism (Hollywood in the 40s, they resembled those movies), maybe just cancer sun parents. By the time my mom passed I was very ready to move on. My sisters and I are still fairly close, up and down, in and out. I like organic process. I don’t like the commanders telling me what to do all the time. Hell, I’m almost 60. Who needs it?

  8. SparklySkyLamps father died 3 days after that post. R.i.p. Duke. Our grandma died 5 years ago and things have drifted since.

  9. I told my real father when his mother (my grandmother) passed I would be parted from that side of the family and begged him to remember that at her funeral. He went on and of course that was lost to me. I knew it would be. She was a fun Gemini and made sure I came to stay with her in the summer and that I got to know all my aunts, uncles and cousins.

    The grandmother that raised me had 11 brothers and sisters and was the glue and she made sure they all stayed together and that their kids and kids kids all knew each other. My mother took over and continued this and I tried to do the same for years. As the years went by my sisters began to fight so much that is was impossible to have them all in the same room without some sort of nastiness so I stopped doing it. I do however try to do it for my children and theirs.

    Its a lot of work trying to keep all the various personalities together. I frankly got sick of doing it. I will, with my own children be very clear with them. I tell them when I am gone they will only have each other and they need to remember to take care of each other. When one gets angry with the other I refuse to take sides only saying…. forgive each other…you are brothers. You’ll know how important your relationship is someday.

    There are so many fractured families today. Scattered all around. Barely contacting each other. I have an Aries cousin that flat refuses to let it happen. She will RAM the shit out of me lolololol she is not going to let it go. While she drives me crazy I do love her for it. She is going to make sure everyone visits and keeps in touch. I really like that about her.

  10. I don’t agree that it can be avoided, at least in all cases. I have seen three families been blown apart after the death of someone, and in each case, there was no good reason for it. It just was.

    In my own case, I was married to my best friend for 25 years, and knew her since childhood before that. She contracted cancer and fought it for over 3 years. We had a blended family with all adult children, the youngest being in mid 20’s.

    Kathie encouraged me to go to counseling while she was sick and one of the things the counselor and I talked a lot about was trying to keep the family together after Kathie passed. She was a former hospice nurse and told me, as your article did, that it’s not unusual for families to fly apart.

    My take away from all of this, is that for some reason, small previously ignored issues in a family can take on nuclear proportions after a parent dies. And it’s just not with me – it’s sibling to sibling issues that also destroy families after as well. The whole thing is a friggen mess. When I lost Kathie the death ripped through the very heart of my family and I lost my last connections to her through the children.

    I don’t know what the answer is. I’ve basically come to the conclusion that during the “living years”, both parents need to be the glue, and not just one. But if the dying spouse was the glue and the surviving wasn’t, watch out. You may be lucky enough to have kids that adapt and bring you closer – thank goodness one out of five kids did that for me – but basically I feel if you haven’t been the glue before death of a family member you will be adrift at sea instead of continuing your role as family leader and magnet.

    I have moved on with my life, but I truly lost more than a soul mate when Kathie died. I lost a substantial part of my life though family

  11. My dad and I were always the more rational ones in the family, while my mom and sister have been estranged on and off for years and years, and fight viciously when they do reunite. After my dad died in January of 2014, they started using me as a go-between and personal on-call therapist. My sister literally never contacts me unless it’s to complain about my mom, and when I contact her she shows a bored sort of sceptical interest for a few minutes before starting in on my mom again. My mom, looneytunes though she can be sometimes, does contact me regularly with genuine interest in how I am. But she generally vents to me about my sister as well. My mom’s in Alberta Canada, I’m in Glasgow Scotland, and my sister is in Abu Dhabi U.A.E.

    My sister is vindictive, and has in the past told my niece that I am a pathological liar and degenerate, and now apparently my niece is under the impression that I am a racist and sexist (she has barely spoken to me in years and avoids it if she can, so there’s only one way she could have come to this conclusion as far as I can tell) and has cut me out of her life. I’m 28 and the past 15 years of my life have been consumed by my dad’s cancer, my mom’s encephalitis, her recovery and depression, constant familial backstabbing, and my dad’s death. He was the only one in the family who really supported me in the end in keeping this family together, and I have finally given up trying to keep it together alone. My family has completely fallen apart, with only my mom and I holding on. I have become a very solitary island.

    Ain’t life grand? Oy! I need a drink.

  12. My father was the heart of our family. He took charge when necessary and loved to have fun with the three of us (mother, sister and myself). In my memories, he is almost always smiling. But he passed away a few months ago from Parkinson’s dementia. He broke his hip after a fall, and never regained consciousness after surgery. This is the point where I lost my family. He had only a slim chance of surviving the surgery and it was grim. My mother and I never had a doubt about whether my sister would come. She lived only two hours away and had several in-laws and family to help with the kids. But she called about 10:00 PM to say she couldn’t come. I was shocked and angry. I had always thought that we were a loving family and would always support each other. I started to complain to my mother and as soon as I began to speak she launched into a furious defense of my sister that turned into a nasty personal attack against me. I have no doubt my mother was taking out her frustration with my sister’s absence against me. My sister had been distancing herself from me for a while, and had made several snarky comments that we both untrue and unlike her. So something about my father’s death must have finally brought out her ire.

    But the saddest part is that the rift with my sister lead to estrangement from my mother. I loved my mom, and knew that she could use lots of help. Not only in the aftermath of dad’s death, but in the future as she aged as well. My sister is moving thousands of miles away while I live five miles from my mother. We no longer speak to each other or see each other. Mom seemed to think that having ‘separate’ families would be fine, and continued to defend my sister. It was heartbreaking but I eventually decided to cut ties with my mother. My sister’s behavior had been so destructive and obvious to everyone but my mother. So now we never talk or see each other. I know she does not have much money and will require knee surgery soon. But too many bridges were burned, I’ll never see her again. Or my sister.

    Looking back, my sister spent lots of time with her in-laws and was gradually disengaging from the family. But the abruptness and hostility were shocking, especially under the circumstances. It seemed like she had been waiting a lifetime to lash out at me with contempt and cruelty. I only wish I knew why. I don’t have any memories of any animosities, and we were great friends in our teens. So I lost my entire family in a week. And I know with 99% certainty we’ll never see each other again.

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    Debbie Rogers

    My only sister, who is about a year & half younger than I are not talking since the death of my mom a little over a year ago. I was 41 at the time, and my mom was 67. She died of a brain tumor. My aunt, my sis & I would take turns sitting by her bedside during the 7 months leading to her death. I did not see the break in my sister’s relationship coming. She & I had a close relationship, so I thought. We would openly show affection. We met regularly for lunch & would share each other’s lives freely. A couple weeks after my mom died, she messaged me a 6-page letter full of accusations of things I had done. Some of them I saw were a clear misunderstanding. Others I don’t even remember doing. I went to counseling, thinking I was going mad. I thought I had this evil self that had done these things unawares. Crazy, huh. I have some possible explanations to the “WHY” question. I just have to stop going down that road & move on.

    1. I’m so sorry for your losses. Discovering the “why” has also lead me to counseling, and I’ve gained some insight. I realized that my mother was extremely resentful towards me, and had been expressing her anger to my sister. I don’t know why my mother was resentful, but I believe she expected me to step into my father’s role of caring for her. Perhaps my sister expected the same, I’m not sure. But somehow over the course of my father’s illness I became the odd man out and safest target for their anger. I’ve had to really put some emotional distance between myself and both of them. It’s been no problem with my sister, she’s been sniping at me for years and I’ve heard nothing from her since my father’s death. But my mother and I live in the same town and she seems to want to have the relationship we had before. I saw her at my aunt’s funeral just yesterday (I had only seen her a couple times since my dad’s death). I didn’t feel anything, just indifference. No sorrow, pity, anger, love, affection or anything I had felt before.

      But on a positive note, I’ve reached some acceptance with my father’s death. I can look at his photo and smile, now. For months I couldn’t bear to see his image or think of him, it just hurt too much.

      1. Thank you for sharing that. I believe my mom was the glue that held my sister & I together. I think she may have been encouraging my sister to continue trying in her relationship with me. We are so very different in our personalities. Maybe she wasn’t able to understand me & instead of trying, she put walls up. After mom died, she had no one encouraging her to try. Some of her friends didn’t like me either so they were probably not helping. I guess you have to just be grateful for the relationship you did have & the gift that it was and be able to say goodbye.

  14. I am reeling with emotion after losing my mother 2 weeks ago, but after her passing,some of my other family members had a problem with the funeral arrangements that me and my siblings agreed to. I received hostile phone calls from 2 of my nieces and one of them put up a Facebook post asking some of the grandchildren if they were ok with the funeral arrangements. All of this turmoil went on before the funeral,and has continued forward, and I was devastated by it. The worst part of it is that the instigator of all of it is my youngest sister. Right now, I don’t want to lay eyes on her or her daughters again. I just pray and try to heal from the loss of my mom and the loss of a big part of my family.

  15. My mom was sick for 2 1/2 years, and one of my trouble some nieces never came to see her once, even though she came to NJ several times. My sister was up here for over 3 weeks in February and came to see her once. They were the worst. I will forgive all this for my sake, but I won’t forget their behavior.

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    The relatives in my family who APPEARED to be the lights keeping everyone together by arranging get-togethers were/are all bullies. Every last of one them.

    I’m not knocking sincere efforts to strengthen and maintain family ties, but the motivation behind making the phone calls and coordinating the gatherings is not always coming from love at all.

    1. Ditto is what I experienced. The bullying was horrendous & designed to keep you in line with their wants/needs/expectations only; absolutely nothing at all do with what was best for you as you were never even considered! Falseness, pretence, plastic fantastics (yep one sister-n-law had the plastic surgeries as her hubby was in the media), jealousy – so over it.
      Thankfully all now behind & no longer in contact with any of them. Whyever would you want to be?
      I remember being shocked & stunned at the time when the mother-in-law passed with the grab/greed for anything of value (there was nothing to do with sentiment at all) as the focus was purely on monetary value. Then when the father-in-law passed & witnessing the same, that just turned me away completely.
      M-i-L was the matriarch & F-i-L was the patriarch & that side just blew apart.
      I think the positive I took away from it was being able to openly discuss this with my kidlets (they were 16, 18 & 20 at the time) so old enough to understand.

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    i think it’s related to an idea from Bowling Alone by Putnam, where in person associations may be dying…. even though they might be beneficial for our well-being.

    Still. If we don’t value each other (bullying or shaming people into action), then we can’t rely on each other and don’t trust each other. This also causes problems because those in-person associations may become damaging too, if we never learned how to be present with others without forcing them to do something.

    Part of the positives (decreased depression, better motivation, shared social resources and knowledge to get through tough times), of in-person meetings and get-togethers is based on being genuine with each other about boundaries and our own imperfection.

    Without the regular practice of heart-sourced appreciation, generosity and forgiveness in our time together, no one has the strength to continue gathering and giving to each other. This is when a get-together becomes a social charade, destroying our relationships to family. I wonder if we can change some of this in ourselves. So we can stop thinking our “enemy” is our “enemy” and instead love them. Realize they might just be “doing the best they can” (yeah..l read from Brene Brown,lol. She writes from the deep, I have to say)

    I’ve found a death of a matriarch or light in the family makes us have to confront the existing foundations built for the family: love or baggage. Then, we have to think, what is it that we want to base our relations on from now on? What is our vision for the greater good? What regrets will I have for inaction?

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    I’ve been dealing with a lot of sadness since my mom passed away in 2014. My sister and I were very close and then when my mom got sick it’s like the glue unraveled for both of us. I live out of state so I think she resented the fact that she was the one that had to take care of mom the last year of her life. On top of that there was a lot of drama with regards to my moms estate when I took over as executor. Needless to say, it is 2017 and we have not spoken for over a year. At first, I had a lot of anger towards her because her and her husband mismanaged my moms affairs and then treated my family so badly. But after the estate was settled, I felt this huge sense of relief and was kind of ready to move on. She took a different approach. She unfriended me on facebook, moved without a forwarding address and just basically bowed out of my life. I can’t say that I have tried to loop myself back in but it still seems sad to me. I wonder if sometimes relationships with family need to fade away too? Lately, though, I find myself thinking about her and her family and missing the relationship we did have when it was good.

    1. My story is similar to yours in that I lost the relationship I had with my sister when our mom died. I thought we were close. That hardest part is when you get to the point where you just miss her. You miss all the good times. To process this, aside from counseling, I wrote down the good memories we shared. I also wrote down the good memories I shared with my mom. It brought some healing to reflect on the happy times. Also, I said out loud (privately) that I forgave her for…..xyz. I had to verbally release her. I asked God to heal me from the wounds caused by my sis. It really helped. I think the wound will take time to heal. Losing a loved one this way is harder than losing them by death because they chose to walk away & said/ did hurtful things to you in the process. I will never forget my sister or the relationship we had. I choose to be grateful for it. Eventually, the pain inside will heal. It will take time & a continual choice to forgive and let go.

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        I never thought our relationship would get to this point, we talked and shared everything, then it’s almost like this hidden dysfunction exposed itself when my mom got sick. All of the resentments that she had for me but never shared previously bubbled up to the top. The problem was that nobody ever really talked about any of it, so it festered. Then after we had the opportunity to talk, she shut down and decided to not say anything. I am not sure that our relationship will ever be what it was, I guess that’s what makes me sad.

      2. My relationship with my sister came apart when my father died. She had been drifting away for some time, enough that my wife had noticed. She no longer shared details of her life, never reached out, barely talked over holidays. We had once been very close, so much so that holidays were spent laughing and catching up. Once we knew my father’s prognosis, she became like a different person. I know there were already misunderstandings from comments made in the past, but she refused to cooperate with me in taking care of mom and dad. The times I did reach out with comments or concerns, she always reacted defensively. She lived only two hours away (I moved back home to help mom care for dad), but strategically planned her visits to never last more than a night or two. I was heartbroken when she didn’t come for my father’s emergency surgery. He passed from an aggressive form of Parkinson’s dementia at 69, and died a week after surgery. She treated me and my family with disdain and contempt when she arrived to help with the funeral. I tried to talk to her and her husband both, but neither seemed interested. The odd thing is that she still wants to keep in touch for “mom’s sake”. My mom doesn’t want to be involved but she’s mentioned things I did or said twenty years ago. My father has been gone almost a year and I’m finally recovering from his death. My relationship with mom has also been strained because of my sister and that’s also improving. Anyway, my sister’s behavior seems similar to what you’ve experienced. Grudges, old misunderstandings, resentment. My biggest question is why she won’t just talk or communicate. I can’t be around someone, especially a family member, who treats me and my family poorly, especially when I’m emotionally vulnerable. I feel like I’ll spend the rest of my life wondering what happened. But my biggest concern is what will happen when mom becomes sick or or passes. It seems like one of us will need to bow out of the process.

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          I’m sorry for your loss. It’s a lot to go through. I can understand the whole “saving face” for a parent but to me it seems very superficial. I believe my sister only wanted to save face at one point too. She thought if she bundled up a few pictures and a letter for me at my moms burial that I would immediately be “OK” with everything she did. I told her “baby steps” and I don’t think she understood that. Things don’t magically fix themselves with a letter. She also won’t talk to me either, one or two cryptic texts several months ago and that was the last I heard of her. It makes me wonder if she is afraid of talking and telling me what she really feels or thinks? But how do issues get resolved unless you all communicate with each other!

  19. Our stories are so very similar. It feels good to post on this page & hear from others who get it. It seems like no one around me understands what I am going through right now. I believe the same thing happened with my sister and I. My husband took our kids to visit her one time, and my nephew told him that my sister has a tendency to hold grudges. It has motivated me to make an effort to teach my 2 kids at their young age to work things out when they fight. It’s a skill a lot of people don’t have. It is easier to bail on a relationship. You miss out on a lot when you do that though. I know that some relationships are unhealthy and separating yourself is the answer. However, it is good to at least try to work things out before you give up, especially with a relationship you’ve had your whole life! My sister & I have shared life events/ experiences that only we could understand. She is the only one I could relate with on those things. One of the things that makes me sad is that I am losing out on reminiscing with her.

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      Yes, very similar. My sister has a tendency to hold on to things too. When all the stress surfaced with my mom she started throwing things in my face that I did 20 years ago to her! It was so odd and to be honest, some of the things I did not even remember doing as I was so young and stupid at the time. I’m not sure how to fix it. I think it will require a lot of honesty and that is one thing I am not sure she is capable at this point. There is more to the story right now that I don’t want to delve into (theft etc.) but it will only get resolved if shes willing to talk about it honestly and open. I am at peace with the relationship I had with my mom but I also think my way of handling my moms death did not sit well with her either. They say everyone grieves differently, she was more open about it and I think expected me to grieve the same way she did. My relationship with my mom was strained at times and I did the best I could. One day, I think I will have to be the one to break the communication and reach out to her. She won’t do it otherwise. Sad, very sad.

  20. My sister wrote me this long letter and accused me of doing things that I had not recollection of. The thought crossed my mind that they were things that had happened 20-30 years ago, when we were young. Some of it was current, but it was a complete misunderstanding. We have very different personalities also, but in the past, I saw this as a strength in our relationship. I am more quiet and not as out-going as her. She would bring out parts of me that others couldn’t. I haven’t laughed with anyone as much as when we would hang out. I sure do miss that. I have sent her a letter trying to explain why she may have misunderstood me in the past, along with a bunch of memories of us and of mom that I thought may remind her of the relationship we had. I was hoping to soften her heart. I sent the letter last week. It is the first time I tried to contact her (other than a bday card) since our mom died in Feb 2016. I haven’t heard back from her yet. Right now my heart is injured and I am trying to heal. I certainly don’t want to have a talk with her if she is not going to be loving in her response. Part of me doesn’t want her to contact me yet until I heal.
    I can relate to what you said about different ways of grieving. My grieving was to talk to my mom about death and heaven and arrange the burial service and memorial after her death. I didn’t cry when it is happening. It hit me later. I cried going to baseball games for my son, while driving in the car or at the grocery store…not usually in front of family or friends. She is very overt and emotional. What you said about your sister may have been part of it too. She may have been offended about the way I grieve, thinking I didn’t care as much.

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      Yes, we have different personalities too, different ways of dealing with stress and grief. I am more introverted, she often interprets that as cold and uncaring. I am not super expressive with my feelings either. It’s just how I’m wired. I had an “Aha” moment today though. I think that I need to accept the fact that my relationship with her is broken for now and just focus on myself. I also realized something today that unless she can be honest about the things she has bottled up inside, as well as things that transpired while I was settling my mothers estate, the only relationship we will ever have will be one that is superficial. I can’t open up to someone, be close again with her, if she is not honest with me. So, I’ll have to see where it goes. Right now, she chooses to loop me out of her life and there is not much I can do about that. She also chooses to take the victim path as opposed to taking any kind of personal responsibliity for why our relationship is damaged. I certainly see where I played a part, now, it’s her turn. I figure, if it’s important enough, she will put forth the effort too.

  21. In our family we have a couple of siblings who moved far away after school and did their own thing. They came around when they could, but mostly just did their own thing – we did not see much of them. No one complained. The rest of us stuck around Mom and Dad because we could not imagine living far away from them. We are home bodies, very rooted in family, moreso than the ones “doing their own thing”. We spent every day with them and our sister lived with them well into middle age with her child. Fast forward – Dad died unexpectedly and Mom is encouraged to move closer to one of the “do your own thingers” (by the DYOTs) who tends to start things and never finish . . . So Mom (very shortly after Dad’s death basically runs away. She moves too far for us to visit and purchases a new house. We were never consulted and when we gave our opinion we were ignored. She proceeds to blow every penny she has (she took a 30 year mortgage against the advice of the 800CS siblings) and pees away the rest on foolishness. Flakey “Do your own thing #1” gets tired of Mom cramping their style and eventually ships Mom to “Do your own thing” #2 – we have not seen her since! The family is fractured. And considering some of the animosity DYOT#1 has shared that they have been harboring for many years, I believe it is beyond repair. I remember years ago we all vowed to look out for each other and remember we are family. Some of us have absolutely done that. Others have used it as a “get out of jail free” (abuse) card. Welost our father to unexpected death and shortly after, our mother to siblings who do not honor social contract and clearly do not understand what family is – although they do use the idea often, when they are looking for something.

  22. I guess my lights don’t shine. Haven’t spoken or seen my brother or half-sister since 2015. I only see my dad. ”Mother” has been out of the picture a long time ago.

  23. I joined this blog to get comfort from feeling that I am not the only one betrayed/ abandoned by a sibling after our mom died. However, reading this makes me feel sad that others are hurting as I have been. I wish I was the only one. 🙁

  24. I was going to elaborate more than this, but in my case, it was my dad, who died suddenly and unexpectedly over 20 years ago. Leo sun/ascendant, Cancer moon. Nothing but light that cast a huge shadow.

    When the shadow was removed, the cracks in the foundation of our family quickly became evident. I have, at one point or another, been not-speaking to one of my brothers since my father passed. I’m over a decade younger than both, and I think they both thought I needed another father when I was over 30 with a family of my own and most assuredly did not.

    All of us, in our own way, are lights. My oldest brother is a steady flame in a woodstove. I associate my younger-older brother with Ione of those SAD lights you buy to get through the winter. It’s not a natural light, but that’s not a criticism. Of the three, he’s the most optimistic, and the SAD lights are designed to get people through the dark times. I, too, am a fire that occasionally flares to “Dad levels,” but also occasionally smolders. It never fully goes out.

    I know my brothers love me. I also think they’ve always been intimidated by me because I wouldn’t fit the “obedient girl” mold. I think when Dad wasn’t around to rein them in, they both went after me in different ways. We’re OK now, but my mother is quite old, and while she’s in excellent health, time is time. I’m bracing myself for what will change when she leaves us.

    I’m both comforted to know this phenomenon wasn’t unique to me and saddened to know it wasn’t unique to me. Hugs to all.

  25. Avatar
    Hiedi Lindner

    I am a child from my Dad’s second marriage. He had five children with his first wife she died at a young age and the kids never really got to morn her loss before my Dad married my Mom then came five more children, I being the second to the last. When my Dad passed away the older siblings wanted everything my mom had they felt they should have gotten everything and leave nothing for my Mom. Mom moved in with my husband and I and now none of my half siblings even talk to me, I have tried many times with no response is this a normal thing?

    1. Welcome, Hiedi. Sadly, I think it is. People are in pain. Often times they just want to push it away. It winds up on someone innocent. 🙁

      1. “”It winds up on someone innocent.””
        Thank you Elsa, that statement has said it all to me.
        It is the innocents who are expected to have the broadest shoulders of all.

  26. I’ve seen this post before, but I just realized that this totally happened on my dad’s side of the family. My paternal grandmother, a Scorpio, was the glue that held them together (my grandfather passed before I was born). I saw them numerous times as a young child. But she died in 1998 and I didn’t see some of my cousins or my uncle for well over a decade, until I flew up to visit them last year, and I know their relationships with each other are more scattered too even though they live in the same state.

  27. Avatar
    Hildegarde's Girl

    This is a very deep and powerful concept with me. My mom was a Scorpio with her Venus in Scorpio. We were 5 kids living with a loving, very responsible but nacissistic and rather manipulative father. Lets just say he has his demons.
    She taught us love and acceptance for each other. Always to be there for each other when in need. People envy our closeness, great love, loyalty and acceptance of each other.
    My brother does the holidays(libra) but my Cancer sister with her Scorpio moon is the one who generally starts communications and keeps it all going emotionally.
    They come to me for health advice(Im a budding herbalist and nutrition junkie). We all protect our slightly disabled but highly independent and very sweet sister.
    Holidays are magical. All our kids get along with their cousins as we lead by example.
    We attribute this to our Scorpio mom who taught us to bind together…for after she was gone.
    And we did.

  28. This is pure Capricorn Cancer.

    The structure of the family as an institution *Capricorn* and the emotional foundations *Cancer*

    I have nothing zip zero in either sign but I recognize what is going on.

    My Scorpio Moon and stellium is never going to feel anything but blood on blood, but that is not what keeps a family together.

    1. You may be onto to something here G. Grace. My Mom was Cap Sun and Mercury (we actually had the same b-day), with a Cancer Moon, Jupiter and Uranus.

      But I think her very strong Venus energy also contributed to her being the glue of our larger/extended family as well. She had early Sagittarius Venus conjunct late Scorpio Rising, with her Mars in Pisces. She had acutely developed empathy, and was rather psychic/intuitive (both of which I inherited..yay).

      She was/is a rather old Soul. Rumor has it that she is going to directly reincarnate as one of my daughters (ime/o direct reincarnations are somewhat rare), and like me will be a “star child” (coming in from a different system), and apparently will be rather precocious and gifted.

      I very much look forward to meeting in the physical again. Unfortunately, karmic patterns being what they are, I will be the one to leave early this time, according to 3 or 4 dreams that my spouse has had about me. For shits and giggles (and curiosity), after like the 3rd dream about me dying young, I took out her Tarot cards, made the intention of picking one card to answer my question, and asked, “Is it the probable future that I will die in my mid 40’s?”

      I kid you not, I pulled the death card. Both my spouse and I started laughing. However, the reason why she has had numerous dreams about this, is because this will be very emotionally tough of her, and it’s preparation ahead of time.

      I’ll try to stick around if I can, but at the end of the day, I give up my little will to the Will of Source and the purely Creative Forces.

      Oddly, not long ago, I had a dream that seemed to deal with this situation. It was post collapse/probable future, and there were two groups at war with each other, the group I was part of was based in love and positive service, and the other group, the aggressors were very, let’s say, un-nice.

      During a battle/skirmish for our survival, I saw my body get pretty much chopped in half (machine gun?, didn’t see how). The body of course died, but as I was outside of same, looking at the whole situation, I shot up into a pure White Light place/state, and from there “looking down” so to speak, I decided I was going to heal my body and come back. And I did. My friends who had seen me cut down could not believe it at first.

      I knew that I was somehow “different” (from my old self) in some ways after this. End of a rather odd and intense dream.

  29. 12thHouseMars

    This has already happened in my father’s family with my grandmother’s death. It happened during Saturn in Sagittarius. Uranus is in my 4th now.

  30. Makes sense. I’ve seen it happen before.

    When my grandparents died, the same occured.
    My father, the youngest, put his identity into military and friendships/community. Moved a lot so new roots were never created.
    The brownstone my grandfather owned was sold and funds split between my father, a few aunt’s and uncles.
    Now I must create something that provides long-term stability. I’m a little upset that my family and others do not live this way anymore. The structure has eroded.

  31. I have LARGE extended families on both sides and many/most of them have kept in touch and get together since the patriarchs and matriarchs died.

    There is of course some natural “losing contact” once you hit the great-grandchildren by virtue of their sheer numbers at this point, but the core groups are still cohesive.

    Within my immediate family, I don’t expect much to change once my parents are gone. The links between me and my various siblings (and between themselves) have nothing to do with my parents. As a matter of fact the inter-siblings links have always been stronger than the parents-children ones in our case.

    And the transfer of “duties and traditions” has already begun. For example, my brother with the big enough house has already started hosting the big feasts. Another one lives in a big city and is the host for those who need to travel to or through that area. I think we each have already found our groove and I honestly don’t expect the family is going to dissolve or change much.

  32. Without mom,there is no lure to draw family members from afar on holidays, and other family gatherings,like Sunday dinners,birthdays,anniversaries,etc.The parents,grandparents,and particularly the moms and grandmothers are always the glue that holds the siblings together,and keeps all the aunts and uncles and the cousins in touch into the next generation.Sadly,as the old generation fades away;people move away,get involved with their own lives,and drift apart.Of course there are exceptions,but this is the sad fact of American family life in the 21st century.People live all over today,often great distances from one another.In the 1950’s and 60’s, families stayed put and often still remained in and around the old neighborhood.Cherish your grandparents and parents while living and always remember,things inevitably change and the close-knit family life you enjoy now will eventually disappear.I am 63 now,parents,only sibling,and all my aunts and uncles are gone…it’s very sad and lonely!

  33. This is so true. It’s been a little over three years since my father passed. My mother is still grieving in ways that are disturbing: poor hygiene, conspiracy theories, prepping, etc. She refuses to go to a doctor despite trying every trick in the book to get her there. She already had an antagonistic relationship with my sister who is an hour from her whereas I’m a four-hour plane ride. Every holiday since his death has been awful between them resulting in nasty blow-ups. My sister no longer cares if she lives or dies. I try counseling my mother via phone and she promises to try harder to mend fences, but either she’s suffering from Dementia or is placating me. I’m not able to get home for the holidays. I tried to fly my mother out to me, but she refuses to get on a plane. Then she must have said something to my sister about Christmas because she’s going to be alone for the holidays now. My sister’s kids are older but this is their only grandmother and they love her dearly. Sometimes I wish it had been my mother who passed because her loss would have only been painful to me; we have always had a wonderful, quirky relationship. But my dad would have kept going. He and my sister were wonderfully close. Instead, he’s gone and I’m left guilt-ridden watching them fight. My sister is also angry with him and has decided to cancel her vacation to see me in March because I couldn’t get off to return for Christmas and act as a buffer. I have three children under the age of 8 who will never know any of their extended family at this rate. Sometimes I wish I had died.

  34. Thank you so much for posting this. Since losing my paternal grandmother (Dad’s mother) I feel as though our family is estranged. We were a very close knit family, an now to feel like strangers hurts me most..but not as much as losing my Grandmother. Just wish I could start healing..been almost 10yrs and it’s as raw today as it was when learning of her passing 🙁

  35. I can understand your pain. My father passed three years ago and the anguish of being estranged from my family has surpassed the grief of losing my father. Not that losing him wasn’t absolutely devastating, but I’ve had time to process that. But my family situation is just as you described yours. I feel like I’m with strangers now. I love my mother and sister and especially miss spending holidays together. My father made Christmas special, he loved it and we all got caught up in his joy. I didn’t spend this Christmas with my family, and it really tore me down emotionally.

    1. Avatar
      Deborah Rogers

      When my mom died in 2016 & my sister decided to end our relationship, that break in relationship gave me much more pain than losing my mom. I believe it is because they choose to leave you and the family member who passed on had no choice. Be encouraged to keep trying once in a while. I would a message or a card every 2-3 months (not to be over-bearing). She surprised me by calling me back on Nov 26, 2019. I was so happy. However, I’ve never been able to express my anger & hurt fully to her because of fear that she will change her mind & leave again. Needless to say, not the ideal relationship. However, I am thankful she is back in our lives, and my kids can have their aunt back again. It hurt them too.

  36. It is an unfortunate outcome for some families to dissolve ties once the patriarch or matriarch passes. And in my case, since my parents are gone (along with a younger brother), the surviving siblings have very little to be part of each other’s lives. In short, we took things for granted and didn’t prepare emotionally for end of the life we knew from our youth with aunts, uncles, 1st &2nd cousins. But as a married older man with 2 adult children at my wake, I take the initiative to be the patriarch and the glue that will tie my children (& eventually grandchildren together). It’s all about new beginnings and resetting the “reset button.”

  37. We have lost both parents & our youngest brother, who was disabled, in the last few years. I am the only girl, who is single, have one married brother & another brother who is an alcoholic. Our family was extremely close & now we have fallen apart. The married brother doesn’t have much to do with us. I am devastated, having had a solid family who hot together for holidays, Sunday dinner, etc. I am employed, but only have a tiny apartment so cannot play host. I just want to run away & start over.

  38. I had a family once, but it was a long, long time ago.

    Nice middle class family that tried hard to get along with everyone. My folks (Aries/Taurus) loved the annual Christmas evening get-togethers best of all. Just a time to gather and have a bite to eat, catch up on family news and open gifts.

    Then my brothers got married (Aries/Cappy and Pisces/Cancer) and the out-laws decided we weren’t cut from fine enough cloth to suit them. My husband’s (Pisces/Gemini) parents (Gemini/Virgo) managed to convince my husband that every moment spent away from their sides was a moment wasted. We never had children; we weren’t allowed to be alone together very long. Yes, I’m serious.

    My husband passed, then Mom, then Dad. The out-laws that tore our family up to begin with have all passed, except one and a deceased SIL sister who is up my brother’s hand end, waiting for him to pass ($$). Y’know, I think I’ll write a book….

  39. That’s what happened to us. And to be honest, I wasn’t afraid of losing my second parent as I was afraid of this. We completely fall apart and whatever I do, if other sides aren’t willing to work it out, and there are just a few of us left, nothing will happen. We won’t become closer ever again. Everyone should work on relationships, but all of them have something of their own and have no need to get close. On the other side, I’m the only one who doesn’t have something of my own, my own family, and that feeling of loneliness is utterly hard. But, it’s possible to get stronger, even alone. It’s possible to endure it and be strong and realize when you have yourself, you can achieve anything. At a right time.

  40. Avatar
    Jeffrey A Willman

    I never realized that my family just wasn`t very close until our mother died. My father had passed many years before, but it was my mother who was the “glue” that apparently held us all together.
    After her death, it became almost unbearable to even talk to half of my siblings. I`m from a family of eight, so that meant I wasn`t on speaking terms with four of them. One brother`s wife sent me a text and told me to not contact them ever again. This came as a surprise because I never did anything wrong to that brother and his wife. Well, the other three were on my side because none of what she wrote was true, all lies. The other three I`m not talking to are like vultures, wanting their share of the house. Me and my closest brother are living in the house where we took care of mom for years with NO HELP from any of them. She had dementia and I actually quit my job to take care of her. My brother and I received
    no appreciation or even a thank you. But I didn`t really care at that point because she was my mother and I felt obligated. I`m really confused as to what actually happened to change my family so drastically. My mother specifically stated in her will that me and my brother could continue living in the family home. It just hurts. None of my nephews and nieces ( and I have over 20 )ever contact me anymore when I thought for years we were “close”. I have agonized over this and have shed many tears but I fail to see any type of solution. It is something I will have to live with. I DO KNOW that my mother would be heartbroken if she had known that it had to come to this. I`m invisible to HALF my siblings. Life can really suck.

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