The gathering of the clan


The title of this blog is “A world at war”.  It is a title that encompasses a lot of scenarios because people are at loggerheads for all sorts of reasons. The worst kind of loggerheads has to be when conflict cannot be resolved without going to war.

It is a mistake to believe that war only happens on a national or international level. We continue to face a lot of risks from an unknown enemy, an enemy that is identifiable by belief in the Ummah.

This post is about conflict on the micro-level and it is a personal post because I think it is a subject that touches a lot of families, whether it is at Christmas or other times.

About 4 weeks ago my father-in-law was placed into respite care. He has, according to his logic been a good boy and he wants to go home. The problem is that in the 4 weeks that he has been at the hostel, he has continued his rapid deterioration and he is now mobile in a wheelchair.  The woman who is his carer, his third wife, is older than him and she cannot continue to look after him.  (so far, so good).

Just over a week ago, my husband’s Aunty Pam, that is Brian’s younger sister, passed away very suddenly. Her death certificate reads that she had an aneurysm. My husband took my father-in-law to the funeral. Some of his brothers and sisters made it to the funeral. However, there was one person there, a most unwelcome person, by the name of Diane who was also present. This woman is not to be mixed up with my husband’s cousin Diana.

Diane is the daughter of Joan, the third wife and carer. She approached my husband’s sister Debbie and started on about how taking care of Brian is the responsibility of our family and not of Joan’s family. It is none of her business.  The attack on my sister-in-law had a number of those within the clan feeling very angry, to the point we would like to take her outside behind the pub where we gathered and teach her a lesson. Alas, my husband would not allow me to get involved in such an activity, and it did not happen anyway.

I was not very pleased, and neither were other members of the clan, to discover that Joan had invited Diane and her latest husband to the gathering of the clan.

This year the challenge was Brian’s health. The nominated residence has a driveway that is too steep, so the “host” for the gathering chose a hotel in Cessnock near where Brian is staying. Karen and her husband Andy picked up Brian. It gave Karen the opportunity to have a look at the accommodation and she agreed with us that the staff were good people. We were there with one son, his partner and our grand-daughter, who became “the parcel”.

Overall, the gathering was a good one and we had a good time talking to each other. However, one person was given the cold shoulder. We were determined not to go out of our way to be friendly towards this person.

I need to explain what is on my mind out Diane’s interference in our family affairs. This person is a daughter of Brian’s third wife. In pure and simple terms she is a bitch. The way she treated Debbie at that funeral was disgusting. On top of that I suspect that she is the driving force regarding a number of decisions that Joan has been making. These are decisions that are in fact quite offensive because Brian is not dead, he is in a care facility. Brian will have to go to another facility because he requires a lot of care at the present time. Some of that is his fault because he has been so stubborn. He was using a walking frame but he refused to move from his alloted room and he has lost strength in his legs. At the gathering Joan was wanting people to come and start moving Brian’s things out of the house. I personally find that request offensive. Yet I have to look behind Joan to try and find the person who is driving such ideas. At the moment I see only one of the daughters and that is Diane.

The other idea that Joan has is that after Brian is fixed up in an aged care facility, she wants to sell the house, and have Diane and her husband purchase a property with a granny flat so that she can move there. The complication with this scenario happens to be that the current husband is in the RAAF. What happens when he gets another posting? Have any of them thought it through that far? I doubt it.

Here is what I am thinking, and that is Diane is wanting to get the benefit of getting her mother to finance the purchase of a property with the pretence that she will look after her in old age. There is an obvious benefit to Diane in this scenario.

This could end up as a very nasty business. We have yet to resolve what will happen to Brian. The next step is tomorrow and I will not be involved. I will not even go with my husband tomorrow. I have stated to him that I am concerned that Diane will attempt to interfere and be there. He says that he will take care of her and if necessary he will send Joan from the room during the assessment that is to take place.

All of this is very stressful for the whole family. Karen is a nurse but she lives interstate and therefore she cannot exert influence. It has been left up to Debbie most of the time to do running around. It has also fallen on my husband’s shoulders as the oldest son and member of the family to help make the necessary decisions. Brian is of sound mind. He is as sharp as a tack. It is for this reason that Diane’s interference and influence upon her mother is what I consider to be dangerous and unwelcome. It almost seems like Joan is dumping Brian. She is totally confused about what she should be doing at this point in time. She is attempting to make decisions based upon what Diane has been feeding to her.

Joan is the mother of 9 children. One of the daughters passed away a few years ago. Most of them keep to themselves. The active ones, most likely to cause mischief are Diane, Angela and Bernard. They seem to take it in turns to hang around. They use the excuse that they are there to support their mother, whatever that means. I simply think that they are interfering way too much into the lives of Brian and Joan. To this I add that it always infuriated me that even Brian tried to foist this family upon us, always talking them up….. yet they appear to be dead heads.

However, this year the gathering of the clan was an overwhelming success. The young children who were present received some presents. One of them, Mikayla was really excited to receive her gifts, and it is a pleasure to see this happen. Some very generously gave a present for Alex and Nathan who were not present at the gathering as well as a gift for little Claire.

Now about the “pass the parcel” comment. Claire loves being the centre of attention. It started when she was first born because of her thick hair. She is developing so well, with her delightful smiles. Yesterday, there was one girl who is obviously very clucky. After Claire had a short nap it was time to be picked up again. The young lady could not wait to hold her. I took her to Brian and asked if he wanted to have a hold. He did – great!!  We had this thing going where we referred to Claire in terms of “pass the parce”. The parcel got as far as Astrid :).  Everyone loved little Claire. On the way back to our house she was busily vocalising, which is a very good thing. This is one child who likes to be passed around!!

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