Later in the week I am returning to NY for the first anniversary of my mother's death. Things among my siblings have not been good in the interim and I am not looking forward to this visit.
Sign? While making coffee this morning I had a flashback to her cremation. Things were already tense and while we sat in folding chairs in front of her coffin, one of my sisters suggested naming a secular charity for people to donate to, while another mentioned the religious charity she had contributed to for almost fifty years.
One brother, normally a sensible guy, objected to that because he works with a lot of Jews and "they wouldn't want to contribute to a Catholic organization."
I said nothing, not because I had no opinion, but because what would have come out of my mouth would have created a rift that would have been pretty hard to fix. Although readers of ExC might be surprised by this, one of my gifts in real life, is shutting the hell up when what I want to blurt out is likely to create more trouble than the things I want to blurt out about.
This is true in my family, especially of late. One way I try not to contribute to the proffered hooks on which one could hang a variety of hurts and angers is simply to say nothing or to change the subject.
My anger at my brother was twofold. This was my mother's death, not his colleagues'. Second, the now common instinct for White Christian self-erasure in face of a privileged minority and its imagined sensibilities...that really pissed me off. Cause God knows, no Jewish family whose mother had contributed for a half century to a Jewish charity would have wiped that out to avoid discomfiting some Gentile strangers.
Yeah, it's gonna be a great trip.