Written by Richard Griffin   
Tuesday, June 03 2014 08:23
The saddest wake I can remember came recently. It wasn't seeing my friend Joe in his coffin but it was the absence of a member of his family. That person was his oldest daughter whom I had known long ago.

Joe’s son took me aside and explained to me why that sister had not come. She, it turns out, had been long estranged from both her mother and her father. Her absence suggested a terrible break in their family structure. Apparently no one had been able to deal with the situation. Clearly I could not know how, nor would I have tried to take on such a difficult problem.

 As with such situations generally, it may well be that the reason for the breakup is lost by now. No one may know what brought the separation about. The parents are both gone now but it seems unlikely that the adult children will ever be able to remedy the break.

 Did my friend die with regret for his inability to redeem the split? It seems unlikely I will never know.  Nor is there much chance her siblings will come close to their sister who treated her parents like this.