Conversations with siblings can be eye-opening.
Each person recalls the same event with a personal twist. So much so that the story is nearly unrecognizable from the facts.
That is always the case whenever we discuss our parents or their passing. Some of us saw their suffering and became resigned to let them go in peace. But some could not see past their own need and hung on far too long, which extended the dying parent’s suffering. And yet, even after the parents’ passing, they still could not let them go. Living with open wounds is not only painful but unhealthy as well.
Sometimes, the facts are lost somewhere in the la-la realm. In truth, family members are the actual history revisionists. Interestingly enough, the variations and details reveal more about each person than they realize.
Let us begin with the First Family.
When Adam found himself in the Garden of Eden, God gave him a couple of rules. The most important one was not to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. Since Adam was a simple guy, the fruit rule was a no-brainer.
However, when Eve entered the picture, as with most relationships, things became complicated. She was a biker chick at heart. As a result, Eve lived for the moment and abhorred rules. Consequently, she became easy prey for the bad boy, Serpent, to manipulate.
Eve decided eating the fruit was the right thing to do. But following the First Couple’s eviction from Eden, her lame excuse was, “The Devil made me do it.” Her refusal to take responsibility for her actions set a terrible precedent for humanity.
After their accommodations were less than savory and her children exhibited juvenile delinquent behavior, she became the first shrew. But, in her mind, the expulsion from Eden was never her fault.
While attempting to take stock of our lives, it is easier to express hurt and surprise than to accept blame for our actions which led to unfortunate consequences.
Victimhood existed long before politicians thought they invented that unacceptable and poor excuse. Generally, there is no valid excuse to take on the mantle of being a victim. Our actions and choices led us to our final destination.
If a man needs to physically or emotionally abuse his wife and children to feel like a macho man, he may refuse to face the truth because that would alter his self-image. And yet, he still expresses surprise and pain when his children turn on him.
When someone possesses a revisionist mentality, he rarely takes responsibility for his actions. Instead, he finds justification for past behavior.
Sometimes, people mix alcohol and medications, and even a self-proclaimed Dr. Jekyll morphs into Mr. Hyde. However, if honest, he might find that the alcohol and drugs merely removed the Dr. Jekyll veneer.
In our family, everyone suffered from a touch of megalomania. Family dinners were loud because each person wanted father’s attention. But he believed withholding approval would make his children strive harder to succeed in life.
We recounted and recalled family events through personal interpretation. Some even altered mother’s recipes and then argued about whose version was correct.
With apologies to one sibling, but one of his revised history tales stands out and still makes this woman chuckle.
Our parents escaped Hungary when the Russians took over. However, they managed to bring a few treasured belongings with them, including a unique crucifix. Over time, the Crucified One developed a crack around the waist. The sibling explained the damage. Father was holding the crucifix before him as he and his family escaped amidst battlefield gunfire. In his recitation, a bullet cracked the body on the crucifix.
If the listener considers this tale logically, a bullet will create a hole in the crucifix and the body rather than a simple crack. Thus, to accept the sibling’s version, we must suspend belief. But, unfortunately, some of us are too contentious to do so.
Ultimately, everyone’s Family Theory of Relativity reveals how close or far the apples have fallen from the tree. And sometimes, our words and actions do create an insurmountable distance between each apple.