“Why isn’t the rent paid? I’ve sent dad checks every week, I just don’t get it!” Joe was so upset to think he was never alerted to his dad’s condition and now this on top of it all, he was beside himself.
Mark put an arm around his older brother trying to calm him. “He would have no part of you knowing how bad he’d gotten. It was his decision. I’m just sorry you had to find out this way.”
“I’m so frustrated. Why do you think he kept it from me? I could have helped, I could have visited, talked to him , I could…” Joe started to cry, the tragedy of his father’s death was overwhelming. Mark tried to comfort his brother but the distance between them could not be bridged in a few sentences.
The two brothers separated when they graduated from high school. Mark stayed in town near his dad but Joe lived across the country. He did what he could to help with support, but actual communication and visits were few. Now Joe felt guilty and helpless, realizing he could have done more.
Mark knew that even if Joe lived nearer, he could not have prevented their father’s death or his refusal to seek medical help. Their dad was stubborn as many of his generation. Maintaining an independent presence was important to him and he used the money Joe sent in different ways, sometimes failing to get the rent paid.
Trying to explain these circumstances to Joe now, when he was so upset, would take longer than a quick chat at the funeral home.