Featuring a guest post today, written by my sister Sonetta.
The other posts on this blog describe my grandmother, a gentle and loving lady, and her inclination to stay silent about the treatment received at the hands of Son 2 and DIL 2.
Even though my father, mother, sister, and I speak up for her, it does little good without her vocal support. Sara Bareilles’ song Brave sums up what I wish she would understand:But the silence of my grandmother is only one aspect of the main issue. The other aspect is the persistent silence of Son 2 and DIL2, who refuse to make any attempt to communicate and resolve issues.
Around 2006 – 2010 was when I first personally experienced Son 2’s change of behavior. He would call once a year to wish me on my birthday, but his wife would not come to the phone. When I would ask about her, he would say she’s gone out. What a coincidence that every time he called, she was out of the house or unavailable.
Slowly, his annual calls stopped.
Later, when my grandmother was living in his house, we would make weekly calls to her. He would pick up the phone and hand it over to her, never answering the call himself.
A few months later, handing my grandmother the phone stopped as well.
Repeated calls to our grandmother, while she was living under his roof, were never answered or returned. Emails to inquire about her were met with stone-cold silence.
In 2013, I moved to the US because of my new job. I had made plans to invite my grandmother to come stay with me. I called him up to let him know I was now living in the same country as him.
My calls were not answered.
So, I sent Son 2 an email including my new US phone number, and said I would like to speak to my grandmother.
A few months later, my parents received a terse email from him that he had helped relocate my grandmother to Mumbai – a unilateral decision without consulting any of his siblings. As my grandmother had no knowledge of her passport or green card or the permissibility of visiting the US again, my family sent repeated emails to him to inquire about the same.
A few months later, I received a call from Son 2 (on the US number I had emailed him a year before). Looking at the caller ID on the incoming call and being open to communication, I answered the call. He told me that his elder brother (Son 1, who had been ill and in-and-out of hospitals for a few years) was in critical condition. Two days later, Son 1 passed away.
Last year in 2016, I was diagnosed with Stage III Cancer. It truly was a pleasant surprise when Son 2 and DIL 2 called up to inquire about my health. He spoke with my parents twice within a week. I was unable to talk at that time due to a procedure that caused me to throw up blood frequently and be on severe painkillers. There was no further communication from them after that.
A few weeks later, we found out from my grandmother’s neighbors that she was admitted to the hospital in Mumbai. Son 2 went down to Mumbai. Initially, we were able to get information about my grandmother through her nurse.
Later, Son 2 asked the nurses to stop disclosing any information to us.
While on chemotherapy, I emailed him, to ask him to allow us to speak to my grandmother. He replied back that he was praying that I recover soon and that he would call soon. No such call came.
Even now, Son 2 and DIL 2 do not respond to any emails sent by my family about my grandmother’s condition and our efforts/ideas to help her. We, personally, do not want or expect anything from him. Our only purpose behind trying to communicate with him is to come together as a family to look after my grandmother’s well-being and to alleviate her current condition. If he clarifies his stance to my grandmother and us, she might then be open to accepting help from her daughters.
My grandmother is not in the peak of health, her memory is failing, and approaching 78, lacks the mental, emotional, and physical strength to fight her battles. So to a certain extent, I can understand why my grandmother does not speak up. The silence of this lamb is justifiable.
But as for the silence of Son 2 and DIL 2 (and her family), what’s their justification? What would you call their silence? Silence of the lambs or the wolves?