• My childhood best friend, Jay, flew in from San Francisco with his husband to attend his father’s funeral in Los Angeles. Jay and I grew up together since the age of 5. His mother, whom I’d known basically my entire life, had passed away a few years prior. After the funeral, he and his husband came to stay with us for a few days in order to settle his father’s estate. To his dismay, upon the reading of the will, Jay was the only one, out of his three siblings, who was left out of the will. It even included a horrible dig, in the guise of an additional clause which read, “My dearest Jay, I have given you all that I could during your lifetime but since you chose a ‘different lifestyle’ than what we had expected for you, we have decided to allow you to continue to do things your way! Your mother and I had wanted more for you but you were adamant that you were happy with who you are. Therefore, I have decided to go along with your decision and let you remain happy ‘as you are’ and with the life that you have chosen. Of course, without any contributions from your mother or me!” Incidentally, the will had been re-drafted two weeks after his mother’s death so Jay will never know her true intentions. None the less, she was always supportive of him during her lifetime.

    Needless to say, Jay was devastated about the news. It had nothing to do with the money because he was financially stable. It was the idea that his father didn’t accept or approve of him and his current family. He tried to put on a facade when his siblings came to visit him over the next few days but I could tell that he was a wreck inside.

    He tried to put on a façade when his siblings came to visit him over the next few days but I could tell that he was a wreck inside.

    One of the most complicated ordeals that a human can endure is coming to grips with the desire to receive approval and recognition from his or her parents. Though many of us try to get over it when we don’t get it, the desire for them to be proud of us is always there in the backs of our minds. And it’s devastating when the final words that you hear are those of disapproval.

    A week or so after Jay’s dad had passed; he was scheduled to go back home. His siblings had arranged a farewell dinner at his older brother Michael’s house, who had been the executor of the estate. It turned out that while the three siblings met earler that day, they had all decided to divide the family’s estate equally amongst all four children. It was legally challenging at first, but once the estate had been divided, each child had the right to do whatever they wanted with their share of the inheritance. It was the first time I’d ever heard of siblings coming together like this after a death. Generally, you’d expect them to quarrel and become consumed by greed. But this was not the case. Though Jay never got the approval he sought from his father, it certainly made things a lot more palpable that his siblings believed in him, loved him and were proud of him unconditionally. It didn’t make everything right but definicely helped with the healing process and forgiving his father. Although we know that mistakes, adversity and injustices will occur in everyone’s life, they only remain a problem when allowed to perpetuate and are not corrected immediately!