How do you relate to people who practice voodoo

I Facetimed Mary this morning and I noticed a different picture behind her. When I commented on it, she said that it was in Ken and Barbie’s house. She was staying with them (invited? uninvited?) while her sister and husband were away. Ken was also in the house, I gathered, but they neither said hello.

Mary has shown up at all family sicknesses in the last decade. She and Dan built Pat’s cabin while Vicky was struggling with her final days of cancer. Mary nursed Barb (our sister) when she was battling her breast cancer in the early aughts. She shepherded me in my days of illness with Parkinson and hospitalization. Now, this. I’m surprised she didn’t go to New York and take care of people on 9-11.

I confessed to Achraf during Skype today that I don’t feel comfortable going over to Ken’s and… what? visiting? sitting awkwardly while they extol the treatment regimen that they so put their faith in and I heartily question. Diet as a cure? Elimination of sugar which causes cancer? Really? If sugar was such a cause, wouldn’t more people be critically ill?

In addition to their “Nature’s Best” treatment, they also ascribe to a charismatic evangelical faith. So too do many of my other siblings, notably Joanie, Theresa, and Mary. Kathy is a “slave to Mary” kind of Catholic. It fits with the “Fantasy industrial complex” that Andersen talked about in his book Fantasyland. We trust our feelings over facts; we cling to the notion of happy endings rather than peaceful surrender. Giving up is such a dirty concept in our society. Somehow it’s so permeated with shame and remorse that we can never accept that surrender is a viable and life-giving option.

Perhaps that’s why people in the 12 step program are so different from “normies.”

Another trait that sets my siblings apart is their paucity at expressing gratitude. I asked Mary if Dan got the book I sent him. She said, Oh yeah.” and left it at that. Ken never thanked me for a tie I gave him one Christmas. Nieces have never thanked me for gifts sent for weddings and graduations.

So, the veil has been lifted from my eyes. Yes, I’m back in the proximity of my family. No, I don’t have much in common with them. Our respected lives have diverged on separate tracks; not even parallel. I can only sit in wonder, in silence, and listen. Perhaps I can make an observation. Is that so?


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