This has been a really intense Christmas, but it’s been good in ways that I’ve needed. I had a really good time with my nephew, who is just as delightful as they come. And I’ve had some good time with my parents.

It’s just a lot of togetherness and I am not that used to having this many people around and in need of constant attention. Hell, I sometimes get resentful of the dog when she’s too cuddly.

But there’s a kind of comradery that people in distressing situations can feel and I think that’s where we all are–in the same boat, humbled before the same problem. Talking to my mom, I think we’re kind of at the same place. Neither of us can figure out what can be done to help my brother. Jobs have been offered, places to stay have been offered, money is regularly offered and given (though not by me). If there’s more to be done for him, he’s going to have to figure it out and tell us.

Which is kind of a terrible spot to be in. But it just doesn’t seem like there’s any real alternative.

Which leaves us only to try to mitigate my parents’ suffering over the issue. The amount they blame themselves is overwhelming. And yet, they’re the ones who are really doing things–going to visits, trying to get the boys together, making sure there’s some kind of Christmas or birthdays for people.

It’s funny to see how guilt can function to make problems seem controllable. As if my parents just failed as parents and as if they can do everything right now and somehow fix things. I guess that’s easier to live with in some ways than “We did everything we knew to do and still, this is how things are.”

I’m just sad for them. And I feel pretty certain that that’s really about all I can do.

The Prindle/Hildreth/Phillips Triangle

Oscar Phillips married Mary Hildreth. Mary’s sister, Parnitha Hildreth, married Uriah Prindle. Uriah and Parnitha had a niece–Edith. Her daughter, Ruby Sprague married Harold Phillips, son of Barlow Phillips, son of Oscar Phillips.