Siblings have been providing dramatic stories ever since Cain killed Abel. Shakespeare’s tragedies are rife with bloody conflicts between brothers. Women don’t get off Scot (or British) free either. Think of the Biblical hostility between Rachel and Leah when they had to share a husband! So our fascination with sibling conflicts is nothing new. What’s more modern is that it’s front-page news on both sides of what the British quaintly call the “pond.”

I’m referring, of course, to the current duo of royal princes, William and Harry. Multitudes tuned into the funeral of Prince Phillip, curious about how the brothers would – or would not – interact. TV focused greedily on the contrasting scenes. They’re walking separately! They’re together, talking!

At this point we don’t know what the third act will be. Happy, if shaky, ending? Permanent estrangement? I don’t have a favorite in this contest, although I think it must be difficult to be the “spare” when older brother is the heir. But does the future king envy the free-wheeling spirt of his less encumbered brother? And is there anyone among us who hasn’t known that who’s–getting-the-bigger-slice-of-the-pie rivalry

Truth Time: I have a personal reason for writing about this scenario. One year ago I lost my only sibling.

Through the years my sister and I ran the gamut of love and hate. Pride in one another alternated with competitiveness. In later years, both of us widowed, we recovered the closeness we had been careless with. To quote a wise woman I once interviewed, “You learn to maximize what you share and let the rest go.”

My sister was lively, intelligent, generous. She could also be petty, angry, unhearing. Or am I describing both of us?

I have long believed that as much as therapists harp on the trauma of what our parents did, sibling relationships are equally crucial. The fortunate among  us discover that although the bond may become frayed, it’s unbreakable.As the royal brothers may realize, it’s also a gift.

BOOKS: COME AND GO – available through;WIDOW’S WALK –; TURNING TOWARD TOMORROW –, TEN WOMEN OF VALOR and ROLE PLAY- available through and; also Amazon Kindle.


Like so much else these days, Zoom and similar tools are a mixed blessing. On one hand, they allow us to be in visual touch with relatives and friends who would become strangers otherwise. On the down side, seeing people we love on a computer screen is far from the same as being with them physically.

I’m writing this on a day when that difference is painfully present. I’ve just “zoomed” with my children. It was lovely to see their faces, but frustrating because, as another mother wept to me, “We can’t hug them.”

I confess that after the visit was over and my home silent again, I sank way down. All I could think was, how long will it be until I see them for real? How different will we each become before we meet again?

In a way, this parallels our mixed Pandemic view. Out of hopelessness, hope at last. Yet there’s still pervasive fear because the “light ” at the end of this long tunnel is threatened by the invasion of variants. Most of us are emotionally knocking on wood.

The challenge is to allow ourselves fleeting gifts of joy. To feel pleasure without obsessing about what tomorrow might bring.

It isn’t solely the connections with people we love that’s difficult. Our careers are, too. Too often I detour into anxiety: impossible to promote my new book when author tours are a relic of the past and book stores aren’t scheduling in-person readings. Then, as if I put on different glasses, I see the possible. Authors are doing readings virtually. Researching book clubs that welcome these visits is more productive than biting my nails.

Years ago when I was worrying about some problem that was down the road, my sister gave me seven-word advice: ”Don’t be there ‘til you get there.

Easier said than done? Yes. But focusing on whatever blessings we have now can make the difference between fully living each day – or losing irreplaceable time.

We can also plan something to look forward to when the screen goes dark. Isn’t that a metaphor for survival?

BOOKS: COME and GO – available through, WIDOW’S WALK –; TURNING TOWARD TOMORROW –, TEN WOMEN OF VALOR and ROLE PLAY- available through; also Amazon Kindle.