My son's girlfriend has not had a very good relationship with her mother for most of her life. Her parents are divorced, mainly due to her mother's lifestyle. They have never been close. On the contrary, she has suffered constant criticisms, unfair treatment and been on the unreceiving end of favoritism among her siblings. My wife has been more of a mother in the past couple of years.
About a week ago, T___'s mother invited her to go out for lunch with her. It was a very cordial, even enjoyable time. During they lunch, her mother broke the news that she has spots on her lungs, very definitely cancer, and her remaining kidney has ceased functioning. The prognosis is pretty certain as to the outcome, just not any specific time. She's not looking for a kidney donor, for those who might suspect the worst, like me.
I said, "T____, do you think she is facing eternity and has decided to atone for past misdeeds, attempt to have the relationship you should have had?
T___, "Yes, I think she's sincere in trying to make amends."
Perhaps the past twenty years can never be erased, but perhaps if the next indeterminate number of months are what they should be, that will be the memory she has of her mother after she is gone.
Maybe we ought to treat everyone as if we are leaving soon....just in case.