He got Mad When I told Him that his conclusions might be wrong!

Several months ago, I had a conversation with a friend and his brother that serves as a great reminder how drawing conclusions based upon facts from past events that can be totally wrong.  The decisions that we make and sometimes call intuition and /or logic are only made through a narrow lens that we look through with no awareness to other possibilities/options.

I was visiting a friend and his brother, and enjoying a homemade tasty a chicken stir fry, rice, and salad dinner.   There was plenty of food, and we all eat heartedly in the dining room before retreating to the living room to continue talking for the next two hours.

We discussed relatives who face the loss of a family member and poor choices that are made afterward the death of a loved one.   My friend told a story about an aunt passed away, leaving her daughter emotionally broken and unable to seek employment.

The three of us discussed how to prepare for the passing of a loved one, and how to have conversations with people who are dying.  We all agreed that many people seldom prepare themselves for losing loved ones.  We often lack tools for having conversations with others, including dying people.  We discussed ways to prepare for living without someone who was important and is no longer alive.

My friends were reminiscing about their parents who had died.  My friend shared a twelve-year-old story about a telephone call his father received from a woman who was searching for her father and suspected that his father might also be hers.’  His father talked with this woman for a few minutes.   His father told her that he knew her mother but had never dated her and could not her father.  He did know men who dated her, and he gave her their names.  The woman thanked him for his candor and conversation and gave him her telephone number and address.  (I did not learn why she left her contact information.)

My friend’s father told his two sons and his wife about the conversation.   (My friend’s mother wasn’t so sure that her husband had not father the woman who called but did not pursue the issue.)   Nothing more was ever said about the woman who called.

A few years later, my friend’s father passed away.  My friend sent a letter to the woman who called his father years ago to inform her of his father’s passing.  He provided the woman with his and his brother’s contact information.  The woman never contacted either one of them.   

Now, as the brothers shared the story, it had been many years since the telephone call and their father’s passing. Neither one expected a phone call.  My friend’s brother explained why they had not heard from the woman.  He was convinced that the woman had called hoping to get money from his father.  He was not even convinced that the woman really believed that his father was also his father.  She may have been trying to scam him.

I had lots of questions and ideas about what might have happened.  Perhaps the woman had too many issues in her personal life to reach out again.  Maybe she found her father and had no need to call again.  Perhaps she was uncomfortable reaching out.  I could think of more reasons and told my friend’s brother that there could be more to the story than he had considered.  His eyes darted back and forth.  He moved one of his legs a little and began to move his body in the chair was sitting.  He looked angry but only said “I don’t think so.”

The truth was only the woman who called many years ago knew.  This was a good reminder of what happens when we try to understand and explain a situation without knowing and having all the pertinent information.  Sometimes there are no consequence and   sometimes the consequences from guessing can be significant.

Maybe we need to accept that there are times when we just don’t know and not rush to fill in the information gaps.

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