Need advice on how to help brother write in apology letter to our Mom

Hi All,
My brother and our Mom had a falling out last summer, and since then, she will not speak to him, nor let him come to visit us from Florida. My brother is unmarried and is 56 years old. Mom is 83; she has had two strokes, so has good days and bad days as far as mental capacity. Where my brother is concerned, however, she is adamant and stubborn. He has sent her a card with an apology and she did not respond.

Now, he has asked me for help in writing her a letter of apology. I am stumped. The rest of the family, especially all of his nieces, miss him and want to see him. We cannot afford to travel to see him. Our opportunities were always when he visited our parents. He can’t afford to travel on his own, so he would visit when my parents invited him. My dad wants to see him also, but my mother is immovable on this point.

Any suggestions on how to help my brother write this letter would be MUCH appreciated, as well as your prayers!

Thank you!

I’m sorry about your situation. I’m not sure a letter of apology would really succeed where a card did not. If he writes such a letter, I would suggest that he keep it very short and to the point: I’m sorry, I love you, I would like to visit you and Dad. Your mom might not be able to comprehend anything more complicated than that. Please also understand that sometimes when people have strokes and related conditions, it can make them act towards their family members in ways they wouldn’t act if they had not had the stroke or the circulatory issues. Both of my parents had strokes and circulatory issues and I am intimately familiar with this.

If Mom still refuses to let your brother visit, and your dad doesn’t feel he can overrule Mom on that point, I’d suggest that either you and your family pool their money and see if you can bring him up to visit the rest of you (other than Mom and not involving her home) for a few days, or else just keep in touch via video chat until such time as either brother or you can afford to travel and get together.


Thank you for your valuable advice, Tis. I knew this forum would bear fruit! I wanted advice that would be knowledgeable and kind. Thanks again. xoxoxo


Make the effort to help him reunite with your Mom because life is too short and no one wants to have regrets.

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Yes, I agree. We almost lost my brother in tragic accident a few years ago, so he also has brain injuries and is no longer able to work. My mom is 83 and her health is deteriorating. I think it would be AWFUL for everyone (including Mom) if she passed before they reconciled.

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I say get them together in whatever way possible and PRAY.

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Tell him to call her. And when she says no pressure her. And then she will agree to speak with him and then pray to Archangel Gabriel protector of families while they talk.

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It would help to know what the issue is. I would talk to each and get their side of the story. Then without taking sides see if you can see a pathway to reconciliation. Pray. If you can bring them together you will fell very good. I don’T think a letter will do but it might help once you understand what is at the root of the problem.

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Take up a family collection and bring him up for a visit. He can stay with other family members.

I wouldn’t waste time on a letter. He already sent a card. You can’t force another person into forgiveness. He shouldn’t be excluded from visiting the rest of the family.

You can tell Mom he is in the local area and would like to see her, if she is interested. If not, fine, too. Make his visit special.


Another idea. It is near impossible to continue to ignore someone who shows love. Have your brother send a love note everyday. Maybe a rose once in a while. The ice will melt!

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My mother-in-law is in her 80s and has had some mini strokes too. She was a very capable woman who was a nurse and raised her family, lived in another part of the world for a while. Now, how her daughter describes her is ‘there is no reasoning with her’. There’s a fight to cut her hair, cut her toenails, etc. Her answer to many things is No and I don’t want to.

If your mom does not reconcile with your brother, that’s ok. Don’t feel you have to push it. Hopefully he can have a visit with family and see your mum. Know she’s not herself and have some peace that they had years of love and friendship. With Jesus in heaven there are no strokes, no brokeness, no agitation. Those years at the doorstep though can be tough on the family. Do what you can and put the rest in God’s hands. He knows.


I have had a similar experience. Two years ago at Christmas I blew up at my aunt (90 years). Seriously blew up - like I let out all the anger I felt about her. I repented and sent her a card, no response. I asked another family member to tell her I was sorry, the family member said he could not tell me what she said to that, so it was bad. Then I plucked up my courage and went to see her in summer - she would not speak to me, then my family member remained behind to spend some time with her, and later he told me that she had said “God might forgive - I can’t.” She knew I was religious (though of course I let down my religion badly) and she long left the Catholic faith and is an atheist as far as I know. I feel bad about this still.

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Well, he already made an attempt, and she rejected it, so writing a letter may just be another act of futility.

Two things:

  1. Is it possible your mother has alzheimers or dementia?
  2. Along the lines of QwertyGirl’s comments, why does your brother need your mother’s permission to visit you? He also can visit your dad separately without your mother around.

You haven’t met some of the people I’ve met in life!


Unfortunately you cannot force somebody to love/forgive. As other people said already, strokes may have even changed the personality of your mom. You can try to send her a letter but there are no magic words to fix stubbornness and hurt. I would say help your brother find his way to express his feelings to your mom, keep in touch with him and your mom, let him visit the rest of the family, pray for all involved but please please please don’t obsess over it. If your brother heart is in the right place and your mom still refuses to forgive, let it be. Time will tell.


OK, I just reread the part about her having had two strokes. Depending on the severity of the stroke, it might be possible that the stroke damaged her brain, so her unwillingness to meet with your brother may be a result of that. If that is the case, nothing may make a difference, so since this is an illness issue, I would not push the letter; I would also use this as an opportunity to practice patience with her and sadly realize that the stroke robbed me of my mother. That may help eased some of the pain. However, I would still have the brother up for a visit, just keep him away from your mom.


Thank you for sharing. That is exactly what happened with my brother and my Mom. I will pray for you and your family!

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My mother has symptoms of dementia, related to her strokes. I know that plays a part in the story line.
Why the whole family seems bound to her permission for my brother to visit is beyond me. I have reached out to him and asked him if he would be willing to come up and stay in a hotel, and that we would help pay for it. So we’ll see!

And I will for yours Bec. It is a horrible situation to be in and I wish it had never happened, as I suppose your brother wishes. We would like to turn back the clock and say nothing, just keep our feelings to ourselves! I can be a bit reactive but then I am sorry and want to make amends. But if the other person doesn’t care it is difficult. God bless you and your brother.

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