Last Sunday afternoon, just as I sat down to dine with three dear friends in a restaurant across town, I got a text from my brother-in-law saying his and my husband's sister had just died. I rushed home, thinking to comfort my husband, but he had gone into his cave, watching the ballgame silently in between fielding calls and texts from family members. His sister had been ailing for some time with lung cancer, which had lately spread to the frontal lobe of her brain. Her death was expected, but no less devastating, especially as this sister and our family had for years been estranged, due to, of all the empty reasons, a continuing stalemate over the terms of her parents' will. We had managed a warmer communication toward the end, but it is a thin comfort when I remember all the years before, when our families were close, when the cousins played and laughed, when my mother in law was still alive to be the glue. Families are hard. This death is hard. My husband is emotionally submerged, my son was philosophical, my daughter wept. "You're taking it the hardest of us all," I said. "No," she replied, my wise child. "I am just the one with the most access to my emotions." At least our sister is at peace now, and I like to think, understands that love never went missing, not for a moment, even though speech was, for so many wasted years, withdrawn. And now she is gone, and the earthly things that drove a bitter wedge into the heart of a family can never truly be healed, at least not in this life. They say there is no point in regretting what can never be changed, and yet I do.