I distanced myself from my dad and brothers some years back in the interest of self-preservation. I think doing so allowed me and them to do a lot of growing and contemplate just exactly what it was that we expected of one another. Two years ago, my step brother Frank contacted me and told me that dad wasn't doing well and that I should think about coming down and mending fences. We talked a long time on that call, and Frank and I realized that our brotherly bond hadn't weakened despite not having spoken in nearly eight years. Since that day, Frank and I talk regularly and have visited one another several times.
While my relationship with my dad continues to be one of slow, cautious progress, it feels like Frank and I never missed a step. Jen loves him dearly, and he's one of the few people I know who has absolutely no problem with being himself at all times and in all places. Suffice it to say that he puts on no airs. As different as we are and as divergent as our lives have been, there's a connection between us that can't be broken; talking to Frank immediately grounds me and brings me home.