Holidays seem to bring up a lot of feelings about our relationships, especially our relationships with members of our family.  Joys, losses and unresolved conflicts all float into our minds. It seems like this is definitely happening for you.  It is surprisingly common for family members to become estranged from each other for any number of reasons. Some of these ruptures last days or weeks, others can last for months or even years.

It sounds like you are at a point in your life where your relationship with your sister is more important than “being right” about a conflict that happened a long time ago. I encourage you to act on your desire to build that bridge, but it is important to keep a few things in mind. First and perhaps most obvious: just because you are ready to mend the relationship doesn’t mean she is also ready.

You can extend the olive branch in several ways. You could send a card or message affirming your past positive relationship and your desire to have her in your life again. It is often helpful to offer a genuine apology for your part in a hurtful situation or you can  simply open the door to a new relationship with your sister by sharing some aspect of your life with her and inviting her to do the same. This is the part you have control over. You don’t, however, have any control over what her response will be.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you are doing this out of love and to make things right. This action frees you from feelings of guilt or the pain of your part in an unresolved conflict. Unfortunately, she may or may not be in a place to accept your gesture of reconciliation.  If you choose to take this risk, be sure that you are ready to accept the outcome, no matter what it may be. She may be eager to re-embrace your relationship, she may reject your invitation to connect, or she may simply not be ready to respond and do nothing. Feel good about yourself for making the effort. In the best of worlds, she will appreciate your effort and respond in kind—if not now, perhaps later.