One of the things I realise I dread most deeply would be a family estrangement. I am fortunate not to be facing this in my family, but I know someone who is estranged from her son and her grandsons and it seems to me to be a tragedy. I feel so much for people facing life with a rift in their family. I've hesitated to write this post - is it my business? I am not facing the pain others are facing. But I have seen an article based on a book and research about estrangement, which really impressed me and am writing here some of what the article said and hope it might be meaningful and helpful even to one person. It says some estrangements should stay that way - for instance if someone has escaped from an abusive relationship. But the book quotes what several people have said, when they decided to take the brave step towards reconciliation. First, lay the groundwork - understand why you want to reconcile. Talking to a consellor might help. Second, be ready to look at the part you played in the estrangement; its painful but too easy to believe it was all about the other person or people. Third, let go the idea that the other person will accept your view and that they may well not be ready to apologise.
Many people who had reconciled after long estrangements recommended letting sleeping dogs lie. Start from the present. In most cases people found that even limited contact had its benefits and over and over again people said "Its a weight off my shoulders"
Many said it was the hardest thing they'd ever done but no one regretted it. Even failed reconciliation attempts had a healing effect. At least they'd given it a try and people had more peace of mind. The book is called "Fault Lines: Fractured Families and How to Mend Them" by Dr Karl Pillemer.