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Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar


Held Hostage by Insecurity Dear Annie: Twelve years ago, my son moved his girlfriend into our home. "Lena" lived with us for four years, and we treated her like family. They broke up, and Lena moved out. She then married someone else and now has an adorable 6-year-old …Read more. Instituting the Payback Plan Dear Annie: I have helped my wife's daughter and family financially many times over the past 15 years. Eighteen months ago, I loaned them $600, and they promised they would pay me back. (My previous loans were gifts.) The daughter's husband has a …Read more. Navigating the Plus-One Dear Annie: How much can I ask my host about etiquette for her overseas wedding? I live in Canada. The bride is French. I met her when she was briefly living in my hometown. She went back to France two years ago, and now she's getting married there. …Read more. Youth Service Dear Annie: Young people are ready, willing and able to tackle the world's most difficult challenges, and yet are vastly underrepresented as active citizens, decision-makers and problem solvers. We know that young people are uniquely suited to help …Read more.
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Missing Grandma, Dissing Mom


Dear Annie: My children's grandmother passed away a few weeks ago after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Her children decided to have a service in the northeast where her husband is buried and where they all grew up. None of them lives anywhere near that area. I live 1,200 miles away.

I was very close to that family for 13 years before my husband and I divorced. I stayed in contact with his sister for a while by phone and visited and kept in touch with his mother even after I remarried. I hadn't talked to her in the last two years because they removed her phone.

My younger daughter is upset with me because I didn't attend the services. We haven't spoken in two weeks. She feels I should have been there. Believe me, Annie, had I been in driving distance, I surely would have gone. I actually checked into plane tickets, hotel and car rental, and the total for four days would have cost me more than I can afford right now. I didn't want to tell my daughter how tight my finances are. I also couldn't take two days off of work.

My children all went to the services, along with their father, and they stayed with an uncle. I was heartbroken when my ex-mother-in-law died. But I am no longer a part of that family like my girls are. They are a wonderful group of people, but it all seemed too much for me. Was I wrong? — Heartbroken

Dear Heartbroken: No. Your children had their father and other relatives to comfort them. We think your daughter is grieving and taking it out on you. Call her and apologize for not being able to attend the service, and tell her why.

If she still refuses to talk to you, please enlist the help of your other children and, if possible, your ex-husband to intercede on your behalf. And if she seems mired in grief, suggest she look into grief counseling services, often available through her doctor or the local hospital or hospice.

Dear Annie: This is in response to "The Oldest Sibling," whose brother inherited Dad's military medals and won't hand them down.

My father-in-law served during WWII, and all of his military awards have been lost over the years. We recently came across his discharge papers, which list all of his awards and decorations. An Internet search uncovered the National Archives Veterans Service Records ( where one can request the issue of replacement medals. Because records for many who served were destroyed by fire, it is best to provide them any records one might possess so they can be verified.

"The Oldest Sibling" may even find that the replacement medals will be a more inclusive set than what her brother has. — Iowa

Dear Iowa: Thank you so much for providing this information to our readers. We know that replacements are not as emotionally satisfying as medals that Dad actually handled, but they still are something tangible to have as mementos.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



9 Comments | Post Comment
LW1 - "Dear Annie, my daughter thinks I should have done something that I wasn't able to do. I had good reasons for not doing it, but I refuse to tell her what they are. Now she is mad at me because she doesn't understand my reasons. What should I do? " The Annies' response: "Tell her your reasons" Duh. I guess advice columnists exist for the sake of people like LW1 who can't seem to imagine doing the most obvious solution to their problem.
Comment: #1
Posted by: kai archie
Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:09 PM

LW2 refers to the first letter on 19 March 2015.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Miss Pasko
Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:19 PM
LW1 -
If you want your daughter to understand why you didn't go to ther service and not think it was because you were indifferent, you're going to have to walk on your false pride and tell her why. There is nothing wrong with not being able to afford a plane ticket and hotel accommodations for four days, nor with not being able to take time off work. Why is this a problem?

Comment: #3
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:53 PM
Re: kai archie
Well, this is in the same category as all the others who need professional counselling, but say counselling is out of the question, what should I do? Or the ones who have someone around them doing sometrhing highly annoying, but who want the problem to be fixed without having to tell them of it. Same song, second verse. Yawn.

Comment: #4
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:56 PM
LW1: Annies, you had me, then you lost me. Yes, the LW should offer her condolences and explain why she couldn't go. She could even leave out the part about her finances if she wants to; having to go to work is reason enough. But "enlist the help of your other children and, if possible, your ex-husband to intercede on your behalf"? No, her daughter is a grown woman who's creating drama, and her mother shouldn't enable her.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Baldrz
Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:37 PM
LW1: What everyone has already said:
"I didn't want to tell my daughter how tight my finances are."
So you'd prefer that she go on thinking you're just a b*tch who could have easily afforded it? I'm lost.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Steve C
Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:59 PM
LW 1: Explain to your daughter exactly why you were unable to attend the funeral. All of your reasons are valid ones. My guess is that she is angry because she thinks that you didn't go because you didn't want to attend rather than the truth that you were unable to attend for all the reasons you mentioned.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Isis M
Fri Apr 17, 2015 11:25 PM
L2 prompted me to do a little research. I knew a veteran could get a replacement set of medals, and can understand the widow(er), receiving one, but if the veteran had 10 kids could they each get their own set? Yup. And so can the veteran's parents and brothers and sisters. And they can all do so while the veteran is still alive!
Comment: #8
Posted by: Girl Scout Leader
Sat Apr 18, 2015 4:19 AM
LW1--You couldn't afford to attend your ex-mother-in-law's funeral and that's that. Just tell your daughter what you told the Annies and be done with it.

LW2--Can't people use the Internet these days?
Comment: #9
Posted by: Chris
Sat Apr 18, 2015 5:24 AM
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