A Father's Dying Wish Made Doubly Difficult Dear Annie: My father was in prison for my entire childhood. I am now 23 and have managed to build a good relationship with him since he was released two years ago. Recently, Dad became very ill and stopped breathing. He was on life support for a …Read more. Depressed and Dependent: A Moral Quagmire Dear Annie: My father recently passed away. Dad was helping to support my 43-year-old brother, "Ben," who suffers from depression and is on disability. Ben doesn't work and spends a great deal of time in bed or buying liquor and lottery tickets. He'…Read more. Pickers, Blowers and Other People You Don't Want To Eat With Dear Annie: My husband and I meet up with a group of family and close friends every week for lunch. One couple in this group (a close family member and her spouse) constantly blow their noses during our get-togethers. They use cloth handkerchiefs, …Read more. The Last Monday in May Dear Readers: Memorial Day has become a three-day holiday of picnics and cookouts. But there is a reason for this commemoration, so please remember the servicemen and women who died serving their country. Consider visiting a veterans hospital or …Read more.more articles
Annie's Mailbox®, July 5
Dear Annie: A few months ago, my husband passed away from cancer. He was only 44 years old. We had no children and were together 19 years. He was a kind, funny, talented person, but he was also an alcoholic and suffered from depression. Ironically, the last year of his life was the best of our marriage because he was sober and focused on the two of us.
This is where it gets sticky. My husband's family members are completely dysfunctional and disconnected from each other. He wasn't close to any of them except his mother, and as a result, I never got to know them well. Though his mother is kind and sensitive, she is also an anxious, depressed person (and that's when she is on her medication). I have no attachment to her. She is divorced from my father-in-law, who is an alcoholic.
I am trying to move forward and enjoy my life again after a long struggle. I think of my husband every day, but no longer have the deep-rooted grief or prolonged sense of loss that his family still seems to have. I have no interest in maintaining a relationship with them, but they apparently need to keep in touch.
I've managed to avoid the family since the funeral, but I know a visit is inevitable. I realize they are still grieving and I am a link to their loved one, but I can't bear talking with them about my husband or dealing with their oppressive sadness. How can I tell my in-laws that their grief brings me down and I'm trying to get on with my life? How do I leave them behind? — Worried Widow
Dear Widow: You don't have to be so abrupt with your in-laws in order to see less of them. When the inevitable visit occurs, be as gracious as you can, and gently recommend grief counseling and The Compassionate Friends (compassionatefriends.org) at 877-969-0010.
Dear Annie: My 17-year-old daughter's first serious relationship involved a biracial young man. The relationship lasted about six months. At a recent family function, my nephew and brother-in-law made derogatory and racist comments about this former boyfriend, which, of course, upset my daughter a great deal.
Should I address the issue with my relatives or do what I advised my daughter at the time and chalk it up to their ignorance? I am absolutely certain this topic will come up again. I would like to maintain a relationship with my extended family, but not at the expense of my daughter or our principles. What would you advise? — Proud Mother in N.J.
Dear Mother: You don't need to go back and address the situation right now, but if it should happen again, please speak up. It is important not to give the impression that such racist, bigoted talk is acceptable, or worse, that you concur with their opinions. You don't have to be confrontational. Simply make it clear that you expect them to show more respect for you and your daughter (not to mention the rest of the human race).
Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Scarred for Life," the young woman who craned her neck to get a view of the naked man in his backyard hot tub and then was upset by the sight. It reminded me of an old story: An elderly woman called 911 to report a naked man standing in front of his window next door. When an officer arrived, he peered through the window and told her he didn't see any man. "Of course you can't!" snapped the woman. "You have to use these binoculars!" — R.H.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. 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 www.creators.com.
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