Dear Annie: My wife and I are in our late 70s and we raised four children. We lost our second son to suicide when he was 7. He suffered from major depression.
A few years ago, our daughter wrote us, saying that her eldest brother had sexually molested her when she was very young. She said we knew about it and covered it up. We knew nothing about it and were very upset. I confronted our son, now 42, and he admitted to it and was so sorry for what he did all those years ago. He also said he is not the same person he was then.
I told our daughter that her brother admitted everything and felt terrible about it and that I hope at some point, he will tell her directly how sorry he is. Since he became an adult, this son is the kindest person and has the closest relationship with us of all our children.
Last week, our youngest son and his family came to visit. It turns out that his eldest brother also had molested him when they were children. But he never appeared as devastated as his sister, and moved on.
What are we supposed to do at this stage of our lives? Do you think our eldest son could have been molested at an early age and then acted out like this on his siblings? We found out later that there was a pedophile priest in our local parish. Our son has never admitted to any molestation when he was a boy and we are afraid to ask him. Any advice? — Distraught
Dear Distraught: This is a terribly disturbing situation, but please don't hide from it. Your son has already admitted the abuse. He needs to apologize to both of his siblings and ask for forgiveness. We are glad that he has changed for the better, but that doesn't help his sister or brother come to terms with what happened. We strongly urge you to get into family counseling and work through this. All of you would benefit, including your eldest son.
Dear Annie: You recently published a letter from a woman who was complaining that her husband recently developed anxiety about traveling in a car.
This onset of anxiety, particularly in midlife or later, could be a symptom
of Parkinson's disease. If the anxiety is accompanied by terrible nightmares (including yelling, punching and kicking) and/or by constipation that seems to develop where it didn't exist before, Parkinson's could well be the reason.
I watched these symptoms develop and didn't understand why — until the twitching started in one thumb. Then a neurologist confirmed that these symptoms were, indeed, indications that Parkinson's was at work. Her husband should get to a neurologist now. — Wish We Knew
Dear Wish: Thank you for giving us the opportunity to mention some of the symptoms of Parkinson's. Parkinson's is a progressive and chronic neurological disease that interferes with the body chemicals that control movement and mood. It usually begins with mild symptoms that advance slowly, so they are often ignored.
Symptoms include tremors or shaking in any part of the body when it's at rest, changes in handwriting, loss of smell, trouble sleeping, muscle tension and rigidity, changes or difficulty in walking, constipation, a muffled voice, feeling dizzy on a regular basis and depression. If you are experiencing any of these things, even in a very mild form, please talk to your doctor about Parkinson's.
Dear Annie: This is in response to Getting It Off My Chest, whose major peeve is that family never comes to visit: If you buy the plane tickets, you will have plenty of company. — G.
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.