Dear Annie: My recently widowed 74-year-old mother is now dating. She met "Paul" less than a year ago and is already talking about marrying him. Paul has been married several times, hasn't held a steady job in more than 30 years and lives with his 97-year-old mother.
Mom is naive, lonely and desperate. She has already spent close to $10,000 on this man since she met him. Everyone in my family sees Paul for the con man he is, but I am the only one who strongly vocalizes my feelings. Family functions are now very awkward, and I have stopped attending all events where Paul is present.
Needless to say, my relationship with my mother is strained. I am worried that she is going to be bankrupt, both financially and emotionally. I don't want to alienate her, but I cannot pretend that I am OK with her marrying this lowlife. What can I do? — California
Dear California: Very little. Please stop fighting with Mom about Paul. The more you attack him the more she will defend him. Instead, tell her you love her and want to be sure she is protected financially. Say that you understand how much she cares for Paul, and that you will stop objecting to the marriage if she will first go with you to speak to a lawyer. She also should get a prenup. And if she does these things, please keep your word and accept Paul to the best of your ability. We hope things turn out better than you believe they will.
Dear Annie: I am a retired book mender and library worker. I sometimes see a happy reader thanking you for reprinting a favorite article. Often they say it is yellowed with age.
Please tell them to do themselves a favor and immediately copy any interesting newspaper articles on a copy machine. They will last so much longer, and the paper is sturdier than newspaper. (Love your column.) — Bobbie
Dear Bobbie: It's true that a newspaper clipping will eventually yellow and crumble. Copying an article or storing it online will help it last longer. And these days, many people have access to printer/scanners in their home, so it should be easier. (Thanks.)
Dear Annie: I wrote to you a year ago and signed my letter, Finally at Peace. I said three of my five children had cut me out of their lives. The two daughters who were still close to me waited patiently until I stopped spending my time grieving over the kids who weren't in my life and started paying attention to the wonderful children who were. I learned I could still be happy.
After reading several replies in your column and speaking with friends and family, my oldest daughter helped me draft a letter to the estranged children. She helped me see that I had many flaws and needed to apologize to them, take baby steps to heal and keep my yap zipped, regardless of how hard it might be.
I received a call from one estranged daughter. She told me how much she appreciated my letter and that she was thinking about calling me anyway to apologize for four years of not speaking. Our conversation was awkward at first, but we spoke for an hour and told each other sincerely how sorry we both were. I was invited to visit and meet the children. I have since been back many times. One of the other estranged children now permits me to talk, text and email with her children. Only my son has yet to budge.
One of the previously estranged grandchildren was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Although I struggle with the fact that I have lost so much time, I am grateful that I was able to do the Light the Night Walk for Leukemia and have a prayer quilt made for her. My granddaughter is a fighter. — Florida
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.