Dear Annie: I am so hurt about the way I was treated during one of the most difficult times in my life. Last week, I lost my dear brother of 59 years to a sudden heart attack. He had underlying medical conditions, but the sudden passing still hit me hard.
My fiance and I have lived together for the past four years. We have not yet married due to financial reasons, but his family, friends and children all know that we consider ourselves life partners. I thought I had a good relationship with these people, including his young adult daughters. I have them over for dinner several times a week and help pay for their college tuitions and cars. Last year, when two of his friends had weddings, I took time off of work and paid to travel out of state to attend and to take part in wedding showers for their children.
All of these people are friends with me on Facebook and see everything that is posted about our lives. When my brother died, I posted his obituary along with details about the funeral and visitation. My partner also told these people about what happened.
Annie, not a single person called, texted, sent a card or came to the visitation. They didn't even post "sorry for your loss" on my Facebook page. These are professional, well-educated people who know how to behave in social situations. When my partner lost his parents within a short time of each other, these same people were right there for him and his sisters. If any of them had lost a sibling, I would have brought food, sent flowers and called to see how I could help.
I am crushed by the total lack of acknowledgment from any of them, particularly my fiance's daughters. I feel I've been an idiot to consider them friends or family. I'm not even worth a text message to them. I told my fiance that I want nothing more to do with these phony people now that I know how they really feel about me. How should I deal with my anger and resentment? — At a Loss in Ohio
Dear Ohio: Our condolences on your loss. We agree that these people should have acknowledged your brother's passing. However, they may not have known him well (or at all) and so felt little connection to your loss. Many people, even well-educated ones, aren't sure how to react to the death of someone with whom they have only a remote third-person association. And when unsure, they do nothing.
Please tell your fiance's daughters and closest friends how hurt you were that they did not offer condolences, and express your hope that this did not mean they don't care. We think they will apologize, and for the sake of your relationship, we hope you can find a way to forgive them. We can assure you that it serves no purpose to hold a grudge.
Dear Annie: I have some advice for "Germ-Free," whose friend never washes his hands before eating. I carry hand sanitizer in my purse and pass it around the table after ordering. When they see me pull it out, most friends ask to use it. I don't even have to offer. Just be sure to use the kind that is NOT antibacterial so you don't end up with something that promotes antibiotic resistance. — Haven't Had a Cold in Years
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies. 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.