Dear Annie: Three years ago, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and then a brain tumor. She has had numerous surgeries and treatments.
Mom is the youngest of five siblings. The whole time she has been fighting this disease, her siblings have been unsupportive. In three years, one uncle has visited twice and called twice. Another lives less than two miles away, but has stopped by for a total of one hour. His wife and kids have neither visited nor phoned.
My aunt speaks to my mother about twice a year. She never visits. She also yells at Mom and is rude to her. She has managed to convince my 84-year-old grandmother that these arguments are my parents’ fault. Several years ago, this same aunt had cancer, and my mother was there for her all the time — like family should be.
I find it hurtful and disheartening that her siblings are so uncaring. They never offer to help, let alone offer words of comfort. Is this normal behavior? The only thing my mother has asked for is moral support from her family, and she has received none. My father, my brother and I feel only animosity toward these family members, knowing how much they have hurt our mother. I think we should forget about them and cut off contact. What do you say?
— Loving Daughter
Dear Daughter: We don’t know why your aunts and uncles haven’t been more supportive. In some families, one person often becomes a “caregiver” by virtue of his or her personality. It sounds as if your mother is that person. It means her siblings do not know how to respond appropriately in caregiving situations because they never have had to do so. Before you decide to cut them off, please let your mother decide. She may prefer to forgive them and continue the relationships, although with a more limited set of expectations.
Dear Annie: My niece was married at city hall nearly two years ago. My wife and I attended the ceremony, and afterward, we went to lunch. Two weeks later, they had a small catered reception at his grandmother’s house. My wife and I attended and gave them a card with a check. Now they want to have their wedding blessed in a church. I think that’s great, except they are having another reception, this time at a banquet hall with all the bells and whistles. Since we already gave a card and a check at the first reception, are we obligated to give another? If so, how much? I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
— Confused About the Etiquette
Dear Confused: You aren’t giving a gift in honor of a reception. You are giving a wedding gift to the couple. Since you already have done so, you are under no obligation to present them with another. However, if you feel obligated to bring something to the latest reception, it could be a small gift with sentiment attached, such as a framed photograph of the couple.
Dear Annie: I feel compelled to write to “Can’t Believe Adults Act This Way,” whose daughter is being bullied by other teachers at her school. You suggested the main bully craves power and control, thinks the daughter is a threat and could be insecure.
This is happening to me right now. I am a veteran teacher of 29 years. The principal is indeed as you described. She has wanted me gone for the past four years and has made outrageous accusations that I have had to defend with the union.
I realized, also, that this was draining my energy to teach. My advice for this first-year teacher is to look for a new job where she feels comfortable and can teach and do what she is trained for and not waste her energy on bullies. She sounds like a promising teacher who needs to be planted in fertile soil where she can flourish.
— Looking for Something Better
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. 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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