Dear Annie: I am a 36-year-old man. I was in an accident 25 years ago and suffered a mild traumatic brain injury. It was tough growing up. When I was 23, I moved out on my own. This is when the real trouble began. First, I started drinking, and then I abused my medication. In 2002, I wrecked my car while driving intoxicated. The judge told me to go to a brain injury rehab and get my life back in order. I started my first one six months later. I am in my fourth one right now.
My parents became my legal guardians without discussing it with me. After the accident, I received money from a settlement and was assured by the attorney that no one could touch it without my approval. Yet my parents have gone through that money without any input from me. They used it to get their house ready to sell and promised to reimburse me. They sold the place a year ago, and now they have the nerve to say that I gave them the money as a “gift.” I did no such thing. What now?
Dear J.D.: You need to talk to a lawyer. Your parents undoubtedly requested guardianship in order to protect you at a time when you were going through some difficulties. And it’s also possible they expended a great deal of money on your care and rehab and felt that taking the settlement money was somehow justified. The judge who issued the guardianship can be asked to remove it. But in order to get the money back from your parents, you might have to sue them.
Dear Annie: I recently lost my wife after many years together. It was an amazing marriage, and I miss her immensely.
I am looking to find a companion. The problem is, my daughter is not in my corner on this issue. How can I reason with her that it’s my life and dating or even marrying again is not being disrespectful to my late wife’s memory?
— Lonely Widower
Dear Widower: How long ago is “recently”? While your dating life is not your daughter’s business, we can understand her concern if your wife died less than six months ago. She may worry that you will rush into an inappropriate or abusive relationship out of loneliness, so please be cautious. Regardless, this is your decision. Please talk to your daughter and assure her that no one will take her mother’s place in your heart, but you miss the companionship and warmth that another person can provide. Explain that it is unfair of her to expect you to remain alone for the rest of your life, and you hope she will someday be happy for you if you find love again.
Dear Annie: After reading the letter from “Broken” about her husband’s affair with his father’s hospice nurse, my hair is on fire!
I am a licensed clinical social worker by profession and have been CEO of a large regional hospice for 27 years. In hospice, both the patient and family are one unit of care. Professional boundaries are important. This work is emotional and intimate by its nature. But sexual or personal relationships are never appropriate. Patients and families are in a vulnerable position. The supervision of that nurse and her ethical standards are absolutely unacceptable.
”Broken” should ask for the administrator of that hospice program and make a formal complaint. If she does not get a response or resolution, she should make a complaint to the agency in her state that licenses and regulates hospice providers. She would be doing others a favor by not allowing this kind of behavior to continue. Any hospice that allows such a situation to continue unchecked should not be able to care for patients and their families.
— I Am Appalled
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