Dear Annie: Our daughter, “Mattie,” is 42 years old. She has been married for 10 years and has two school-age children. Due to her husband’s work transfers, Mattie twice was left alone with the children for several months while she tried to sell the house and her husband moved to the new location.
The first time it happened, things worked out OK, but the second time, Mattie started drinking quite heavily. We didn’t find out until she had seizures, lost a lot of weight and ended up in the hospital close to death with severe liver damage. She pulled out of it, but now we worry that she might be in the same situation. We visited her over the holidays and suspect she has started drinking again. She also seems very depressed.
Her husband doesn’t seem to recognize the problem. As parents, do we get involved? If so, do we confront Mattie or talk to her husband?
— Terrified for Our Daughter
Dear Terrified: Please don’t be afraid to speak to Mattie if you think she is drinking again. It is a serious matter, both physically and emotionally, and needs to be addressed. You also should speak to her husband. He may be doing more than you realize, or he may be in denial or completely oblivious. Contact Al-Anon (al-anon.alateen.org) for assistance and suggestions.
Dear Annie: When my mother was dying of cancer, she chose to die at home and not at my “pious” sister’s house. My sister resented this and made only brief visits during Mom’s final days. The day the hospice nurse said Mom would probably die within hours, my sister stopped by and then left for a week’s planned vacation. We postponed the funeral until she returned, and she showed up to the visitation in a souvenir T-shirt.
After the funeral, Sis, as executor, didn’t want my brother or me to go through Mom’s possessions. Instead, she had an auction, and we had to bid on closed boxes. Many of the things we know belonged to Mom did not show up, and somehow, my sister’s name got on the deed to the family farm.
There has been no accounting of the income from the auction, and when we asked, Sis became angry. The final straw was that my mother wrote a personal letter to me but did not get around to mailing it. Sis found it, made copies and passed it out to everyone but me. I would like the original, but Sis says, “Finders, keepers.”
Sis now wants us to get together and pretend there are no problems. This is putting my “Christian attitude” to the test. Should I turn a very bruised cheek and pretend all is well for the sake of family unity?
— Confused in Missouri
Dear Missouri: Your sister certainly has been less than forthcoming, and the business with the personal letter is rather nasty. Did your mother have an attorney? If so, there should be an accounting of where the money went and what your sister was entitled to as executor. But you may need to sue in order to get the information, so decide what it’s worth to you. It is likely to cause a permanent estrangement, and you still may not get what you are hoping for: your sister’s remorse and an apology. Our condolences.
Dear Annie: “Want To Do the Right Thing” wants to celebrate his parents’ 50th anniversary but can’t afford the restaurant and wants guests to pay for their own meals.
We all want things we cannot afford. Most parents would not enjoy knowing their children are depriving themselves for a big party. Instead, arrange for a nice family photo that would be treasured. Then take your parents out to a lovely lunch or dinner.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to email@example.com, 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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