Posted: Tuesday, April 7, 2009 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My grandfather molested me when I was a child, and I have been in therapy much of my adult life as a result. My entire family has a disturbing history of sexual abuse and incest, passed along from father to son.
My youngest sister was molested by two of my brothers, “Tim” and “Jim,” when they were teenagers. She told our parents when it first occurred, but they did nothing and continue to deny our family history. She is in therapy, but her life has been one broken relationship after another.
Last summer, my sister sent letters to all the siblings disclosing what happened to her. Tim apologized, but Jim won’t talk about it. My sister refuses to directly confront him. I’m not sure Jim’s wife is aware he is an abuser. They have two grown daughters and four young granddaughters.
Our parents’ actions encouraged an environment where inappropriate behavior thrived. It seems to me they should be the ones to tell their daughter-in-law, so she can talk to her children. However, my parents haven’t demonstrated responsibility in the past and probably won’t now. Isn’t there a possibility Jim may have molested his own daughters and granddaughters? How does incest end? What can we do? — Dysfunctional in Utah
Dear Utah: There is more than a possibility that your brother has abused his daughters and granddaughters, especially since he is unrepentant about what he did to your sister. Although she should be the one to inform Jim’s wife, if she is unwilling, we hope you will speak up. You have a moral obligation to protect those children.
Dear Annie: My mom passed away about a month ago and I cannot seem to come to terms with it. I am in complete denial.
My mom and I were very close, but last year I did not seen her as often as in the past. The last time I spoke with her, she was lying on a hospital stretcher after a car accident. I told her I loved her very much, but the hospital staff wouldn’t let me stay in her room because my son and I were sick and they worried she’d catch pneumonia. Ten days later, I got a call saying she’d gone into cardiac arrest and was in a coma. We ended up pulling her life support.
Annie, I love my mom so much, I cannot accept that she is gone. I am afraid of how much it will hurt when I acknowledge it. When I was a young adult, my grandfather died and I handled it by getting drunk — for a year. I don’t drink now, but have no idea how I will respond. I keep having nightmares that I am lost and alone. What should I do? — Scared and Lonely in Manitoba, Canada
Dear Scared: The loss of a parent is difficult to deal with, especially when the circumstances are unexpected. Your reaction is not unusual, and it’s good that you have the awareness to anticipate problems. You could benefit from some grief counseling. The hospital should be able to provide this, or you can check out griefnet.org for a referral. There might also be a Motherless Daughters support group in your area, which you can find at motherlessdaug.meetup.com. Our condolences.
Dear Annie: If “Pennsylvania Innkeeper” does not consider the shampoo, conditioner and hand lotion to be items that the guests purchase each day with their room charges, then he should offer them for sale, like items in a mini-bar. Frankly, as much as hotel rooms cost, these items should be for the guests to keep whether they use them that day or donate them to a shelter.
I hope I never have the misfortune to stay in that cheapskate’s establishment. — Memphis
Dear Memphis: You weren’t the only one who felt this way. Several readers wished we had printed the name of the place so they could steer clear.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. 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.
Published in The Messenger 4.7.09