Posted: Friday, July 23, 2010 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: When my widowed father required constant care, I tried repeatedly and without success to have him moved to my home, but was rejected by my siblings, as well as by my father, who wanted to stay in his home. I live quite a distance away and was unable to share in his care, although I did visit periodically. The burden fell to my brother and sister, who hired a wonderful person to help.
I have had strained relations with my siblings for many years. When Dad died, my brother had him cremated before I could say goodbye. My family was purposely left out of the memorial service, and my siblings blocked my attempts to speak at the eulogy. I was devastated and appalled.
I am successful, well-liked and respected in my community, and I’ve been married for 30 years to a wonderful woman. Both my sister and my brother have endeavored to discredit me within the family. Although the horrible lies they told were not believed by close relatives, doubts still linger with those who don’t know me well. The way my siblings have treated me makes me terribly angry, but they don’t think they’ve done anything wrong. In fact, they expect me to apologize to them. I tried this tactic once before and do not wish to be made a fool of again.
I have come to realize that I must either make all the effort to maintain any semblance of a relationship or remove them from my memories forever. Do you think reconciliation is possible? — Needing Closure
Dear Needing: Anything is possible, but it will take all of you to achieve it. Ask your siblings whether they would be willing to go with you for professional counseling so you can work on improving your relationship. It is truly the best way for each of you to air your differences under the guidance of an impartial observer, and is worth making the trip to their city or arranging it via phone or online therapy. If they refuse, we hope you will get counseling for yourself in order to make peace with the situation. Our condolences.
Dear Annie: My husband has a problem with constant flatulence. He passes gas every 15 minutes, and it drives me crazy. Our two teenage daughters run out of the room.
I have asked him to see a doctor because I fear there might be something medically wrong, but he refuses, saying it’s a natural bodily function. Please help. We can’t stand to be around him. — Indy
Dear Indy: According to the Mayo Clinic, it is normal to pass gas between 10 and 20 times a day. People who are lactose or gluten intolerant or eat a diet rich in fiber are more likely to have gas problems. Check to see if it’s worse after your husband eats specific foods. You also can try over-the-counter remedies such as Beano, lactase supplements, medications like Gas-X and activated charcoal. If there is pain in the abdomen, however, it’s time to call the doctor. That could indicate diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease or a partial bowel obstruction.
Dear Annie: I disagree with your advice to “Loving Cousin in Philly,” whose relatives were conceived using donor sperm. It’s too bad others know about it, but if the parents wanted their children to have this information, they would have told them directly.
My husband and I used donor sperm to conceive our son. Our psychologist told us that keeping this information to ourselves was fine. She stressed that if we wanted to tell our child, we should make that part of his story from the beginning, not spring it on him later in life.
That cousin should mind his own business. There is no way to get that genetic information anyway. Sperm banks will not release donor data. — Idaho
Dear Idaho: Actually, some sperm banks will indeed release donor information regarding medical history, and we think everyone is entitled to that much.
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, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 West Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.
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Published in The Messenger 7.23.10