Posted: Monday, September 26, 2011 8:03 pm
Dear Annie: Ten months ago, I was in the hospital and was not expected to live. Fortunately, I recovered. Unfortunately, I had given power of attorney to my children.
My oldest daughter had my mail forwarded to her and took over the finances. All the children cleaned out my house, taking what they or their children wanted and selling what was left without telling me what happened to it. They sold my house at auction for less than we paid for it 25 years ago. I said it was a lousy time to be selling, but they wanted to get rid of the house before winter.
I was in no condition to take care of things for a couple of months, so I am now in an assisted-living facility with my clothes and very few possessions. Anytime I want money from my savings, I have to ask my daughter. She only gives me the mail she thinks I should get. I am dependent on friends to take me places.
I finally wrote to my favorite magazine publishers, asking them to send the magazines directly to the assisted-living facility. Now my daughter is upset, saying I’m unappreciative of all they did for me. I thanked them each time they came to visit or did anything special. Evidently, that is not enough.
I know I am better off than some of the people here. One woman was released from the hospital and didn’t even have any clothes because her son had gotten rid of everything. Now what? — Unhappy 80-Year-Old Woman
Dear Unhappy: When loved ones are frightened, they often do surprisingly unkind things in an attempt to be protective. In your case, however, it is interfering with your independence and creating resentment on all sides. Does your assisted-living facility have an ombudsman or social worker on staff? Talk to someone there, and perhaps ask for a mediation session with your children to see if you can work through this.
Dear Annie: My teenage son’s girlfriend often picks him up for dates since she drives and he doesn’t. When she pulls into the driveway, she sits in the car and honks the horn for him to come out.
My son told her that we regard this as rude, and that she should get out of the car and come to the door. Instead of showing respect by complying, she took a poll of her co-workers, and apparently, the majority feel it is perfectly OK to honk the horn this way.
Am I hopelessly old-fashioned, or is this now considered acceptable behavior? — Honking Mad
Dear Mad: This is still not acceptable behavior. It’s OK to honk if you are the carpool driver, but not for a date. What does your teenage son think of a girlfriend who is so disrespectful that she would justify behaving in a manner that his parents find objectionable? It does not speak well of her.
Dear Annie: This is for “Trapped in Vermont,” the 45-year-old woman with an alcoholic husband who refuses to get sober.
I could have written that letter. My husband insisted he didn’t have a drinking problem because he didn’t drink in front of me. He also said that everything wrong in our marriage was my fault. I am now 70, and my divorce will be final soon. When I finally realized that I might live 20 more years and didn’t want to spend it with a drunk, I decided to get out. How I wish I had done it at 45.
Please tell her that it is never too late to start a new life. — Not Trapped Anymore
Dear Readers: Today is Family Day (casafamilyday.org). Studies show that children who eat dinner with their parents have a reduced risk of substance abuse. Please try to make meals a family event.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. 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 9.26.11