Posted: Thursday, July 17, 2008 7:01 pm
Dear Annie: My father-in-law has lung cancer, and for over six months I took him to all his doctor appointments and treatments. Then he called me, saying he no longer needed my help, that he had someone else to do the driving and run the errands. I found out later he was mad at my husband over some incident that had nothing to do with me.
I have had no contact with him since. I don’t feel I should be punished for something I didn’t do. Last week, his youngest daughter called me, informing me that my father-in-law now thinks I hate him, so he hates me, too. She asked that I make amends since his cancer has gotten worse and his days seem numbered.
What am I supposed to apologize for? I might add that my father-in-law is extremely immature and often acts like a spoiled brat if he doesn’t get his way. I used to cook for my in-laws until my mother-in-law negatively critiqued my cooking one time too many. I no longer waste my time. I have an extremely weak relationship with my husband’s siblings. Any suggestions would be helpful, as I have lost total respect for these people. — C.
Dear C.: It sounds like you and your in-laws are a good match. You each take offense easily and hold grudges. You don’t have to apologize to your father-in-law in order to “make amends.” You simply need to forgive him. You may not have many more chances to do this, so please find a way to let go of the unpleasantness not only for his sake, but for yours and your husband’s. Pick up the phone. Ask how he’s feeling. Say nothing about your disappointment or his attitude. You’ll feel better.
Dear Annie: June would have been my 50th anniversary, but my wonderful husband passed away in February. We had been working on a special Christmas card when he became too ill to continue. We were going to send everyone on our list a combined picture of us in our wedding attire and us now. We had so much fun finding the right photos and making copies, and needless to say, my heart is broken that we did not make it.
I have been sending thank-you cards to some of our friends who were so kind to me during this awful time, and I’ve been including the picture that we intended to use in the Christmas card. My daughters-in-law think I should not be doing that. They say I should send out the Christmas card as originally planned, but, Annie, I just don’t think I can do that. In fact, I don’t know that I’ll be able to send out any Christmas cards at all.
Are my daughters-in-law right? Should I stop sending the picture with the thank-you cards? I still have friends to write. — Heartbroken
Dear Heartbroken: Please continue to send the picture. Your friends will cherish the memento, and sending it obviously brings you some comfort. If, when Christmas comes around, you would like to send the picture to those who don’t yet have it, by all means do so, but you should not feel pressured. By anyone.
Dear Annie: I can relate to “Totally Lost,” who is losing interest in his wife because she’s gained a great deal of weight. After having three children and gaining more than 100 pounds during those pregnancies, a thyroid test showed that my metabolism was in the dirt. After getting on medication, my chronic depression disappeared, I was no longer tired, and I was eager to do something about my weight. As soon as “Worried” takes his wife to the doctor for a full checkup, he needs to give himself a swift kick in the rear for being such a jerk and start being supportive of the woman who has given him the greatest gift he’ll ever receive: his children. — Erin in Washington State
Dear Erin: Thank you for putting things in perspective.
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 7.17.08