Posted: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I have only known my biological father for 14 years. (I have no relationship with my biological mother.) Dad signed away his rights when I was young, but I reconnected with him at age 15. He claims he always wanted me, but I am now 28, and he has made no effort to be in my life.
I was recently hospitalized for two weeks. Dad never once came or called, even though he knew I was there and only lives a mile away. My foster dad, however, drove 100 miles to see me. Whenever I try to see my father, he never has time. He doesn’t bother to visit my home or my 9-year-old daughter.
I want him to love me, but I was the only one making the effort to have a relationship. This man has alienated himself from his siblings and other relatives. When his mother was terminally ill, I sat at her bedside for weeks, and he never once came to see her.
I have decided to cut all ties because I am tired of being hurt and having my every move criticized. I have gone through cancer without any emotional support from him. He ignores my daughter, his only grandchild.
My husband is big on family and is pressuring me to have a closer relationship with my biological parents. I consider my foster parents my real parents. They have loved me no matter what. I think it’s healthier to eliminate my father from my life. Am I wrong? — Abandoned Again
Dear Abandoned: There is no right or wrong here. If you want to keep your father in your life, you must scale down your expectations. He is not capable of putting forth the effort required to maintain a close relationship. Either accept him as an occasional distant relative, or avoid him altogether, but don’t let your husband make the choice for you. Do what you can handle.
Dear Annie: I am a 29-year-old woman who has suffered with epilepsy since childhood. It is a surprisingly common disorder. I deal with it fairly well through medication, but I still have a big problem. I can be “photo-induced,” meaning I can have a seizure when exposed to flashing or strobing lights.
If I am attending a live concert or play, I always ask the management whether there will be any such lighting effects and explain why. However, my biggest problems are TV and movies. Often there are strobe effects with no warning.
Epilepsy is common enough that I feel we deserve some type of warning when the lighting could cause real medical danger. This is why they changed the format of many cartoons in Japan — because children were having seizures from the strobe effects. We post warnings when TV programs contain “offensive language,” but those don’t land anyone in the hospital.
Please, Annie, help me think of ways to raise awareness and create positive change. — Seeking Stability
Dear Seeking: If you have not already contacted the Epilepsy Foundation (epilepsyfoundation.org) at 1-800-332-1000, please do so today. They advocate for those with epilepsy and their families. If they haven’t yet worked on getting management to alert theater and concert patrons about lighting, they would surely appreciate your help.
Dear Annie: I also cut up my daughters’ wedding gowns and made baptism dresses for their daughters. But I saved the bodices, intact, in case their daughters or future daughters-in-law want to use them as part of a wedding dress. — D.G.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, 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 5.4.10