Posted: Friday, July 13, 2012 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My parents divorced acrimoniously when my siblings and I were young. My brother, “Tim,” was a difficult child and was arrested when he was 11. The local law officials offered the option of handing custody to my father as an option to avoid a sentence to juvenile hall. Once my father had custody, my sister and I had very little contact with either of them.
My sister and I occasionally have tried to reconcile with Tim for our mother’s sake, but we have been unsuccessful. Our mother is 70 and now wants to put her legal affairs in order.
After our father’s death, my sister and I were cut out of Dad’s will. After the death of our paternal grandmother, Tim was found to be the sole heir to her estate. It surprised the other relatives because the change in her will happened only a short time before her death. My mother’s will and other legal documents show she intends her estate to be divided equally between my sister and myself, with Tim receiving a small token amount. My mother also asks that my brother not be notified of her death until six months have passed and preferably not until the estate is settled. Mom doesn’t want him to show up, loot the house, put on a show of grief for the community and then disappear.
My mother has worked hard, unsupported by anyone, to earn every single thing she has, and I want to honor her wishes. But my sister says Tim should be allowed to attend Mom’s funeral. We haven’t been in contact for four years. I am willing to go along with the funeral part, but refuse to allow him in her house. What do you think? — Funerals Are for the Living
Dear Funerals: There are legitimate reasons why your mother does not want Tim in her house, and you should honor those wishes. Having him at the funeral is something you should discuss with her. If the possibility of him displaying some artificial show of grief won’t bother you or your sister, your mother might reconsider notifying him in a more timely manner. But the final decision actually is the responsibility of those who plan the funeral, because they must live with the consequences.
Dear Annie: I have been in an on-again-off-again relationship with “Dexter” for two years. I was still married when we got together, but was divorced six months ago. My ex lives in another state. Dex was engaged once before for five years, but called it off.
The problem is, when Dex and I talk about our future, he gets distant, although he has said he sees us getting married down the road. I asked him to move in with me, and he did, but now I’m starting to wonder whether he would rather the relationship continue as it is. Is it wrong for me to want him to man up or move on? — Confused
Dear Confused: If you want marriage, you’ll have to make it clear to Dex and set a date. If he backs away, you will know where he stands — and it isn’t beside you in front of a minister.
Dear Annie: “Surprised Husband” has been married for 45 years, and for the past 10, he’s been upset because friends told him unpleasant things about his wife before he married her, and she refuses to discuss it.
What his wife did before he knew her is none of his business. Every person in this world makes mistakes. I’d tell him to go out and get a life. Volunteer, go to church, get a part-time job, and put the past behind you. Life is too short.
I have been married for 45 years to my dear husband. Not once did either of us question the other’s past. If I were this man’s wife, I would get out of this marriage and find happiness elsewhere. — Appalled at His Behavior
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, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. 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 7.13.12