Annie's Mailbox: Been There Done That
Dear Annie: My sister and I traveled independently to Nebraska in order to care for our mother after she was hospitalized. We were there for two months, taking turns sleeping on an air mattress by her bed. Mom finally was well enough to travel back to my home so I could care for her here.
During the time we spent in Nebraska, my sister and I went through Mom's apartment, getting rid of things and sorting through pictures and other stuff. The second night that I slept by Mom's bedside, my sister suggested I stay there and she'd sleep on the sofa. I agreed because I trusted her. My mistake.
While I was in Mom's bedroom, my sister went through Mom's stuff, put things she wanted into boxes and sealed them. When I noticed the new boxes, she said she had just rearranged things to fit better. I'm pretty sure she took several pictures that I wanted, along with a few other items. She denies this and says I don't know what I am talking about. I have no way to prove what she did, but those items have never turned up, and it's been two years.
Mom passed away recently, and now I have to see my sister at Mom's memorial service. She's going to act like nothing happened. I am so hurt by what she did. How can I not scream out what a liar she is? -- Still Angry
Dear Angry: Our condolences on your loss. A memorial service is not the best place to confront your sister, who will deny your accusations in any event. You could snub her, being polite and friendly to others but decidedly cool to her. You also could simply ask her, "When you get a chance, could you please send me copies of any photographs of Mom that you have? I miss her." And leave it at that.
Dear Annie: After 20 years overseas with the military, my husband and I are being sent home. This means his family members will be close by.
I can't stand his family. They are rude, arrogant know-it-alls. My husband assures me it will be fine, and he is excited to see these people. I say a leopard never changes its spots. These people barely tolerated me when I first met them. Please advise me what to do about this. -- Not a Spotted Leopard
Dear Leopard: It's been 20 years. Surely you have changed in that time. Why wouldn't they? You might discover that they have changed just enough that you can find common ground. These people are important to your husband. Instead of approaching this with dread, please open yourself up to the possibility that it will be better than you think. And if not, do what many others in your situation do: let your husband see them without you. But give it your best shot. Your husband will appreciate it.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Sinking Ship in Pennsylvania," whose husband neglects or yells at their 8-year-old son.
I was the oldest of five, with an alcoholic, abusive father who was in the military and spent most of his time overseas. And when he was home, he spent it either in a bar or with a local barmaid. I always knew he didn't want me. I've spent my life being treated like a second-class son to my brother and sisters then and now.
If this father also thinks no one outside of the family sees how badly he is treating his wife and child, he is out of his mind, because you cannot hide this. One of these days, "Jack" will suddenly turn on him, back him into a corner and unleash all of his anger on him, telling him how worthless he thinks he has been as a father. I know, because that's what I did. -- Been There Done That
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.