Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Up the Creek Without a Paddle

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: My wife and I are in our early 70s and have two daughters. The younger one lives nearby, is married and has a 2-year-old. The older one, "Deirdre," is divorced from a verbally and emotionally abusive husband.

We had warned Deirdre against marrying this man because they seemed incompatible, but we were supportive when she insisted she loved him. They moved 2,500 miles away, and we traveled as often as possible to see her and show that we cared. When she called at 3 a.m., crying and begging me to talk to her husband, I traveled alone to comply.

We suggested they seek counseling, which they did, but it didn't help. When Deirdre filed for divorce, we paid for her lawyer. When her ex left her high and dry, we paid for a new car so she could get to work and drive her daughter to school. We pay their airfare to come here for summers and holidays.

Annie, we are on a fixed income and it takes a lot of sacrificing to pay for all of these expenses. When we visit, my wife cooks and helps our granddaughter with her homework, while I clean house and take her to and from school. Meanwhile, she has become just as confrontational as her mother. The girl never says thank you, is not affectionate toward us and has no respect for our authority.

Recently, Deirdre became angry when our granddaughter called her at work in tears over a broken necklace. We were partly blamed for the incident and we flew back home upset and are currently not on speaking terms with Deirdre. I recently sent her a birthday card with a check, telling her that I will always love her. I don't want to sever relations, but this relationship negatively affects my wife and I wonder whether there is a better solution. -- Up the Creek Without a Paddle

Dear Creek: Yes. Let go. Deirdre is difficult and her life with an abuser didn't help. Her daughter is a combination of her parents, so you cannot expect sweetness and light from the girl. What you can do is accept them as they are. You are equating your financial sacrifices with your treatment, but it won't always match up. Do what you feel comfortable doing, but without expecting an emotional reward. Deirdre and her daughter could benefit from counseling, and you can suggest it, but again, keep your expectations in check. It will save you a lot of grief in the long run.


Dear Annie: Oct. 13 is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Metastatic breast cancer is cancer that has spread from the breast to other organs in the body, most commonly the bones, liver, lungs or brain. Unfortunately, most of us diagnosed with MBC will eventually die from the disease.

Additional research and treatment development will help a great many patients in the future. Please urge your readers to get informed. -- New York

Dear New York: Thank you for the timely reminder. Anyone who is interested in more information can contact the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network at or the National Cancer Institute at We'll be thinking of you.


Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of 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




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