Annie's Mailbox: England Friend
Dear Annie: My 22-year-old boyfriend recently told me that he was raped by a man when he was between 9 and 10 years old. He will not tell me the molester's name. This was a shock, and I feel very sorry for him. He tried to tell his mum, but she dismissed it and told him she didn't believe him, so he did not tell anyone else.
As a rape victim myself (about a year ago), I understand his emotions. He says he feels dirty and that sometimes he's wanted to commit suicide, but he has pushed the thought to the back of his head. He also commented that he thought something was wrong with him, because when he thinks about what happened, his stomach goes round and round and he feels sick. And he is sick a lot.
I just want him to get over this awful ordeal and wonder if you could help. -- England Friend
Dear England: Your boyfriend needs professional counseling so he can come to terms with what happened to him and deal with it, which he apparently has not yet done. Since you also are a rape victim, this advice applies to you as well. Please check out the Rape Crisis Centres at rapecrisis.org.uk. Even though it is primarily for women, the site will provide information and direct you to other abuse sites. In the United States, we recommend the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network at rainn.org, which you also might want to look into.
Dear Annie: I am an 81-year-old grandpa and great-grandpa. My wife and I have large parties for all of our grandkids and great-grandchildren. We include our son, "Tony," and our new daughter-in-law, as well as our son's first wife, "Jean."
My son has been complaining about us inviting Jean. He says he will not come to future parties if she is going to be there. We like Jean, and since she is the mother of our grandchildren, we think she should be there to enjoy them.
Tony and Jean divorced six years ago. Isn't that enough time to bury the hatchet? What do you advise us to do? We would really like to keep everybody happy. -- Grandpa
Dear Grandpa: You aren't going to keep everybody happy, so decide whose happiness counts most. On a fairness scale, you are entitled to invite whomever you wish to your own parties, and yes, it's too bad Tony isn't more accommodating. However, if inviting Jean means excluding Tony, you might want to rethink that policy. Consider inviting Jean and the grandchildren to dinner instead.
Dear Annie: I would like to offer a possible solution to "Wailing Widow," whose in-laws were upset because she chose to have her late husband cremated instead of letting the in-laws bury him in their home state. She was going to split the ashes with the in-laws, but thought it would be too confusing for her young children to have "Daddy" in two different places.
Before my husband passed away, we talked about cremation. We came up with the idea of having his ashes put in various types of containers and presenting them to family members. The children were allowed to choose which container they wanted. Our son, who was 8 at the time, kept his container beside a picture of his dad. It brought him a lot of comfort.
One of the containers was a candy tin, one was a metal peanut shell, another a small silent butler, and one was a tin shaped like a house. If presented to children in the proper way, it should hardly traumatize them more than the death itself, which is devastating. It also solves the problem of relatives who want their loved one buried in two different places. It may not work for everyone, but it worked for us. -- G.L.
Dear G.L.: Thanks for the interesting and useful suggestion. We're happy to pass the word along in case someone needs it.
"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. 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.