Life Advice



Ask Amy: Grandparents’ proximity might breed contempt

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My 46-year-old daughter, “Janet” has had a difficult life. One of her children was born

with a severe illness. It was traumatic for all of us to care for this child during the years that she clung to life. Janet suffered most of all, forced to leave behind a very promising career as she stayed home to give her child round-the-clock nursing care.

My husband and I desperately fought to move the 1,000 miles to be close to them to answer their call for help, but the Great Recession made it impossible for us to sell our house. The best we could do was to make two- and three-week trips every couple of months. We worked on many projects to make their living circumstances better, and helped with their two other children.

Fast-forward 14 years. We were finally able to sell our house in order to move a few miles from them. We were shocked to find out Janet had told others she hoped we wouldn’t relocate near her. She refuses to discuss this with me.

She might worry that we would be too domineering. When she was a child, we often had to twist her arm to get her to sign up for art classes or go away to camp. Apparently, this was too much.

It is true that we have strong opinions and express them, but we have always respected the decisions Janet and her husband have made.


Although we treat them like the adults they are, apparently, they can’t help but feel like the children they used to be.

Their enduring grief complicates everything.

Meanwhile, all the wariness has spilled onto our two grandchildren, denying us closeness.

Is there anything to be done?


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