Life Advice



Ask Amy: An ‘update’ takes the advice to task

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Readers: Periodically, I publish “updates” to previous questions and answers published in this space. The following was published in 2018. The update follows the original Q&A.

Dear Amy: I grew up with two siblings — a brother and a sister. My brother, his wife and three children lived near our parents. My family and I (wife, two children) lived some distance away. We maintained contact through holiday cards and drop-by visits. Everything was cordial, if not particularly close. In hindsight, all direct interaction with my folks was always at our initiation.

Sadly, my brother passed away quite suddenly a few years ago. He was still a relatively young man. My SIL still maintained infrequent, cordial contact surrounding major events (kids’ graduating, my father’s passing), but that’s about it.

About a year ago my SIL married an old flame from college. She moved to his town, some distance away. We lost all contact. It was not just us — she and her children essentially “ghosted” their paternal grandparents, which was a source of great pain for my late father.

Strangely, last week I learned that my SIL and her daughter (same age as one of my children) had relocated again, six months ago. They are now living within 10 minutes’ drive from my house. I guess the previous relocation and marriage didn’t work out.

I am trying very hard to empathize with her: Perhaps they just suffered another in a series of terrible situations. But then, why pretend that my family and I don’t exist? Why not make any effort?


My wife is furious and is considering not giving any more graduation/wedding gifts to the nieces/nephew from this part of the “family.”

Your advice?

— Ghosted Uncle

Dear Uncle: I’m wondering why you are ghosting your nieces/nephew. Their father died suddenly. They were relocated to a faraway town for a marriage that turned out to be very short term. Then they moved again.


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