Life Advice



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

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Were you ever a teenager? (I’m guessing at the ages of these kids.) Would you have initiated contact with your aunt and uncle if there had been sporadic contact in the years after a parent’s death — and then no contact for at least a year?

Your sister-in-law might be depressed, embarrassed, overwhelmed, introverted, or — just doesn’t like you very much. She has done a poor job of staying connected to her children’s relatives.

What’s your excuse?

You should reach out through whatever means you have. Express enthusiasm that they are so close, and offer to lend a hand/get together.

Your wife’s idea to punish these children by not celebrating their milestones is unkind. I hope you’ll both choose to behave differently in order to demonstrate to your nieces and nephew how to be in a family.

UPDATE: I wrote to you as “Ghosted Uncle,” regarding how my late brother's wife and children had cut off contact with my family.


Things are largely unchanged. After your advice basically chastising me, I did try for a time. My efforts were never reciprocated or apparently appreciated.

In the past year I have returned two wedding invitations and a graduation announcement, as I really don't want anything to do with them at this point.

At times I have been told by other family members that my former sister-in-law and her children have had a lot of personal issues; in recent years I have asked that they not share any of these statements with me.

So, not much is new. I will say that I would have appreciated you showing me a fraction of the empathy you extended to my former sister-in-law.


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