Dear Annie: My husband, “Paul,” wants nothing to do with my 36-year-old son, “Alan.” I admit that Alan lived with us too long and has done some terrible things, but he’s my son and I love him. I’ve enabled him because of his health problems. He has diabetes, epilepsy and vision problems and, in the past year, has lost 80 pounds.
A few weeks ago, Alan threatened suicide and had a knife in his hand. Paul didn’t know what to do and called the police to have Alan arrested. We found out later that he was doing drugs, so Paul kicked him out and issued a restraining order keeping his stepson away from the house.
Alan was gone for several weeks, living with various friends. Despite the restraining order, he came over yesterday morning. He hadn’t eaten in days. His friends have abandoned him, and he is homeless. Paul said he “needs to learn,” but I was worried sick and was so glad to see him. But when Paul saw him eating at the kitchen table, he threatened to move out.
I thought I had found a home for Alan at the local mission, but discovered he was blackballed because of some incident years ago. Now he’s on the street with no medicine, friends or money. But, Annie, he’s my son. No one should live like this.
Paul refuses to let him come back, even conditionally. I’m not crazy about it, either, but I don’t know how to get Alan the help he needs. What can I do? — Heartbroken Mother
Dear Mother: This must be terribly painful for you, but there are limits to how much you can help a child who is on drugs and refuses to help himself. Contact Nar-Anon (nar-anon.org) at 800-477-6291 and ask for assistance. You also could call or visit the local mission and see whether they will give you a referral to another facility that might take Alan in.
Dear Annie: In June, I received an invitation to my second cousin’s high school graduation. The same day, I received an invitation to her sister’s wedding with a note saying she also had just graduated from college. Mind you, I had not heard from this side of the family in years. (My husband recently died, and I received no condolences.)
I sent a respectable amount of money to the younger sister and a lovely Catholic Bible to the bride and groom (a Catholic friend suggested this). I was quite thrilled to do this for them. But here I sit, months later, with no thank-you note, not even a preprinted acknowledgment. If the bride and groom are too busy, even a note from my cousin would diminish my disappointment.
What do you think of this? — B.W. in Florida
Dear Florida: We think this is quite rude. You can, of course, call your cousin and ask whether the gifts were received. A lost item is always a possibility. And if you don’t attend these events or know these people well, you do not have to send anything more than a card with your best wishes.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Bring Back Wedding Etiquette” about the couple who requested donations for their honeymoon. I was aghast, to put it mildly. Had I received that invitation, I think I would have made a donation to a national food bank in their name and sent a note saying, “A couples massage might last an hour. This donation in your name will feed a family for several days.” — Omaha
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.