Dear Annie: You often print letters from older parents dealing with rejection from their adult children. This is literally an epidemic everywhere. Anger and hatred are destroying families.
My husband and I have three adult children who were the delight of our lives. We had a typical loving family, with vacations, birthday parties and special celebrations that included friends and extended family. We had anxious times during illnesses, surgeries and accidents, but we made it through.
All three of our children have grown to be successful, well-liked and respected adults. Sadly, over the past 22 years, they all have chosen to shut us out of their lives. We’ve had minor disagreements at times, but never any major battles that might justify their choices. None of them will tell us why they are angry. They refuse to have any contact or open dialog that might heal our relationship. I know you’re probably thinking “there must be something.” If so, we don’t know what it is.
My husband is 81, and I am 78. We understand there is a real possibility that we will never hear from our children before we die. We do our best to focus on the great times we had and to hold onto the many precious memories of their growing-up years.
Holidays are the hardest, but with God’s help, we make it through. We have forgiven our children and will always pray for them. We will always thank God for choosing us to be their parents. — Joining the Letting Go Club
Dear Joining: Your letter is heartbreaking. When children are brought up by loving parents, we don’t know why some remain close and others do not. The same fire that melts butter will forge steel. If you have any family members who are in touch with your children, perhaps they could help you understand what is going on and even intercede on your behalf. In the meantime, you are wise to accept what you cannot change and compassionate to forgive those who have hurt you.
Dear Annie: I’m a little late sending out my Christmas cards, but I hope to have them all done before the holiday season is over.
What is the proper etiquette when writing Christmas cards to families with children over 18 still living at home? Can I send one card to them all, or do I need to send the kids their own? — Hurrying Before the New Year
Dear Hurrying: It is perfectly OK to send one holiday card to the entire family if they are all living in the same house, although it would be nice to put all of their names on the envelope.
Dear Annie: “Speaking for Another Lost Veteran” said her 55-year-old bipolar niece is hanging onto her stepfather’s ashes instead of allowing him to be buried next to his late wife in a military cemetery.
When we knew that my late husband was dying, he said he would like his ashes to be scattered on the ocean. I was heartbroken because I wanted to be buried with him. And being a Vietnam veteran, he deserved a military funeral with full honors.
When he died, the funeral director placed some of his ashes in three tiny urns, one for each of his grown children and one for me. The remainder was divided in half. One half was buried at a national cemetery with full honors, and the other half was placed in a container made for scattering ashes at sea. Our family set it afloat on the ocean that had given him so much joy through the years. In this way, I believe I satisfied everyone’s wishes, most of all, his. — Found a Loving Solution
Dear Found: Thank you for a sympathetic compromise.
Happy Kwanzaa to all of our readers.
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.