Dear Annie: I remarried two years ago and am very happy with my new husband. I have several children from my first marriage, ranging in age from 17 to 27. I also have five young grandchildren.
After our first year of marriage, my new husband got a job offer in another state. As hard as it was to leave my kids, I eagerly started our new life. I was able to drive the distance to visit my children and grandchildren every few weeks and stay several days.
Recently, I was diagnosed with a serious illness, and the doctors say I will likely live another five years or so at best. I can no longer drive. My kids want me to move back to my home state so my grandchildren will know their grandma.
My husband is not currently employed, but he still refuses to move back. He has three children here, and although he financially supported them until they were 18, they have never been close.
If I don’t have much time left, I want to spend as much of it as I can with my children and grandchildren. But that feels as if I am betraying my husband, whom I love dearly. Both sides are pulling at my heart, and I’m not sure what to do.
Dear Torn: When your husband asked you to relocate, you did so without question. Now that you need him to do the same, he is unwilling. If you cannot make him see how unfair this is, you should look for ways to compromise. Can you take a train, bus or plane to visit your children and stay for a month or more? Would your husband drive you for shorter, more frequent visits, or deposit you with your children and come back in six weeks? Can the children and grandchildren come to you? Find a way to make the best of this, or your resentment will eat away at your marriage at the time when you can least afford the stress. We’ll be thinking of you.
Dear Annie: I just received an e-mail from my daughter-in-law — the one who doesn’t talk to me on the phone because I don’t attend her church. She told me her son (from a previous marriage) is getting married in six weeks in a different state. She said there isn’t time to send out invitations and wanted to know as soon as possible if we plan to attend.
I have never heard of a person doing this. It takes only a couple of days to mail out invitations. We rarely hear from her son. He never calls and has never answered my e-mails. I really don’t want to go because we are seniors and it would be a costly trip, even if we drove the nine hours each way. How should we respond?
— Bewildered Granny
Dear Bewildered: Does your son want you to attend his stepson’s wedding? If so, please try to make the effort. But if it’s too expensive or exhausting, we’re certain the bride and groom will be properly assuaged if you send them a nice gift instead.
Dear Annie: Thank you for the levelheaded advice to “Concerned Aunt,” whose niece told her she craves the taste of blood. I think you should have taken it a step further. As an ex-cutter, I know that in many instances, the taste and taking of blood go hand-in-hand. Cutters need help before it gets out of hand.
In the state hospital I was in, there was a habitual cutter. His arms, neck, face and hands were all scarred. I hesitate to think what may happen to this poor 15-year-old who can’t talk about this with her mother. Cutting is often a stress reducer for those with a tremendous need for affection and attention. I hope her mother will help her find what she is looking for.
Dear Ex: Many readers suggested this girl may be cutting herself. We hope she will confide in her caring aunt about it.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.