Dear Annie: I’ve known my 26-year-old stepdaughter, “Monica,” since she was 5.
She never spent much time with her father, but when the first grandchild was born, she came by more often because she wanted a babysitter.
Her dad and I were together 21 years before he passed away six months ago.
Now when I hear from Monica, all she wants to do is rehash everything that happened at the end of her father’s life.
She harangues me about difficult choices I had to make, even though my husband and I discussed those things in advance.
I still have two children at home and work full time, and I am trying to deal with my own grief. Monica’s attitude makes it hard to stay in contact.
I know she is grieving, too, but I think she feels guilty for not spending more time with her dad before it was too late. She hurt him a great deal over the years.
I’m sure Monica is angry that I haven’t called lately, but I just can’t deal with her.
I do love her and our grandchild, but am I wrong to want some distance right now?
— Still Grieving
Dear Still: We understand that you want to avoid being assaulted by Monica.
But. please know that these things can take on a life of their own, and the relationship may not recover — even when you are ready.
Because you love her and the grandchild, we recommend instead that you maintain minimal contact (as much as you can handle at a time) and urge Monica to get grief counseling. You might even offer to go with her.