Dear Amy: My husband died about four years ago. He died very suddenly two days before his 50th birthday from a very aggressive form of blood cancer. It was a shock to everyone, and very tragic.
At that time, my older sister and my mom were in Korea, my younger brother in Hong Kong and my younger sister was local but pregnant. No one came to be with me.
A couple months after his death, we had a memorial service. It was beautiful. However, none of my immediate family attended. I had accepted this, because of the distance — and my local sister’s pregnancy.
Now, however, I can’t understand why they couldn’t have sent at least one person to be there for me. My mom visits from Korea to help my younger sister with her children. Why couldn’t she come for me?
Shouldn’t they have been there for me without me asking for it?
My children are doing well. My older son (age 25) has been loving and supportive toward his 11-year-old sister. My husband’s side of the family has been supportive, and I have a wonderful relationship with my mother-in-law. We are financially fine. I am happy with my part-time work.
However, after almost four years, these feelings toward my family have started to surface and I don’t know how to deal with it. — Resentful
Dear Resentful: Your husband’s family is loving and supportive. Their warmth might have triggered questions for you about your own family.
It might help you to release your feelings if you express yourself to your family members. You can say to your mother, “Mom, I want you to know that I wish you had come to be with me during the toughest time of my life. I miss you and I needed you.” She may offer up an excuse, or she may say, “Oh, you’re right, and I’m so sorry.”
I’m not sure why a pregnancy would keep your local sister away from you during this tragic period, or why no family members could come to be with you for a memorial service that was planned well in advance. Some people have no conception of how vital their presence is, until you tell them. Learning that you needed and wanted them might clarify their role in your life.
Your feelings are valid. You should express yourself. What you shouldn’t do is attach any particular expectation to how they might react, or necessarily expect them to behave differently.
Dear Amy: I am a college sophomore. I recently ended a friendship with a girl I used to be close to. We have many mutual friends.
After having a realization that she hadn’t been treating me well for the entirety of our relationship, “Mary” and I had a long discussion that I hoped would settle our differences, but instead it turned into a heated discussion that left me in tears for days. She said I was the worst person she had ever met and vowed to talk about me behind my back to our friends so that they would realize how worthless I am.
I wrote a long letter (six pages typed) to Mary detailing how terrible her words made me feel and reiterated the problems that I had with her behavior. I feel that I need some sort of closure with her.
Thankfully, our mutual friends haven’t abandoned me. I know that I should leave well enough alone and not send this letter, but I am still hurt and angry.
I really want to send this letter. What do you think? — Hurt
Dear Hurt: Don’t give fuel to a bully. Understand that “Mary” could take your heartfelt letter, show it to people, post it on social media, distort it and then use it to bully you. Don’t send it.
There is a saying: “Living well is the best revenge.” You will get “closure” by being strong, kind, reliable and basically being the best version of you. Seal this letter in an envelope and put it in your desk.
Dear Amy: “Trying to be Kind” was trying to figure out how to financially help her cleaning lady, who would be short of cash when any emergency arose. Thank you for suggesting that Trying should budget a dollar amount per year toward this assistance. Many people are hurting, and a little bit can go a long way. — Been There
Dear Been There: “Trying” was already being kind, and all I did was to encourage her to continue.