DEAR ANNIE: My husband died 11 years ago. Our son, “Marcus,” was 6 at the time. His dad was in intensive care for two months, and because of his young age, our son was not allowed to see his father.
Before he died, my husband asked his younger brother to keep his drum set until Marcus turned 18. Marcus’ uncles used to call him every year on his birthday, which also is his father’s birthday. But since my husband died, neither has called to wish their nephew a happy birthday.
Marcus will be 18 soon. He is into music and wants the drums. I have asked his uncle on several occasions by sending a message on Facebook. I also asked my son’s half-brother (from my husband’s first marriage) to get the drums, and Marcus would pick them up from his house. Nothing has happened.
I recently noticed a picture on Facebook of a guy who used to play in a band with my late husband. In the photo, he is playing drums that look suspiciously like the ones that belong to my son.
Marcus has nothing of his father’s. He was not included in any decisions on what to sell or what to keep, or even asked what he’d like to have. He was also given his dad’s El Camino, but my husband put the title in the name of Marcus’ half-brother, who sold it. He didn’t even give my son any of the money from the sale. That was bad enough, but Marcus only really cares about the drums.
The entire family knows that my late husband wanted Marcus to have the drums. What should I do? File a lawsuit? How do I honor my late husband’s wishes and give my son this final gift from his dad? — Distraught Mom of a Musician
DEAR MOM: Is anything in writing? If not, you might need to file a lawsuit, but in order to prove your case, you probably will need other credible witnesses to testify that your husband’s wish was for Marcus to have the drum set. An attorney will let you know if you have a case.
But a lawsuit should be a last resort. Please stop asking for personal things on Facebook. Pick up the phone. Call the uncle who supposedly has the drum set. Be nice. Tell him what a wonderful birthday present it would be for Marcus to finally have this memento from his father. Ask when would be convenient to pick it up and what you can do to facilitate the transfer.
Marcus also can call his uncle. These relationships work both ways, and Marcus is old enough now to establish his own contact. And if he is close to his half-brother or another paternal relative, perhaps you or Marcus could get the relative to intercede on his behalf.
DEAR ANNIE: “Holding My Breath” said she can’t kiss her husband because of his halitosis. I had bad breath for 10 years. I brushed, used mouthwash and saw the dentist regularly. I also had frequent problems with my digestive tract. Finally, after having an endoscopy and a colonoscopy, my gallbladder was found to be functioning at 17 percent. It was removed, and my bad breath and constant low-level nausea went away immediately. — Alabama Maggie
DEAR MAGGIE: Thanks for writing. Readers, please don’t assume these things are unimportant. They can indicate serious medical problems.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column.