DEAR ANNIE: My children’s grandmother passed away a few weeks ago after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. Her children decided to have a service in the northeast where her husband is buried and where they all grew up. None of them lives anywhere near that area. I live 1,200 miles away.
I was very close to that family for 13 years before my husband and I divorced. I stayed in contact with his sister for a while by phone and visited and kept in touch with his mother even after I remarried. I hadn’t talked to her in the last two years because they removed her phone.
My younger daughter is upset with me because I didn’t attend the services. We haven’t spoken in two weeks. She feels I should have been there. Believe me, Annie, had I been in driving distance, I surely would have gone. I actually checked into plane tickets, hotel and car rental, and the total for four days would have cost me more than I can afford right now. I didn’t want to tell my daughter how tight my finances are. I also couldn’t take two days off of work.
My children all went to the services, along with their father, and they stayed with an uncle. I was heartbroken when my ex-mother-in-law died. But I am no longer a part of that family like my girls are. They are a wonderful group of people, but it all seemed too much for me. Was I wrong? — Heartbroken
DEAR HEARTBROKEN: No. Your children had their father and other relatives to comfort them. We think your daughter is grieving and taking it out on you. Call her and apologize for not being able to attend the service, and tell her why. If she still refuses to talk to you, please enlist the help of your other children and, if possible, your ex-husband to intercede on your behalf. And if she seems mired in grief, suggest she look into grief counseling services, often available through her doctor or the local hospital or hospice.
DEAR ANNIE: This is in response to “The Oldest Sibling,” whose brother inherited Dad’s military medals and won’t hand them down.
My father-in-law served during WWII, and all of his military awards have been lost over the years. We recently came across his discharge papers, which list all of his awards and decorations. An Internet search uncovered the National Archives Veterans Service Records (archives.gov/veterans/replace-medals.html) where one can request the issue of replacement medals. Because records for many who served were destroyed by fire, it is best to provide them any records one might possess so they can be verified.
‘‘The Oldest Sibling” may even find that the replacement medals will be a more inclusive set than what her brother has. — Iowa
DEAR IOWA: Thank you so much for providing this information to our readers. We know that replacements are not as emotionally satisfying as medals that Dad actually handled, but they still are something tangible to have as mementos.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column.