Dear Abby: My daughter-in-law, Brooke, lost her grandfather five weeks ago. She decided not to tell her 4- and 10-year-olds about it. She ordered my husband, me and our son not to mention it. Children see Grandma at least once a week, and she also doesn’t have to tell them.
I didn’t know what the kids weren’t told, and started saying something at the family dinner. A 10-year-old child heard me and I fell silent. I am angry at the whole situation. Brooke refuses to tell them “until she’s ready,” and I couldn’t help but agree. I understand her grief. I lost my grandparents and parents. Services will not be available for several weeks. I understand that she cannot yet cope with the loss, but denying the truth to her children only delays the process of her grief and also does not give them time to grieve and process.
Now Brooke is mad, screaming and crying about it. I try to back off, but I am angry that her needs come first and when I was told I made a terrible mistake by offering the love and care I thought I needed. How can I fix an imaginary mistake I made? – THE PROBLEM IN VERMON
Dear annoyed: If you didn’t know that your DIL was trying to protect your children from the reality of their great-grandfather’s death, when you spoke, you didn’t do anything wrong. However, you had to apologize to her privately. Step back and lie low before the funeral. Your DIL is not her now. She needs time to cool down and regain some perspective. It would be interesting to know how your son relates to the way she relates to this. If lucky, he can smooth things over.
Dear Abby: If my husband leaves town for a business trip or vacation, or if I’m out for some period of time, we suddenly fall in love again! We miss each other like crazy, and send love texts and exchange modest phone calls as if we were still young.
When he is at home and we live with work, children, bills and responsibilities, we are separated and distant. We interact more as partners and friends than romantic lovers. We have been married for 21 years, and it has always been so. Absence really makes our hearts grow stronger, or can we tolerate each other only if not together? – CONFUSED IN Texas
Dear embarrassed: Absence does not always make the heart stronger and does not necessarily kill the wedge between a couple whose marriage has a solid foundation. The fact that when you are with your husband, you feel the need for a romantic relationship that brought you together, tells me that your marriage is strong despite the responsibilities in your daily life. Have you ever considered having a chance to meet together, away from distracting children? If you haven’t, I bet you’ll both enjoy it.
Written by “Dear Abby” by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or mailbox 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.