Dear Annie: A few months ago, my daughter got into an argument with her brother.
During the course of this very heated disagreement, my daughter said she never liked his stepson because of something that happened 10 years ago.
My son’s wife overheard the remark and was very hurt.
When she came into the family, her son was very young and we all accepted him.
I asked my daughter to apologize for making such a damaging comment.
She replied that she didn’t understand what the big deal was and they should get over it.
I cannot get through to her what an awful thing she said and how much it hurt them.
Because of this, none of them are speaking to each other.
This means we can’t get the family together. It is literally making me sick.
When I ask her to apologize, my daughter accuses me of taking sides.
I told both of them they need to resolve this before it begins to fester. Is the situation hopeless? — Crying Mom
Dear Mom: Not hopeless, but it will take some effort from both of your kids to fix it.
Your daughter must apologize, and your son must forgive.
And you are right — the longer they wait, the harder it will be.
Talk to your daughter first. She may be reluctant to admit fault, so explain that whether right or wrong, it is important to say you are sorry when you hurt someone, especially a person you care about.
She doesn’t have to apologize for her opinion of his stepson (and she should keep future opinions to herself), but she absolutely needs to tell her brother that she didn’t mean to cause pain to him or his wife and she is sorry. Period.
If she agrees, speak to your son and urge him to accept his sister’s apology so they can rebuild their relationship.
It will not be easy and it may take some time, but this is a good start.
Dear Annie: My husband is 64 and I’m 59. We are independent and active and only have a few minor health issues.
We are planning to retire to a beautiful area about a four-hour drive from where we live now.
The problem is our daughter feels it is wrong for us to move away because it will be too hard for her to care for us when we get too old to care for ourselves.
We think that time is fairly far in the future, and even so, our new community includes a hospital and there are two other medical facilities nearby.
I think our daughter feels guilty because someone told her they couldn’t believe she would let us move so far away. What can we say to help her deal with this better? — Confused
Dear Confused: Your daughter isn’t thinking about hospital care. She’s worried about the day you can no longer drive to the grocery store or clean your house, and she has a point.
However, you are still young enough to enjoy many more years of independence, and there’s no reason you can’t do it where you prefer. Assure her that if it becomes too difficult to remain self-sufficient, you will consider moving closer to her.
In the meantime, please visit as often as you can.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.