Dear Annie: Two of my married children have been in a feud for more than three years.
It started with comments made about one of their children and has accelerated to the point where one won’t attend a family function if the other is there. Now it is spreading to my other children, who refuse to be in the same room with feuding people. It breaks my heart. My husband and I arranged a family dinner where we suggested everyone simply forgive each other, but it didn’t work. We have written letters and talked to our children individually. We even postponed our family reunion because so many of them weren’t going to attend and I couldn’t handle it myself. I do not know what to do and would appreciate any suggestions. — Nameless
Dear Nameless: What a shame that your children cannot appreciate their sibling relationships enough to put this aside.
Unfortunately, such feuds can take on a life of their own, making reconciliation harder as time passes. Everyone loses.
Ask if any of the children would agree to seek family counselling with you. Those who are willing could benefit, and it will help you develop better coping skills. Continue to see your children individually, and occasionally remind them of the good times they had together when they were younger. Regretfully, there is only so much you can do in such a situation.
Dear Annie: A few years back, my father, “Peter,” died after a long and awful illness. Within a year of his death, my best friend decided to adopt a dog. She told me she was naming the dog after a character in one of her favourite TV shows, “Peter.”
I was surprised by her choice, especially since it’s not a common name for a pet. It apparently didn’t occur to her that it might make me uncomfortable. At the time, I didn’t say anything, fearing it would seem self-involved and overly sensitive of me.
However, when my mother heard about the dog’s name, she was quite offended. My brother was also not happy about a dog sharing a name with a beloved family member so soon after his death.
Too much time has passed for me to say anything now, but I am wondering whether we are right to be unhappy about this. Was it inappropriate for my friend to give her dog the same name as my recently deceased father? Or is this OK since she claims to be naming it after a completely different person? — Confused
Dear Confused: Did your friend address your father by his first name? If not, the connection may not have been as obvious to her as it was to you. Or you could choose to believe that she was trying to honour your dad. And of course, it’s equally possible that she is simply obtuse and insensitive. People can name their pets what they wish, and you can’t help how you feel about it.