Family not willing to help needy sibling

Dear Annie: I am a single mother of three, trying desperately to make ends meet.

Dear Annie: I am a single mother of three, trying desperately to make ends meet.

My paycheque is normally gone before I get back to work on Monday. I’ve been trying to find a part-time job to supplement my income, to no avail. Since my annual salary is right above the poverty line, I do not qualify for government assistance. What little money my ex gives me is not enough. When I ask him for more, he subtracts it from the next month’s support. Now that the holiday season is here, I’m sinking deep into depression. I have no extra money for a Christmas dinner, let alone presents.

There are several members of my family, as well as my ex’s, who are well off, but no one offers or even asks if I could use some help. These people know my situation is difficult. Many days I go without eating, and sometimes I can’t cook dinner because there’s nothing in the house to prepare. I’ve tried not to be bitter, but I can’t help wondering what I have done in my life to be scrimping and barely able to get by when I see people in the grocery with carts full of food.

I’m under a doctor’s care for depression, but my situation is really starting to get the best of me. I’ve been turned down for a raise at work. I’m not asking for handouts. What’s a mother to do when no one is willing to help? — Need a Bigger Piece of the Pie

Dear Need a Bigger Piece: Can your child support be increased through the courts? It might be possible to adjust the payments. Is there a food depository in your area for which you are eligible? Can you talk to your doctor about your medical bills or medication costs? Are your relatives aware of your financial situation? People don’t offer to help if they don’t realize help is needed or wanted. Also, you might be able to fine-tune your monthly budget with some assistance. Talk to your family.

Dear Annie: I have had it, umm, with people who, umm, cannot get a sentence out without saying “umm.”

You would think educated people would not do this, but they seem to do it just as much as those with less education. I’ve heard both celebrities and college professors using “umm” when interviewed on the national news. Any suggestions? — Against Umm

Dear Against: People tend to say “umm” as a way to process their thoughts before speaking, but it can become so habitual that they don’t realize they are doing it. In order for this to change, a person must be aware of the habit and make an effort to stop. Unfortunately, we don’t see this happening anytime soon. Sorry.

Dear Annie: I would like to add my comments to the letter from “Saddest Man in the World,” whose wife died suddenly while on vacation. He said people often say they know how he feels because they are divorced. I would first like to extend my condolences to him. I, too, recently lost my husband very suddenly. He was 49. The comments I hear all the time are, “I know how you feel. I lost my mom/dad/dog/etc.”

While I understand that people mean well, please do not tell me how you feel unless you planned to spend the rest of your life with your mom or dad. You do not go to bed with them every night, get up with them every morning, become intimate and prepare for a future together.

I, too, have lost both my parents, and while each of their deaths was difficult, my husband’s is so much different. To those who say they know how I feel, I truly hope you never do. — Thinking of You in N.D.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

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