Ask Amy: I overheard this devastating story about my mom


Columnist Amy Dickinson (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)

DEAR AMY: As a child, I saw my maternal grandmother only twice, when she visited with my aunt. My uncle called once or twice a year.

Columnist Amy Dickinson (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)

I asked my mom about her absent family. She said, “Some families are just that way.” I let it go but was always curious.

At a recent away-from-home conference I attended, I was taken aback to find my (estranged) aunt on a speaker panel!

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Two women sitting at my table knew my aunt and mom from high school 50 years ago. They were “chatty” and talked about what a smart, funny, warm person my aunt is. They talked about how she sacrificed and endured such hardship to care for my grandparents and uncle in the years before they died. (They weren’t aware that I am related to the people they were discussing.)

They tsk-tsked about how sad it was that my aunt’s only remaining family (my mom) had abandoned her ill family members with rarely a look back.

They described Mom as a narcissist and told hurtful stories. I didn’t say anything, and left early, upset inside.

I don’t blame my mom for wanting the freedom to create her own life not tied to ill family members. I also now understand how hard this must have been for my relatives, and especially for my aunt, who carried the load alone.

My mother can be guarded and avoidant of conversations she doesn’t want to have. I don’t want to hurt her, but this bothers me. How can I discuss it without opening a can of worms?

Both Sides Now

DEAR BOTH SIDES: You don’t seem to have introduced yourself to your aunt — or disclosed …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

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