Comments
1 - 15 of 15 Comments Last updated Mar 1, 2013

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#1 Mar 1, 2013
DEAR ABBY: I'm convinced my father's wife killed him and I don't know where to turn. He had fought complications from quadruple bypass surgery for a few years, and had been in hospice for months prior to his death. My siblings and I didn't put all the pieces together until afterward.

Although I'm sure Dad was killed, based on facts and discussions with social workers, I'm pretty sure it was assisted suicide, which is illegal in most states, including the state where he lived. I feel cheated and angry at my father's wife for not having the guts to talk to us about his plans, and Dad for relying on her to tell us when she never had a good relationship with any of us. I'm also angry with myself for not stopping what I witnessed as it happened before my eyes. How could I have been so blind?

It has been several years now, and I still feel guilty for letting it happen, although I'm not sure how I could have stopped it. Your thoughts would be appreciated.-- ANGRY SON IN GEORGIA

DEAR ANGRY SON: I'm sorry for your pain and anger, emotions that are not uncommon when a loved one dies. But for your own sake, accept that if your father had an advance health care directive, and trusted his wife to carry it out, then she was following his wishes. While today's medical interventions can prolong someone's life, they can also prolong death.

Hospice offers grief counseling for family members for a period of time after a death occurs, and you and your siblings should have received some. It would have helped you to stop blaming the wife, and let go of any negative feelings so you could go on with your life. And that, I assure you, is what your father would have wanted.

DEAR ABBY: My sister "Mary" was in a car accident when she was in her 20s that left her with some brain damage. She appears normal, but has trouble with interpersonal relations, boundaries and impulse control. Overall, her behavior varies from acceptable to belligerent. When she was evaluated by professionals years ago, our family was advised to set standards for her behavior as near to normal as possible.

When we go to restaurants, Mary has a hard time deciding what to order, often engaging the server in an uncomfortable, long conversation about the alternatives. When her meal arrives, she is rarely satisfied with her choice and makes a scene over her dissatisfaction to the server. If we try to intervene, she becomes even more belligerent.

She looks forward to going out and we love her dearly. We would hate to exclude her from these family outings, but we don't know what to do. Can you help?-- IMPOSSIBLE TO DIGEST IN WASHINGTON STATE

DEAR IMPOSSIBLE TO DIGEST: Because you were told to "set standards" for your sister as near to normal as possible, that's what you should be doing. Before you take her out for a meal, explain to her what the ground rules are. If she acts out, do as you would with an unruly child and leave the restaurant until she regains control of herself.

Because of her impairment, she may need extra help with her menu choices. Luckily, many restaurants now post their menus online. If you print one out and go over it with Mary, you might be able to make the process of ordering easier for her. I can't promise it will work, but it's certainly worth a try.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#2 Mar 1, 2013
1- Several years later and you're still in the "anger" phase. You need to learn to come to terms with your father's death, son. He was sick, probably in pain, lived out his days on hospital beds, if it was an assisted suicide, it was his decision and you need to respect that.

2- Brain damage, eh. She probably votes democrat.
Bammy wants to raise taxes again without cutting one penny from government spending. But somehow Republicans are the bad guys. Wake up and get informed, people.

Toj

“Equality”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#3 Mar 1, 2013
L1: What kind of social workers did you speak to? Look, if your dad was dying and they made his last day come a day or two quicker, that's not a bad thing. It's not about YOU and your pain, it was about your dad and his pain. No wonder he didn't include you into his medical decisions. Good call on dad's part. Get to counselling and perhaps volunteer at a hospital. You need to see more suffering to realize there does come a point where it's time for comfort and not prolonging pain (which needs to be balanced with ethics).

L2: Good advice from Abby. Perhaps these people need a social worker or some type of therapist to guide them. It's must be a difficult balance to do your best without enabling more bad behavior. Find out what behavior she is capable of as opposed to what she's doing just to get her way is what is needed.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me!

#4 Mar 1, 2013
1 You are mis directing your anger. Your father decided to end his pain and you want to blame the wife because you cant stand to blame you father. Go to the beach one night, get drunk and scream all you frustration out to you dad. You will feel better.

2 Actually agree with amby and its a no rehash Friday!

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#5 Mar 1, 2013
LW1: Don't be angry at your dad's wife. She was just following his wishes. She is not a villain.

LW2: "She looks forward to going out and we love her dearly. We would hate to exclude her from these family outings,"

I would. Going out to a restaurant is far from the only way to express your love to her.
dahgts

Chicago, IL

#6 Mar 1, 2013
edogxxx wrote:
2- Brain damage, eh. She probably votes democrat.
Brain damage, hmmm? You must be a closet democrat.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#7 Mar 1, 2013
L1: With many hospice patients, the morphine (or other similar narcotic pain relievers) is increased to aid with pain management and to deal with anxiety, but then lung function diminishes. He was in hospiece, which means he had six months or less to live. He was DYING. And you want to blame the woman who loved him enough to help him end his pain a few days earlier?

You need therapy.

Also: YOu cite absolutely no evidence for your beliefs. So stop trashing your dad's wife to everybody.

L2: I think you should take her ot the same place every time and prepare the waitress for her beheavior.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#8 Mar 1, 2013
I hate it when I agree with Abby on both letters.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#9 Mar 1, 2013
RedheadwGlasses wrote:
L1: With many hospice patients, the morphine (or other similar narcotic pain relievers) is increased to aid with pain management and to deal with anxiety, but then lung function diminishes. He was in hospiece, which means he had six months or less to live. He was DYING. And you want to blame the woman who loved him enough to help him end his pain a few days earlier?
You need therapy.
Also: YOu cite absolutely no evidence for your beliefs. So stop trashing your dad's wife to everybody.
L2: I think you should take her ot the same place every time and prepare the waitress for her beheavior.
Dad's wife prbably inherited and LW did not.
Kuuipo

Salinas, CA

#10 Mar 1, 2013
LW1: The only way that you could have stopped it would have been by forging a better relationship with your father's wife. It does not serve you to hold on to this anger, it hurts noone but you. Please take Abby's advice and see a grief counselor.

LW2: I have a friend who does this and as far as I know, she doesn't have brain damage. But come to think of it, she was in a car accident in her 20s, too... I like Red's answer.
pde

Homer Glen, IL

#11 Mar 1, 2013
LW1: Did step mom inherit all the money and you're pissed at her as a result?

IF your dad committed suicide and IF your step mom assisted him in that (two rather big IFs given your father was already in hospice) I doubt that your dad was "depending" on your step mom to make his children aware of anything. IF it happened and IF he involved her, that was between him and her.

I more suspect that your father was on increasing amounts of some sort of opiate and slowly suffered the side effects of that pain management. That can and does happen in hospice because hospice is about offering care and comfort.

Since: Mar 09

Miami, FL

#12 Mar 1, 2013
L1: The first sentence of this letter made me picture poison and hit men. I guess that's because I have a friend who's stepmother did actually try to kill his dad by poisoning him, but that's beside the point of this letter. Anyway, sounds like the LW needs therapy to process his grief.

L2: Abby's suggestion about looking at the menu online beforehand is a good one. Ang's idea to take her to the same place every time is good too but I wonder if Mary is with it enough to realize that and get mad, or if she always asks to try new places anyway and would really notice if they never took her anywhere besides Chili's.

Since: Mar 09

Miami, FL

#13 Mar 1, 2013
*whose, not who's

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#14 Mar 1, 2013
LW1: If his health was failing, thatís what your dad wanted, and his wife complied with his wishes I think you just need to accept it.

LW2: I agree with Abby.

“FD&S is no way to be.”

Since: Feb 13

Chicago, IL

#15 Mar 1, 2013
1. If you do think it was assisted suicide, then be quiet and get over it. Was your father supposed to have called a family meeting to discuss it and put it to a vote? If your father got what he wanted, that should be good enough.

2. Ahh, I see Mutt found his tinfoil hat. Today should be fun.

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