Dear Amy: My sister-in-law recently passed away from Alzheimer’s disease and her celebration of life is coming up.
I am an older man. When I was young, I had to reside with her and my brother for the summer. My mother was institutionalized due to mental illness; my father had abandoned the family.
When I lived with them both, I was 15 years old.
My brother’s house was small. I slept in the small living room on the couch.
My brother was an alcoholic and went to bed early every night. My sister-in-law (then 25) stayed up late and talked to me.
She was very lonely and disappointed that my brother was still emotionally missing for her.
We grew close and eventually a sexual relationship developed.
I went to a military school to escape home because I was afraid my brother would find out.
Now there is going to be a celebration of life for her and I, along with many others, have been invited to share stories about her life.
I decided to tell the truth at the ceremony about what happened to me, but my wife is totally against it.
She refuses to come with me, saying that telling her now would cause major turmoil among the remaining family and no one would believe me or talk to me ever again.
What should I do?
Dear Torn: I can tell by your story how trapped you were in this situation, and my heart breaks that you were exploited in this way. Your late sister-in-law’s actions amount to the sexual exploitation of a minor who had nowhere to turn and no one to protect him.
If you want to tell your story, you have to tell it. However, disclosing this publicly at a funeral is not the place to say it.
Understand that this story will probably completely blind everyone else present. They won’t know how to react, and — usually, when people don’t know how to react, they don’t react particularly well.
Unfortunately, your wife might be right about how your family members will take this. I wish she was more supportive of your need to deal with this honestly and openly.
It would be wiser for you to seek advice before confronting this problem with your family members.
It is estimated that one in six men have experienced what the ‘1in6’ organization defines as ‘unwanted sexual experiences’. Their website is informative, helpful and supportive. Check out 1in6.org to learn more.
Dear Amy: My neighbors and I have girls who go to the outdoor pool for their swim team three times a week.
My wife and I are the only people who drive the girls to their activities.
It has been like this for months.
We asked the other relatives (our neighbours) to help us with the pick up, but they refused, saying it interfered with their evening routines, such as making dinner.
Yesterday I had to work late and asked if they could carpool one time but they said they were busy making dinner and couldn’t pick up the girls.
I also cook dinner for my daughters, but I always find time to drive the girls to their activities.
How can I answer this?
— Swimming parent
Dear parent: It might be tempting to just leave the neighbors daughter at home or at the pool one day in order to try and teach them all a lesson, but then you would be punishing the daughter for having thoughtless and unhelpful parents.
I think you should see this through to a terminus – either a holiday break or the end of the season. And then find another family nearby who will carpool to the pool.
If neighbors approach you with questions about driving, tell them, “I’m looking for someone to share the driving with me. Let me know what days you are ready to do this.
Dear Amy: I just read “Been There”, about letting go of your pet.
In a few hours, a veterinarian comes to our house to put down our 14-year-old Boston Terrier. There aren’t enough words in the English language to say how much I love this dog, but she has reached the end of her natural lifespan; It’s time. Freeing them when they are no longer enjoying their lives is the only loving and humane choice, however difficult it may be.
– Let go
Dear letting go: RIP to a very good friend.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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