Dear Annie: My brother was scheduled for open-heart surgery involving three different procedures. I hadn’t seen him for several months and wanted to visit before the operation, as I feared he might not make it through.
The day before his surgery, my wife and I were driving the two-hour trip to his home when we received a call from his wife. She said she didn’t want us coming, that she was already stressed out and didn’t want anyone else using up the time she and her children had with my brother. I told her how much it meant to me to see him, but she said, “Don’t bother coming. My children and I don’t want you here.”
My sister-in-law has always been a strong-headed woman, but this was too much. Our conversation turned into a shouting match. I was so angry and upset that I could hardly drive the car back home. I told my wife that what she did was unforgivable and I would never speak to her again.
Fortunately, my brother’s surgery was a success, and he is recovering. I will see him as soon as I can, but only when his wife is not around. I will never get over what she did. How would you handle this? – Angry in NYC
Dear Angry: Your sister-in-law may not have dealt with this very kindly, but try to see it from her perspective. She thought her husband might die and wanted his children to have every second of his remaining time. She was under a great deal of stress, and your needs didn’t come into consideration. If you prefer to avoid her for the rest of your life, that’s up to you, but we’re sure your brother would appreciate it if you could somehow forgive her.