Dear Annie: Last year, my son married a girl we adore. He and his new wife live in the same town. But ever since the wedding, he barely speaks to us. It’s as if he started his new life and forgot about his old one.
He’ll respond when I call or text, but he never initiates contact. He treats his siblings the same way, which makes me sad. The only way we see him is when I invite them over for dinner. We got along fine when he lived at home, so I don’t understand how he has seemingly forgotten us. I don’t know how to address this with him without coming across as rude. – Lonely Mom
Dear Mom: You are making this an emotional crisis, and it doesn’t have to be. Your son still loves and cares about you. Let us explain: When your son lived at home, you saw him every day, and contact didn’t require any effort from him. Now that he lives away, it doesn’t occur to him to call or text, because he never had to think about it before. He is conditioned to let someone else do the work.
Here’s how you fix it: Let him know you miss him and would love it if he’d remember to call or text once or twice a week. But understand that you’ll still have to do most of the work. Then make friends with his wife. Call her. Text her. Ask her to go shopping with you or meet you for lunch. But also be sure to give them their space. While they are both part of your family, they are first and foremost a unit unto themselves.
Dear Annie: I read with interest the letter from “My Heart Is Breaking,” whose father-in-law wanted to have a second memorial service for his late wife, even though they already had one when she died two years ago.
My mother passed away two years ago and was cremated. We only recently put her ashes where she wished because we wanted the whole family to be there, and many of them lived far away or had other commitments.
We had a wonderful time remembering the good times. It’s never too late to commemorate your parents. Mine are always in my heart. – A Grateful Daughter