Dear Annie: I am 75. Two years ago, my oldest son, age 53, died suddenly from a massive heart attack. He was single and worked hard to amass a very large estate, which he left to me. The plan once his estate closed was to use some of the money to move to another state, pay cash for a house, get a couple of dependable cars, keep the remainder invested and, if necessary, use it to supplement our Social Security for the rest of our lives or for emergencies. Whatever is left when my husband and I pass will go to my other son, who was 100% in agreement with and supportive of that plan.
My brother sent a message one day, asking for help for one of his family members needing dental care. I don’t know his family because they all lived far from me their entire lives. I was a bit put off at first, and I just wanted a little more information about the situation before I sent a check. Two days later, he sent another message saying not to worry and that they handled the emergency. But he has not spoken to me since, going on three months.
I think it is important for me to be a good steward of this unexpected “blessing” because I have financially struggled my entire life. Of course I would help anyone in the family in an emergency. I just want to be responsible with what I was given and ask a few questions to make sure everything is as it seems. Was I wrong here? Is my brother justified in his obvious anger and refusal to speak to me? We were so close, and now it is all silence. I have very few family members left; I hate being apart from him. I am not in the best health, and I just had an $8,000 dental bill myself! What can I do? – Unsure
Dear Unsure: It’s not at all unreasonable to request a bit more information before handing your money away. Your newfound fortune is not up for grabs for the extended family, and your brother should be able to recognize that.
Another part of your letter stuck out to me: You say that you are very close to your brother and don’t have much family left, but you also say that you don’t have a relationship with your brother’s family due to the long distance. Why not use some of this money to visit them? You can clear the air with your brother and also show him that you care about the health and happiness of him and his family.
Dear Annie: As a decadeslong vegan, I have encountered the same questions that “Struggling Vegan” has had with acquaintances. Knowing that most people choosing to be vegan have done so because of their love for animals, concern for the environment or ambition to overcome some health issue, I would urge her to share her motive for changing lifestyle. I know this approach may not be for everyone, so others may simply ask them to watch James Cameron’s “The Game Changers” (on YouTube or Netflix) or read T. Colin Campbell and Thomas Campbell’s book “The China Study” and say that you would be happy to have a conversation with them afterward. In all likelihood, they will be calling to just thank you for the guidance and maybe want some of your best recipes! – Also a Vegan
Dear Also a Vegan: Those are two great recommendations for people looking to learn more about being a vegan, and they are great options for “Struggling Vegan” and others to suggest when someone questions their lifestyle.
“How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology – featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation – is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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