Q: My mother-in-law passed away two years ago from lung cancer. My father-in-law hasn’t taken it well. This year at Christmas he fabricated a letter and gifts “from her” for the grandkids, as if she had written the letter and bought the gifts before she passed away. He did it without my knowledge.
I am angry and upset that I was made part of this lie without my consent. I refuse to lie to my daughter about this and plan to throw the letter away. My daughter is 6 and doesn’t seem to understand. My husband doesn’t think it’s that big a deal and doesn’t know what he can do about it.
I loved my mother-in-law, but I’m tired of dealing with this. This is not the first strange thing my father-in-law has done. I feel like I get no support from my husband, who won’t ever say anything to his dad. Am I right in how I feel? — Don’t Want to Lie in Ohio
A: Of course you are right. Your father-in-law appears to be grieving deeply for his wife, and he may not be able to work through it without the aid of a grief support group or a therapist.
You should also be aware that a severe emotional shock can sometimes cause the onset of dementia in older adults. If his strange behavior continues, then for his own sake, he may need to be evaluated by his doctor, and your husband would be doing his father no favors to ignore it.
Q: Over the years, we have helped out our daughters as much as we could. One daughter, “Doreen,” has needed more help than the others. She has four children who are near and dear to our hearts. They have been living with us the better part of their lives.
Doreen married a guy who is the father of three of the children. (I’ll call him John.) He’s in trouble with the law constantly and can’t hold a job. After we moved them all in with us, John decided he wanted to move back home to his family, so he packed up everyone and left. We told Doreen we could no longer support them financially, and if they wanted to move away, they would assume that responsibility.
Now she’s writing us saying they can’t pay the rent and their electricity is being shut off. She wants us to “loan” them money. We refused. Now we can no longer talk to, text, write, Skype or communicate in any way with our grandchildren. The SIL says we lost that privilege. My wife is distraught. Can we fix this? Will our daughter come around? — Distraught in Florida
A: You cannot fix what’s wrong with your daughter and her husband by giving them money, so you were right to refuse. They moved out with the understanding that your financial help would stop. Your daughter is now trying to coerce you into giving them money through emotional blackmail.
For your own sakes, I hope you will not give in to it because if you do, there will be no end to it. As to whether your daughter will come around, it will happen as soon as she needs you because her husband has bailed on her.