My husband came here two months ago as my dependent, having worked as a caregiver for the last five years.
I was overflowing with excitement that finally, we’d be together again.
All the hardships, the distance, the snowy winter that turns into a heated summer, all carried on because this one person was coming soon.
Then, my world turned upside down with just one phone call from our home country.
It was from a girl, who, when hearing my voice, never uttered a word. Then… one discovery after another.
A second family had been left at home by my husband. I never experienced such pain.
I realized this was the reason for the frequent demands for money.
It was a huge deception I didn’t know how to handle. Please help me find a free or low-fee institution or individual who can help me process the emotions fighting inside me
The shock is still recent, but you’re wise to realize the healing must begin. Counselling sessions will help.
Call community agencies in your area, look into pastoral counselling at your own faith centre, and try Family Services through the yellowpages.com.
Ask for available appointments and the cost, and if there are subsidized or free sessions offered.
The process of venting your anger and hurt is essential so you can get on with re-building your confidence in yourself and your life here.
My brother died a year and a half ago. He had Huntington's Disease and committed suicide.
My niece (now 51) was always closer to her dad than her mom, but since the funeral, the gap has become a chasm.
I'm not even sure of the last time they talked to each other. My sister-in-law missed our Thanksgiving dinner for the first time ever because of other plans, but we suspect it was because our niece was there.
What can we do?
Sad and Concerned
Recognize that your niece is dealing with a lot – the loss of her father, and the knowledge that this terrible disease, which kills off brain cells and leads to incapacitation, is genetically inherited.
As the child of an affected person, your niece typically has a 50% chance of having inherited the disease.
(Physical symptoms can begin at any age, but most usually begin between ages 35 and 44).
There is no cure. And full-time care is required in the disease’s later stages.
It’s unfortunate that your niece and her mother weren’t that close, but it’s understandable that she doesn’t seek support from her mom.
Since you’re close enough for her to come for Thanksgiving dinner, you and your family can try to offer the caring that she needs.
She likely wants to be with your family more than just on big holidays, as it’ll help her feel close to her dad’s memory.
Also keep contact with your sister-law, letting her know how her daughter’s doing.
Advise her to send an email every couple of weeks - without pressuring her to get together. Just an encouraging word, or hoping she’s doing okay.
Periodically, casually mention having seen or talked to your sister-in-law, to her daughter.
Gently suggest that each of them have the same right to grieve, but each also needs compassion.
Do not arrange any surprise meetings between the two. Your brother’s illness and his suicide were tragic events for both these women, and they both need time to come to terms with what happened.
FEEDBACK Regarding people who, by snooping, discover their partner’s cheating, etc:
Reader – “You give good advice, e.g. pointing out the errors in their partners’ ways, but don’t always note that they, too, did something bad by snooping into private emails and phone records.
“Many of the problems people write about were discovered through doing something equally wrong.
“Why don’t you point this out to them?”
Ellie - When someone has a strong gut feeling about betrayal of their relationship, yet get only denials from their spouse, the need for truth becomes overwhelming.
If they then discover cheating or other inappropriate behaviour, they feel justified for seeking the evidence.
In my online chats, and regarding questions about snooping in general, I’m with you. Disrespecting privacy is bad behaviour.
But people who write me that they’ve found proof of cheating, are asking how to move on with their lives, not for a lecture.
That horse already left the barn.
Tip of the day:
After the shock of a spouse’s betrayal through a “second family,” healing starts with counselling to vent anger and pain.