My brother’s girlfriend has been my best friend since we were 14.
He was 17 and wouldn’t date her. But she was always around. By 20, he took her for granted, which she accepted, even when I knew he went out with his boyfriends drinking and picking up girls. But I said nothing.
He got a good job and at 24 was making decent money, so she wanted to get married. He let her dream of it, then one day he just disappeared.
He sent my parents a message that he was okay, not to worry. He didn’t contact anyone else. My best friend was relieved he was okay and said he’d come back to her.
My older brother did a search and discovered he’d had a baby with another woman. I let him tell my friend because I couldn’t.
My question: There’s a baby boy related to us living not far away, who we don’t know.
I’m feeling a need to be that baby’s aunt. I found the mother’s number and called her.
She’s a single mom, and said she loves my brother but knows he’s not going to live with her, so she welcomes anyone who’s family to her son.
Am I being a horrible friend to the woman my brother’s abandoned, if I visit this baby and his mom? Do I tell my friend?
Aunt or Best Friend?
Your heart and your mind are working together, not in conflict.
The desire to embrace a fatherless baby boy as family is who you are - caring about people, especially those you can help.
And you care about your best friend.
You were too loyal a sister to disclose his behaviour with other girls, but you’re all adults now.
He’s gone, she’s still close to you, and the baby and his mother also need your heartfelt interest.
Your brother’s future is unknown but right now you have a new nephew to care about.
Tell your best friend and hope that she understands.
I was in a ten-year extremely abusive marriage.
Suddenly, in the middle of the night, we had to leave our home/city because my husband demanded it. I couldn't say goodbye to my family or explain to them why.
He forced me to block their phone numbers, Facebook, everything, and “disappear.”
I eventually divorced my husband but was still living in a shell.
I didn't leave sooner because we had custody then of my now ex-stepson. I couldn't leave him with such a violent father.
Several months ago, my sister contacted me through my now-boyfriend.
She coldly said that my mother had brain cancer with under two years to live.
She didn't allow me to say goodbye. It was all about her anger towards me. I didn’t learn that my mother passed until two weeks later.
At 43, I have no idea how to deal with my mother’s death.
Did she know that I still loved her, that the things that happened were out of my control? How can I get closure?
Still in Pain
Ongoing grief isn’t surprising after your traumatic loss, especially after being harshly prevented from seeing your dying mother.
There’s grief counselling available through every faith centre, and you don’t have to be a regular member to get pastoral counselling.
Whatever your background, contact your local or preferred house of worship and you’ll find an experienced, empathetic counsellor, usually at an affordable cost.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man who feared his wife was poisoning him (Sept 23):
Reader – “Great letter! But you perhaps should’ve suggested he avoid mushrooms altogether until his fears are allayed. Or confirmed.
“Reading your column often makes me wonder how some people function day-to-day. It’s always a happy reminder of how fortunate I am in my family and friends.”
Ellie - Here’s the difference between people reading for entertainment, personal gratitude or just curiosity (your appreciation of family/friends is a happy by-product), and my reading of a letter to discern how to offer meaningful advice:
The letter-writer stated that his wife has a boyfriend in another country, but the pandemic’s keeping them apart.
He states that “she knows or thinks” that because of their age difference (she’s 25-years younger than he) his death “wouldn’t appear suspicious.”
He needs to call Poison Control and talk to a poison specialist. Let’s hope his suspicion proves wrong!
Tip of the day:
When you have a strong urge to do something helpful for others, follow the combined urgings of your heart and mind.