While I’m away, readers give the advice.
On resenting sibling bailouts as a dent in one’s own inheritance: I am always shocked by people expecting an inheritance. My dad is 84 and I am 55 – I’ve received my inheritance every day for the last 55 years. It comes in my values, my work ethic, the good memories, my education and too many other things to list.
My dad and stepmom live comfortably and occasionally will purchase something they consider extravagant, and he’ll joke that it is coming out of my inheritance. One year they took a cruise and everyone got sick and I asked that that trip come out of my brother’s inheritance because I only wanted to fund good trips! My brother hopes that his inheritance will be Dad’s bar tab.
I just don’t understand why people believe they have a right to an inheritance and fight over it.
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On understanding siblings who won’t help out with a dying parent: Of four siblings, I was the only one really helping my mom in her final years. For a long time, I beat my head against the wall trying to cajole, beg, plead and finally guilt my siblings into visiting Mom, helping me get her to appointments, cleaning her house, etc. I lived 450 miles away and at least two of my siblings had as much capacity to help as I did. For their own reasons (which I can’t even begin to fathom), they chose not to.
I finally found peace when I realized I was making my own choice to help my mom because (a) I loved her and wanted to do for her whatever I could to make her happy and bring her comfort and (b) I wanted to model for my own children how I want to be treated in my final years.
I was at least partially repaid when I walked in on my 20-year-old son swabbing my Mom’s lips on her deathbed and refusing to leave her side until I got there. We all make our own choices and our choices ultimately have consequences — both good and bad. I’m not a martyr. I’m just…
Happy With My Choices
On dating someone who’s great, but … : I just wanted to say, my guy is great.
No but. We disagree, BUT have learned to work it out. He likes to talk through issues immediately, and I like to think things through and organize my thoughts in an email, BUT we have found a way to work with our different communication styles. He works too hard, BUT I encourage him to take breaks and strive for a work/family balance, and he admits he feels better about life when that happens. I sometimes don’t work hard enough (my take, not his), BUT he inspires me to reach and achieve more. Not through constant nagging or ridicule, but by his overwhelmingly positive attitude (thanks, in part, to the work/family balance he’s achieved). He takes excellent care of me and the kids, and we take excellent care of him.
That’s it. Just wanted to throw a positive your way. He is a great guy … BUT, I am also a great woman, and it’s working.
Email Carolyn at email@example.com, follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at washingtonpost.com.