ANNIE’S MAILBOX: Hubby’s family is driving her nuts

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar

Dear Annie: Last summer, my husband became seriously ill while out of town. When I called his family, they started bossing me around and even called the hospital and berated the staff. I had my husband moved to a larger hospital in the city where his sister lives. She was with me when I talked to the doctor about the “do not resuscitate” order. But instead of repeating what was actually said, she told his family members that I was eager to pull the plug. She also told everyone that I didn’t love him.

One lie led to another, and I finally had her banned from the hospital. I refused to stay at her house and have the entire family screaming at me because of this crazy woman. So I was all alone in a strange city.

Now, five months later, his family keeps asking when my husband is going to die. He is doing OK, or at least as well as can be expected. He has setbacks and often has to be hospitalized, but the doctors have given me no reason to think he is going to die anytime soon.

His family makes it hard for me to talk to them and keep them updated. The only normal ones are my husband’s daughters from his first marriage. They have been very supportive.

The crazy sister reads tarot cards, and I’m sure this is where her predictions of death are coming from. What is wrong with these people? How do I handle them?

Not in the Cards

Dear Not: This is your husband’s family, and they care about his health. But that doesn’t mean you have to subject yourself to their attacks. Technology can be very useful in these situations. When your husband’s condition changes, you or your stepdaughters can send out an e-mail or text message with the update, saying you “thought they’d want to know.” If they phone you, let the calls go to voicemail. That way, you can maintain some control while still being a considerate in-law.

Dear Annie: My very bright 10-year-old nephew, “Parker,” has recently begun correcting the grammar of adults. I find this highly inappropriate, but his parents obviously think it’s fine because they don’t say anything when Parker does it.

Do you think it is acceptable for a child to correct adults? Is there anything I can say to Parker without upsetting his parents?

Loving Auntie

Dear Auntie: It is not acceptable for anyone other than a teacher or a parent to correct another’s grammar in public. It is the parents’ job to correct a child’s behavior, but some parents do not understand this responsibility. Therefore, as Parker’s aunt, you are in a position to let him know this is disrespectful.

The next time it happens, take him aside and gently explain that it is improper to correct someone else’s grammar, even though he may be right, because it embarrasses them and you are certain he would not want to do that.

E-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

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