Dear Abby: Sister isn’t the same after brain tumor removed

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Dear Abby: Can’t budge lonely, needy friend from the phone
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Dear Abby: My sister, who was a bright and cheerful star for everyone and anyone, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was removed with almost 100% margins several years ago. Our family feels unbelievably blessed that she’s OK, but she knows she’s not the same. This is ignored by some close relatives, but not by me.

I will forever be grateful for the fact that she’s alive and OK, but she is not the sister I once knew no matter how hard she may try. I sympathize with her, I listen, I know she struggles because she’s missing her old self. I try with heartfelt messages, but ultimately, I feel useless. And, selfish as it sounds, I miss my sister, my TRUE sister, terribly.

I know this isn’t what she wants, and I will be there for her no matter what the future brings. But what else can I do for her? I want to be anything she needs me to be, as she is more than deserving.

— Supportive Sis in Virginia

Dear Sis: While some of her capacity may be diminished, what your sister needs is you to be her stalwart sister and love her for the person she is NOW. Support her, love her, appreciate that she’s still with you and quit focusing on those aspects of her personality that are lost. I say this because it isn’t healthy for either of you to dwell on the negative at this point, when there is so much for which to be thankful.

Dear Abby: I divorced my husband of 12 years after catching him cheating with multiple women. I took time for myself and wasn’t in a hurry to meet anyone. However, about a year after the divorce, I met a great guy. I was quickly introduced to his family and they embraced me, inviting me to holidays and birthday parties, etc.

Four years went by and we started talking about marriage. We made plans to have our wedding at our favorite beach with family and a couple of friends. There were several people we would have loved to take part, but who couldn’t due to the pandemic.

Before the ceremony, my husband and I came up with the idea of wearing white face masks to take a group picture. As the masks were being distributed, his family got angry and said they weren’t going to do anything they didn’t want to do. They then stomped off and wouldn’t participate in the vows or any of the pictures.

They’re angry with me, and I am hurt. And the hateful things they said also hurt my husband. I don’t know how to handle this.

— Bad Idea in Florida

Dear Bad Idea: What happened was terrible, and I can’t blame you for feeling hurt at the treatment you and your husband received on your wedding day. However, this is the tribe you married into. Your husband’s family may have reacted strongly because they objected to having their faces covered in a photo or to face masks in general. If it was the latter, it’s a shame they felt they had to take a political stance while you were celebrating your nuptials.

Try to be forgiving. However, if you are abused again, recognize it may be time to distance yourselves and concentrate on your side of the family rather than your husband’s.


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com.

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