By Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin
ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My mother was emotionally, physically and mentally abusive. Also, she knew about the sexual abuse in the home when my brothers and I were growing up and she allowed it to continue.
He most likely suffered from borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder, although he consistently refused therapy. All of her children ran away from home at 16, and most of us were quite successful.
I tried to have limited contact with her as an adult, but it was like hitting my head against a wall. When I was 40, I “divorced” her and didn’t see her again until she was in a coffin.
All the remaining brothers attended the funeral. We sat front and center. As people unrelated to the family began to praise her lavishly, my sister began to giggle lightly. As the compliments became more absurd, we all started laughing out loud (including her brother, my uncle).
We were crying, from laughter, at the end. from serviceAnd it was the most cathartic feeling I’ve ever had.
Rude? Quite. Real? Very. The best way to send her to her grave? Absolutely.
Afterward, we popped champagne corks and rejoiced that we had survived his abuse and that, despite it, we had become kind, empathic.polite and successful adults.
My advice to others in this situation would be: go to your mother’s funeral, if you wish; can find peace because she survived it. and survived. But the other option is equally valid: Don’t go, if you want. No one will judge you, because the people who REALLY knew her also knew her true character.
KIND READER: It will certainly be a comfort to you to know that your mother would have approved of your behavior.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a close friend who lives nearby, and for the past few years, she has asked me to water her 25+ houseplants when she and her husband travel.
Initially, it was twice a week for a two-week trip, about once a year. This year, they’ve been gone for over a month and are planning a longer trip next winter.
How can I gracefully decline this request next winter? Would it be presumptuous to suggest hiring a neighborhood teenager? That’s what I do when I travel.
KIND READER: Tell her that unfortunately you won’t be available at the time and you’d hate for her to go back to dead plants.
Since your friend will be away, it won’t matter if the reason you’re not available is because you’re going on vacation or you just don’t expect to feel like getting out of bed.
Miss Manners advises against suggesting a different solution, adolescent or not, as it could be seen as taking responsibility for solving the problem.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: How do I send a late notice to friends and family of the death of my elderly parents more than a year later?
KIND READER: In a handwritten letter that includes an apology for the delay. Formality will help friends and family understand that the delay is related to your pain, not your forgetfulness.
Submit your questions to Miss Manners at her website www.missmanners.com.