Dear Abby: Wife fears husband’s health puts her future in jeopardy
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DEAR ABBY: I am the 24/7 caregiver for my husband, “Earl.” We were both widowed when we married nine years ago. His daughter, “Mindy,” hasn’t talked to her father for six years — hasn’t called, emailed or even sent a birthday card. If he tried calling her, she wouldn’t pick up.
Recently, Earl had a serious health problem resulting in a colostomy bag. I take care of everything. When he called to tell Mindy, her husband answered the phone and said she wasn’t home. When my husband told him about his health, the son-in-law said OK — nothing more. Then Earl invited the whole family to come here. Again, the response was, “I don’t know.” After Earl hung up, I said, “I think it’s time Mindy came here to take care of you.” (Six years ago she told my husband, “Dad, if you die first, I’ll get that woman out of the house in three days!”)
Abby, must I wait for this to happen or should I just pack my stuff and move out, leaving a vulnerable 88-year-old man alone? Mindy will put him in a nursing home and sell the house to pay off her credit card debt — some of it, because the house isn’t worth much money.
Earl says, “Don’t leave me, I need you!” Well, what about me? Where is my life and my security? I’m getting older. If he lives another 10 years, it will take a toll on my health, and I’LL be moving? Should I seek compensation for my caregiving?
I pay all my own expenses. I don’t pay rent. That was the main concern from his relatives when we got married. I was a widow and had a job and a condo, which I sold. I put the money in the bank and used cash to pay for a new car, a computer, a wheelchair for my husband, etc. Don’t I have to plan for my future in my old age? Or should I leave it up to God and hope He takes me before my husband? I need your advice. — WORRIED WIFE IN FLORIDA
DEAR WORRIED WIFE: You’re right to be concerned about your future. That’s why, before making any decisions, it is important you consult a lawyer and learn what your rights are as a wife in the state of Florida. You should not have to worry about being thrown out into the street because Earl’s daughter has money problems and is looking to cash in. If you love your husband, your place is beside him for as long as the Good Lord allows.
DEAR ABBY: I am 16. I came home from a date and my mom is flipping out over my hickies. I think this is stupid. These are my first ones, and my parents are making a big deal about it. What do you think? — MARKED IN NEWARK, DELAWARE
DEAR MARKED: I think it’s time you had a talk with your parents about why they reacted the way they did, so they can explain it to you. Your hickies aren’t what upset them. They are worried about you because they are afraid of what the hickies may lead to — if they haven’t already.
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 http://www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)