Dear Abby: The estranged mother of my adult children is dying … should my kids tell her they forgive her?
DEAR ABBY: I was married young to my high school sweetheart. We had five children together. During that time, I joined the Air Force. After six years of marriage, I discovered my wife was cheating on me. Once I realized we couldn’t reconcile, I told her I wanted a divorce and custody of the children. She agreed. It cost me my career with the USAF.
Flash-forward to today: Thirty-seven years have passed. I have never said a bad word to my children about their mother. My ex never took the time to build meaningful relationships with them. My oldest daughter once tried to have a relationship with her. A month or so later, she asked, “Dad, why did you ever marry that woman?”
I have just learned from my oldest daughter that her mother is dying and has less than six months to live. My oldest shared the news with her siblings, who had given up on having a mother years ago. She also offered to drive her mom to appointments.
Do you think it would be good for my children to write letters to their mother, expressing their feelings toward her and giving her forgiveness from their point of view? Their ages range from 38 to 43. They are stable, hardworking adults and great parents as well. — DO-RIGHT DAD IN OHIO
DEAR DAD: You are a thoughtful, caring and forgiving parent. Your children are adults now. You might “suggest” this to them, but do not pressure them into doing anything with which they are uncomfortable. They may not deeply grieve their mother’s passing in light of the fact that she left them behind decades ago.
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