DEAR AMY: I would like your opinion on something. My son and I always had and still have a normal, loving, good relationship. Fifteen years ago, when he was 25, my son was diagnosed with a brain tumor. At the time, he had been married for two years to his college sweetheart. I was fortunate enough to get referrals for the best surgeons. The operation went on for several hours. Upon his recovery, he was placed in a hospital bed. He was still kind of groggy and in a lot of pain when my husband, daughter and I went to see him. I asked if there was anything he needed. He told me to get out of the room. His wife's mother came in and he started calling out to her: "Mom!" and she went to him. I was never so crushed in my entire life. I started to cry and ran out, and kept running. My daughter and husband brought me to the cafeteria in the hospital to try and calm me down. After the surgery, he and his wife came back to stay at my house until he was healed enough to go to his home. This incident was never brought up or talked about. Now, 15 years later, I still harbor hurt and resentment. How do I handle it? I'm not in good health. Should I keep it buried or bring it up? I'm not sure if he remembers it and do not want him to feel bad. However, it gnaws away on my mind and heart.
The Real Mother
DEAR REAL MOTHER: Unfortunately, I feel that the real pathology here is your holding onto an obviously hallucinatory statement made under extreme circumstances 15 years ago.
I don't know if you have ever been hospitalized and recovered from a major operation using anesthesia, but I have seen people hallucinate and suffer from delirium while in the grip of "ICU psychosis." My own children were completely loopy after only getting their wisdom teeth extracted. (One seemed to think that our dog, Calvin, would be driving her home from the dental office.)
I don't think your son's reaction while emerging from anesthesia is out of the ordinary. I do think that you were traumatized by watching your son suffer and skate so close to death.
Please, do yourself and your family a favor and bring this up with your son. I hope you can temper your reaction to this enough so that you will understand that he didn't know what he was saying and likely has no memory of it. I hope a reassuring hug and an "I love you, Mom," will allow you to finally close the book on this strange chapter in your emotional life. Holding on to this is not good for your own health. Find a way to let it go.
DEAR AMY: My first girlfriend, "Annie," and I went out for two months. Then I found out that Annie cheated on me with another guy. They were at a bar, drinking and laughing. I broke up with Annie, and I never went back to her. Last month, I met a pretty girl, "Rebecca," who is a warm and kindhearted person. We hit it off right away. Yesterday, I saw her with another guy at a shopping mall. I'm afraid that I'm being cheated on again. What should I do?
DEAR CHEATED UPON: You are new to this. You cannot police women you have known for a relatively short time and declare that laughing with a guy in a bar, or walking with a guy through a mall is cheating. The assumptions you are making, and your behavior concerning these women, reveals how inexperienced you are. Dating is a process of getting to know someone, and communicating your various needs and expectations. Unless you and someone you're seeing mutually decide that you are "exclusive," you're not. Seeing other people under these circumstances is not cheating. You need to get a handle on your jealousy.
DEAR AMY: "Lost and Sad" reported having "lost" their father. It wasn't until I read the full letter that I understood that the father wasn't "lost," but dead! Why can't people talk plainly about death?
DEAR TALKER: People use many different euphemisms when referring to death. These indirect expressions — "lost," "late," "passed" — all imply that the beloved person is more or less waiting in another room. And for bereaved people, that's how it feels. Let it be.