Dear Annie: My husband calls me the "Throwaway Queen." I have gotten into hot water for not asking before I trashed something. Now I think I've made a huge mistake.
My husband is now far into dementia. We are thinking of moving, so I started cleaning out storage bins. I threw away two items of my husband's that had been in those bins for years. Last week, his son came over to help clear out some things and specifically asked for the items I tossed. They apparently were of sentimental value to him.
I acted as if I hadn't a clue what he was talking about, I feel so guilty and ashamed. This is a burden on my conscience, and I don't know what to do. I don't want to keep lying to him, but I'm afraid of confessing. What should I do? - Stepmom in California
Dear California: Imagine the reaction from your stepson when he discovers that you threw out these two items. We think you can tolerate his anger and disappointment. Please tell him. Apologize profusely. Say you had no idea he would want these things, or you would have saved them. Say that you are ashamed for not telling him sooner. Ask him to forgive your lapse in judgment. We think once he gets past his disappointment, you both will be able to put this behind you.
Dear Annie: This has been bothering me for weeks. For Mother's Day, I received text messages saying, "Happy Mother's Day" from both of my older children. I was expecting at least a phone call. They do the same thing on my birthday. I don't keep them on the phone long. I know they are busy with my grandchildren.
I never say anything to them, but it hurts to think they can't at least have a real-time conversation with me. Is this the new generation's way of communicating? Shouldn't they know better, or am I just being old-fashioned? -- Hurting Mama
Dear Mama: Kids communicate by text these days. If you want a phone call, you will have to say so instead of stewing in silence. You are not expecting too much for them to phone you on special occasions, but they can't read your mind, and we suspect they aren't aware that you find it hurtful. Please speak up. (And since they have children, there's no reason you cannot phone and wish them a happy Mother's Day, too.)