Dear Annie: Our card game is in a quandary. We have one member who is having memory problems. “Greta” asks the same rule questions many times. It hinders the playing and often unintentionally relays information to the opposing players.
We all care about Greta and would never want to hurt her. Where do we go from here? It is the only day available for each of us, as we all have other commitments. We also know that any one of us could be next, so we’d appreciate a solution to help us in the future. — A Bridge Too Far
Dear Bridge: The slow pace of Greta’s playing cannot be helped, so please be tolerant. Also, has she spoken to her doctor about her memory issues? There may be things going on that can be treated. Please suggest it. Meanwhile, can you ask Greta to whisper her questions to her partner so that others cannot overhear? Is there someone who can act as an impartial assistant? Can you write down the basic rules on a piece of paper and place it next to Greta’s seat so she can refer to it without asking? Is it possible to alter the rules to make the game easier to follow or so that the information passed along is irrelevant? Would you consider playing a different game?
Ultimately, the issues you have with Greta will become more pronounced as time goes on, and at some point, she may be unable to play this game altogether. But it’s a kindness to allow her to continue as long as possible.
Dear Annie: My heart breaks for “The Family Mistake,” the 12-year-old boy whose family doesn’t appreciate him. Until I read his letter, I thought I was the only one who suffered like this. I’m 55 years old and completely cut off from my family. I still struggle with depression, anxiety, anger and feelings of worthlessness. I never had any children of my own because I felt like they would be “mistakes,” too.
I wholeheartedly disagree with one writer’s suggestion that the boy should respond to insults by saying he will take care of his parents in their old age. People said this to my mother and she groomed me for that caregiving job, which is what I ended up doing for 10 years. My older siblings said that justified my existence. My life did not begin until my parents died.
For the first time in my life, I have found someone who really loves me. We will be married soon. I am finally happy, but I still have problems with self-esteem and depression. The saddest part is, out of the five of us, I was the best student and an accomplished musician. I should have been the one to have children. Instead, I felt like a servant.
I hope that 12-year-old boy fares better than I did. — Mistake in Cape Cod
Dear Cape Cod: We hope you will continue with therapy to build your self-esteem and handle your depression. But we are delighted that you have found happiness, finally, and we wish you the best on your upcoming wedding. You deserve it.
“Annie’s Mailbox” is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. To find out more about Classic Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.