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Boston Herald
Boston Herald
24 Feb 2024
Sandra Kent

NextImg:Dear Abby: Blaming family for rejecting troubled son

Dear Abby: My beautiful adopted son, “Allen,” age 32, took his life six months ago. He had struggled with mental illness his entire adult life. He’d had a close relationship with his cousin — in fact, the boys were inseparable. But when Allen started smoking tobacco at 13, my sister would no longer allow him around her son, even though her husband smoked. Allen was devastated.

My younger brother has a big cabin and hosts annual deer hunting events. I approached him several times to ask if Allen could be invited to the hunt or just be invited to the northern woods for fun. His answer was always “Not this time.”

My husband died 11 years ago. Coming from a big family, I thought I’d get some help from them. Quite the opposite. Today, I’m left with bitter feelings toward my family. I know I’ll never get over these losses or the feeling that the rejection from my siblings was part of Allen’s depression. I’m not looking to mend my relationship with my siblings, just some words of comfort. — Sadder Than Sad in Michigan

Dear Sadder:  Please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of your son. Your family may not have included him because they didn’t understand his mental illness and felt ill-equipped to cope with it. This is not to excuse the fact that they distanced themselves, but rather to try to explain why they may have kept him at arm’s length.

There is support available for you in the absence of theirs so you won’t feel so alone. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention could enable you to find a grief support group near you. To find one, visit Another terrific organization is the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Visit and you will find a wealth of resources for families like yours. PLEASE don’t wait.

Dear Abby: I have a friend I’ve known for 30 years. We have shared many good times together and feel like family. The problem is, she cuts me off during every phone conversation. It doesn’t matter if I’m talking about the weather or something I think is important — she interrupts me in mid-sentence and announces she has to go, for whatever reason. She has done this for years, but lately it’s gotten worse.

She’s in a new marriage, and we rarely talk anymore. But when we do, it’s a given that as soon as I get into talking, she has to go. I never do that to her. I listen patiently and quietly while she tells me about her life. Should I just forget about our friendship and stop answering her calls? Telling her will only make her mad to the point that she won’t talk to me anymore anyway. — Cut Off in Kentucky

Dear Cut Off: If telling this friend how her behavior affects you will drive her away, you should definitely tell her how you feel. If, after that, she runs in the opposite direction, it will indicate that your relationship was on shaky ground and has reached its expiration date.

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