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by Abigail Van Buren

Daughter's Rejection Adds to Terminally Ill Man's Pain

DEAR ABBY: I am married to the most wonderful husband and father a woman could ask for. He has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and may not have long to live. Ever since I met "John" he has searched for his daughter who was given up for adoption years ago. We recently found her. It took him some time to find the courage to send her a message, and when he did she rejected him.

"Patty" met her birth mother a few years ago and decided to have contact only with her. This has caused John so much pain that I sometimes cry myself to sleep at night. Our daughters were raised knowing they have an older sister. They also know we found Patty and she doesn't want to get to know us. I don't know how to explain what's happening without them thinking they're not good enough.

My husband was raised in foster homes. He had no family, so family is the most important thing in the world to us and he could die at any moment. I don't know what I can do to ease the sadness or make his daughter see that she may not have another chance. Abby, please help. -- BLINDSIDED IN BEND, ORE.

DEAR BLINDSIDED: I'll try. Write Patty a letter and tell her that her father loves her and searched for her for many years before he was able to locate her. Tell her that he is now terminally ill and would like to see her before he dies -- and that it could be healing for both of them. Of course, it is her right to refuse.

As to what you should tell your daughters, explain that Patty's reason for not wanting to meet them may be that her birth mother has poisoned her against the paternal branch of the family, and not to take it personally. It may very well be the truth.

DEAR ABBY: My identical twin sister "Gwen" and I were close our whole lives. She married and had two children, while I stayed single. Because our lives took different directions, we have not been as close over the past couple of years because Gwen was busy raising her family.

She has recently gone through a divorce and is the primary caregiver of her children. She doesn't have a job. I feel like I'm walking on eggshells around her. She has threatened several times to kill herself, and she starts horrible arguments with our parents and me.

I have tried to help out and watch her kids when I could, but I have a full schedule and need to make time for my other relationships. After being threatened a couple of times, I finally stopped talking to her because I was tired of turning the other cheek to her outrageous, violent behavior.

I love my twin and miss our close relationship. I understand the stress of being an unemployed, single mother of two, but I can't continue putting up with the weekly arguments. Is there any hope we can be close again? Gwen was in counseling for a while. What can I do to help resolve things without turning into a doormat again? -- MIRROR IMAGE IN SOUTH CAROLINA

DEAR MIRROR IMAGE: Your sister's violent outbursts and threats of suicide are indications that she is suffering from some significant emotional problems. Until and unless she gets more professional help, nothing you can do will "resolve things." The best thing you and your family can do is encourage her to get more counseling and remain close enough to her to be sure her children are safe.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)