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by Abigail Van Buren

Firstborn Feels Little Connection to Dying Dad

DEAR ABBY: I am hoping for advice regarding my relationship with my father and his children. I met my dad and his much younger second family when I was 24. I have never felt close to any of them, and 10 years later, nothing has changed.

Dad lives across the country and is now terminal because of his alcoholism. My siblings are telling me I need to see him before he dies. I don't feel an obligation to do that, but I also feel guilty for not feeling bad.

I don't feel much connection with my siblings either, and am pretty sure that once my father passes, communication will cease completely. Should I reach out and try to rekindle a relationship before he passes? Do I owe him that? -- UNCERTAIN IN MAINE

DEAR UNCERTAIN: It may be a little late to rekindle a relationship with your father, who was absent during such a large chunk of your life. This may be the reason you aren't grieving his approaching death. That said, if there is anything you feel you might like to say to your father that has not been said -- and I'll bet there is plenty -- it might be in your own best interests to have a final conversation or two with him. It's not that you owe it to him; you owe it to yourself.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Death | Addiction