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by Abigail Van Buren

Far-Flung Family Makes Little Effort To Stay in Touch

DEAR ABBY: I am a 72-year-old divorcee. I live alone in a 55-and-older community where I have many friends and an active life.

My three adult children are ages 37 to 43. The eldest lives out of the country with my 12-year-old grandson. My other son and his wife live 2,000 miles away and have two young children, one of whom I saw once three years ago. My daughter lives with her husband an hour and a half away. I see them about twice a year.

My daughter will sometimes answer an email or text, sometimes not. My sons almost never contact me, not even on my birthday or Mother's Day. From what I understand, they have little communication with their father or each other, either.

Is this normal? It breaks my heart. This isn't how I raised them. I always encouraged them to maintain a relationship with their father and their grandmother. Is there anything I can do? -- SO SAD IN THE EAST

DEAR SO SAD: I'm sorry for your heartache, and there IS something you can do. Concentrate on your friends, people who are willing to return your emotional investment. You should also ignore Mother's Day, which is an emotionally loaded holiday that causes pain not only to mothers like you, but also to those who have recently lost their mothers. I think you have suffered enough, don't you?

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Aging | Holidays & Celebrations