DEAR NATALIE: My mom died recently and I was going through her things at her home, trying to clean up so that I can get the house ready for sale. I came across a box of letters hidden in the back of her hall closet. They were from another woman and they looked like love letters. My mom was married (unhappily) for many years to my dad, who was a passive, sweet man. He died ten years ago. My mom never dated or remarried. Finding these letters was like giving me a little glimpse into this whole other person I never knew. I know who the person is that sent them to her. I was wondering if I should reach out to her and let her know that my mom died. They had been friends when I was a kid, but they had a falling out. I wonder now if this was a case of unrequited love. I feel incredibly sad for my mother, having never had the chance to live authentically. Should I let her “friend” know that she passed? She doesn’t live in the same state as us, so she may not be aware, as my mother was 80 years old and did not have social media. Thoughts? -LOST LOVE LETTERS
DEAR LOST LOVE LETTERS: If you know who this woman is, reaching out to let her know that your mother passed would be a nice thing to do. Who knows why they stopped speaking, but she may need to have some sense of closure – regardless of the nature of their relationship. Maybe this romance was one-sided? Maybe your mother didn’t feel the same way. Or maybe she did. She took those secrets to the grave, and while you may be curious, it isn’t your place to ask about the letters. Connect with her, let her know what happened and then step back. People grieve in their own way and it seems like there was a lot lost between them in this lifetime.
DEAR NATALIE: My daughter’s boyfriend was kicked out of his house by his father who is a raging alcoholic. It was so bad that the poor kid was sleeping at a local shelter. My daughter is beside herself and wants him to stay with us for the foreseeable future. They are 15-years-old and while I have tremendous empathy for his situation, I don’t think it is a good idea to have hormonal teens who are “in love” staying under the same roof. They are both really good kids, but it’s the temptation of it all that worries me. At the same time, how can I just lock him out of here when he has nowhere to go? His closest relative is his grandmother who lives about 30 minutes away. It seems unfair that he would have to move schools and everything because of his abusive father. Any ideas on what to do?
DEAR CONCERNED MOTHER: While it is not your responsibility to take care of your daughter’s boyfriend, it is a beautiful thing to see that you care about his welfare. If his grandmother doesn’t know what has happened, you may want to contact her. There could be another solution. Perhaps the school district could allow him to stay in the school considering the circumstances, at least for the time being while a social worker assists the family. I would have the school connect with the father directly and then take a step back. While you may want to get involved and help, this isn’t your fight. Relationships are fickle with teenagers, and while it could be considered harmless to let him stay at your home for a few nights, romantic interest can cool as quickly as it comes on putting your daughter in an awkward position. Instead, let the professionals take the lead on this, provide support (and hot meals!) to her boyfriend in the meantime. He’s welcome to spend time with her after school, and hopefully with your support, he can find a safe place to be at night.
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