DEAR ABBY: I am the mother of three children, all over 40. I am 76.
Five years ago, I lost my only son; a year later my husband passed away (both of heart disease). Since their deaths, my daughters have taken a hard and bitter attitude toward me. There was never an offer of help to ease my grief, nor has there been any interest in anything except what I can do for them.
I have watched their children, paid dental bills and made mortgage payments, but there seems to be no feeling of warmth or consideration for me at any time. They scream at me for the least thing. Their visits are brief or none at all. They say they will come to visit me, and they don't show.
I took care of their ailing father for 20 years, with no offer of help from them. Are today's children a different breed from those of us who were taught to honor our parents?
Please don't suggest consulting my minister. I am ashamed to let him know the way my children treat me. I have shed many tears and lost countless hours of sleep fretting and praying about this. Please don't use my name or town for obvious reasons. -- UNWILLING OUTCAST
DEAR OUTCAST: Please stop trying to understand your children; concentrate on taking care of yourself instead. Find friends with whom you can share your pain. Talk to your minister; he will not judge you (clergy of all faiths hear many family secrets) and can help you find solace. Then look for a family who needs a grandmother and "adopt" them. They'll be glad to have you, and you'll be glad you did.