DEAR ABBY: A few years ago, my dad was diagnosed with a fatal degenerative disease. My parents moved down South because the warmer climate helps Dad's condition. Mom takes care of him, and every second of the day she's very stressed.
My siblings and I live in the Northeast and don't get to see them as often as we'd like.
A year before Dad got sick, my parents seemed to go through a positive mid-life crisis. They lost weight, found new friends, partied every night. They rarely saw us or talked with us because they were busy. They seemed to be enjoying the next stage of their life together. If I complained, they said they were "having a life now" because raising kids had taken all their time.
My brother recently confided to me my parents were sowing their wild oats then because Dad knew he was getting sick. He knew he was on borrowed time and he'd have to sell his business and give up driving. He told no one but Mother.
I am extremely upset with my parents. While they were going out every night, we could have shared some time with him before it was too late. Although I cry every time I see Dad, I feel I maybe don't have as much sympathy as I should. Knowing he kept a secret like that has altered our relationship. When Mom calls and complains that she has no life and has to do everything by herself, I want to say she did it to herself. My siblings and I are not selfish. We would have done everything for our father.
Please tell me if I'm being overly emotional. Didn't I have the right to know? Am I entitled to be angry, or should I let it go? -- CONFUSED DAUGHTER IN PHILLY
DEAR CONFUSED: No one -- and I mean no one -- knows how he or she will react to the kind of diagnosis your father received. He and your mother chose to cram as much "celebration" as they could into the good time he had left. I can't judge his decision, and for your own sake, neither should you.
Yes, it might have been better had you been told. But you would have naturally become upset, and your Dad wanted gaiety and no reminders of what was coming. That was his choice, and he shouldn't be punished for it.
Consider this: The "good time" is the time your father has left. Please don't waste another second of it dwelling on something that can't be changed.