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Published December 24, 2010, 12:00 AM

Annie's Mailbox: Son needs to learn how to manage his illnesses

Dear Annie: I’ve been married to a wonderful man for 26 years. We are compatible in every way except when it comes to my 28-year-old son, “Jeremy.”

By: Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, INFORUM

Dear Annie: I’ve been married to a wonderful man for 26 years. We are compatible in every way except when it comes to my 28-year-old son, “Jeremy.” Jeremy has epilepsy, diabetes and a host of other problems. Recently, the two of them had a terrible fight. Jeremy put all of his belongings in a bag and left. We had no idea that he was simply camping out in our backyard.

In the middle of the night, we heard a noise and a loud scream. Jeremy had had a severe epileptic seizure, and we called 911. The paramedics noticed he had written on his hand, “Do not revive.” We later found out he had tried to commit suicide.

Jeremy has not been a perfect son. He has lied to my husband and stolen minor things. My husband wants him gone, but he knows I won’t kick him out when he has so many medical problems. Instead, my husband now refuses to have anything to do with him. He hasn’t spoken to Jeremy in two days, and he’s also becoming rather cold to me.

I cannot choose between my husband and my son.

I love them both. And strange as it seems, Jeremy says he loves his stepfather and has apologized for all his past mistakes. Do you have any suggestions? – Hurting Mother

Dear Hurting: We understand your concern for your son, but unless Jeremy plans to spend the rest of his life with you, he needs to learn how to manage his various illnesses and become more independent. You should not be taking over responsibilities that he can handle for himself.

The two of you can contact the Epilepsy Foundation (epilepsyfoundation.org) at (800) 332-1000 and the American Diabetes Association (diabetes.org) at (800) 342-2383 and ask for assistance. Talk to Jeremy’s doctor about his depression. He should look into his eligibility for disability programs. This is the best thing for Jeremy – and coincidentally, for your marriage, as well.


Dear Annie: I will never look at my driver’s license the same way again. Two days ago, my nephew received a heart transplant.

Now when I look at my driver’s license, the words “organ donor” proudly shine out at me. I hope someday my death will give another person a chance for life, as one family unselfishly did for my nephew.

I want to say to his donor family that even though the recipients of your generous and ultimate donation appreciate their great fortune, we also grieve for your loved one. Your family will always be in our prayers. Thank God for your generosity. – Toledo, Ohio

Dear Toledo: Thank you for your poignant reminder of the good that each of us can do by becoming an organ donor.


Dear Annie: I didn’t like your answer to “Gagging in California,” who couldn’t stand to be near smokers because of the odor. You said to be honest about why she was avoiding someone. You’re wrong. Smokers would not prefer to know why someone is moving away from them – that would be embarrassing and hurtful.

Anyone who is offended by an odor should politely make an excuse to move away, but should never tell the smoker that they smell. That would be rude, unnecessary and not appreciated. – Still Smoking

Dear Still: You seem both hypersensitive and defensive. We did not tell “Gagging” to inform smokers that they smell. We said it’s better to tell them you have a tough time breathing around smokers than to simply avoid them and not say why.


Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net or write to Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

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