DEAR ABBY: When our first grandchild was born, my son, "Vic," and his wife bought the first video camera in the family. I often asked them to bring it to family get-togethers, and to help out, I purchased dozens of long-running, high-quality tapes.
We didn't buy a lot of toys for the kids. We made memories instead — a trip to the circus, renting out the roller rink for the entire family, and holding "sports championships" in our yard. All of the fun was captured on tape. Our family grew, babies became teenagers, and we had a growing pile of tapes.
Two years ago, my husband died unexpectedly. I felt as though my life had been torn to shreds. I was slow getting over the shock.
Recently I finally felt strong enough to watch the tapes again. ("Grandpa" was always in the middle of the action.) When I asked Vic to bring them over, his response was, "Mom, we don't have those videos anymore. We taped Junior's softball games over them." I said, "How could you?!" He replied, "Get over it, Mom! It's all in the past."
I was so angry, I walked out. I haven't called them since, and they haven't contacted me. I am so hurt. How could anyone have so little feeling?
— RE-RECORDED IN MIAMI
DEAR RE-RECORDED: Your son's response was brutal. He owes you an apology for his rudeness and insensitivity, but he's right about one thing — the tapes are gone. He was put on the defensive, and that's why he tried to dismiss your feelings. Obviously, he thought the family would go on forever just as it was. That's why he didn't think it was important to preserve the videotaped family album. Of course, by sacrificing the past for the present, he ultimately cheated his own family and any siblings of his generation who might be interested in sharing the family history.
Fortunately, you have many happy memories in your heart of your happy marriage and the experience of raising your family. And no one can ever take those away from you.
DEAR ABBY: I have been married two years to a wonderful man, but we're having problems in the bedroom. Both of us are very uncomfortable talking about our feelings, especially when it comes to sex, and I just can't explain to him what I want him to do and vice versa.
I have tried many times to say things indirectly but have never been successful. I can't talk to him directly because I am very embarrassed. This has started to destroy our marriage, and now we generally prefer to sleep alone so that we don't have to have sex.
— S.O.S. IN THOUSAND OAKS, CALIF.
DEAR S.O.S.: If you want to save your marriage, you will need the assistance of an "interpreter" so you and your husband can communicate more fully. Please talk to your doctor and ask for a referral to a licensed, experienced sex therapist. (Because you find the topic of sex embarrassing to discuss, I recommend you consult a woman.)
Believe me, you are not the only couple to have this problem. In fact, so many others do that sex therapy is a specialty unto itself.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.