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Reality Check

Dear Hannah,

When I moved to Vancouver from the East Coast, my idea was to become closer to my daughter, her husband and her infant son. Ten years later, I am 80 years old, and our relationship is very strained. She has trouble balancing her career and her role of wife and mother. They have moved to a far suburb. There have been some nasty outbursts on her part which lead me to feel that she harbours resentments and criticisms of me which date from the distant past. I see her once in a while, and only for a short time. I am disappointed and worried about what the future may bring if my health fails. I have two other sons. My older son, his wife and two children in Toronto are very fond of me and express love and affection towards me. I do not want to be in a senior residence without visits from family members. Can you sort this out?

Dear “Reality Check,”

This realization has got to be difficult for you; facing up to the reality of unfulfilled expectations and hopes; and dealing with the consequences. It is high time for a “Reality Check.” I presume that you have done the best you can to improve your relationship with your daughter during these past 10 years. Sometimes some people cannot get over their negative past experiences and they allow them to interfere with present relationships. It would seem that your daughter does not like you, and you quite reasonably assume that she would not take the time or energy to be supportive and loving if you were in need of her. Your intuition is solid, I agree with you.

Before you become infirm or frail, you must come up with a plan. I suggest you speak to your son in Toronto and explain the situation with your daughter. It sounds like he loves and cares for you. There are senior residences in Toronto and he would probably be thrilled to have you living nearby. The important thing is to talk about it now, and create a tentative plan for the future. You must be pro-active in regards to your future health and happiness. I sense that you have the courage and fortitude to face this new reality.