I am estranged from my sister, whom I love dearly. The reason goes back many years. When I was 13, her husband got me drunk and molested me. While I never forgot, I did repress it - possibly due to my age.
Time went on. I thought I had moved on and life would continue as usual. Well, five years ago, the trauma erupted inside me. My therapist thinks that possibly what triggered it was becoming a grandmother.
I cannot talk to my sister's husband, let alone look at him. The sight of him makes me physically ill, which is obvious to everyone. Exposing him would devastate my sister, her family, and our extended family.
I am praying for guidance and the strength to forgive him, but it's not working, and neither is therapy. I am now regarded as the "bad guy" and left isolated with no one except my amazing husband. My own kids are skeptical and think I am destroying our family. Advice, Abby?
- So Lost in the Midwest
DEAR SO LOST: Because keeping quiet and talking to a therapist haven't helped you, I will suggest another route for healing. Call your family together. Tell them exactly what happened when you were 13 and that you can no longer keep quiet about it.
At the same time, contact a rape crisis center because at 13, even if you were drunk and consented to what your brother-in-law did, you were underage and a victim of statutory rape. If your family accuses you of making this up, invite them to some of your counseling sessions with the rape counselor. With the help of that person, you may be able to help them see the light.
No one to leave his musical instruments to
DEAR ABBY: I was a professional musician most of my life and loved every second of it. While I still do production work and an occasional performance, I no longer tour or need the money from the shows.
I own several instruments that are my most prized possessions, and have many precious memories associated with them. They are worth several thousand dollars. I cannot think of anyone to leave them to who might appreciate them.
None of my heirs are musical, and I'm estranged from my only child, a son in his early 40s. If he inherited them, he'd sell them and squander the money before the last chorus. The same is true of my only grandchild.
I'm in my early 60s, healthy, active, and don't plan on going anywhere anytime soon. But eventually - when I do - I want these most important items to go where they will be played well and appreciated.
- Quandary in California
DEAR Q.I.C.: How about donating your instruments to a program that keeps music alive in schools with underfunded music programs nationwide? An organization to consider is the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation. It gives economically disadvantaged youth access to the benefits of music education, and helps them to be better students and express their emotions and creativity through playing music. The foundation also has a fund called Music Rising that helps school music programs after natural disasters. The website is mhopus.org. If you check it out, I'm sure you will find it interesting.