Ask Amy: Sibling ponders sharing sister's notebook

FresnoAugust 7, 2013 

Dear Amy: My dear sister took her own life nine years ago at age 45, having suffered from mental illness for most of her adult life.

When she was 20, my sister married a man who had little compassion and his own drug problems. They had two children and then divorced. The kids were estranged for a time from their mom, but the last few years of her life she had a pretty good relationship with her children.

Soon after her death, I received a notebook of items belonging to my sister. Among them are notes she kept, per advice from her divorce lawyer, concerning her ex-husband. There are notes taken that are not complimentary about her ex.

There are also recommendations that were given to my sister that say lovely things about her, as well as cards and pictures. I wish to send this whole notebook to her adult daughter (she's 31).

Should I edit this notebook, taking out things that are not complimentary of this adult child's father? Or should I send everything?

What do you say?

— Missing my sis

Dear Missing: Records gathered and kept during a relationship's lowest point (divorce) represent a perspective designed to present one person's most negative behavior. Because your sister is gone and can't edit her personal papers, you have to ask yourself, "What purpose will sharing this serve?"

In this case, I think you should edit the notebook, pass the material about your sister to her daughter, and let her know that you have redacted portions having to do with their divorce. If she wishes to see them, share them with her.

Dear Amy: I am leaving in a few weeks to study abroad for a semester in England. I'm ecstatic.

For the past 10 months I've been dating a great guy who is supportive about my going abroad.

I wasn't worried either, until one of my professors told me that two-thirds of all relationships fail when one partner goes abroad.

Amy, I don't want this to fail.

Any advice for keeping the relationship strong? His visiting is not an option, but I know technology will be a godsend.

— Long distance love

Dear Long Distance: A separation of limited duration is easily survivable. You and your guy should have a standing Skype date a couple of times a week, and you can easily email updates and photos back and forth. Sending letters is also a great way to share your own experience.

Technology collapses distances.


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