OPINION: Dear Abby

Two of mother’s sons have turned their backs on her

DEAR ABBY: Eight years ago, my oldest son, a police officer, quit talking to us. We had no fights, no arguments -- he just stopped answering our calls, and I no longer was allowed to see my grandchildren. As the year progressed, he also alienated his sister and brothers. For the next three years, I continued trying to contact him or my daughter-in-law, who I also thought I was close to, but they wouldn't return my calls. Then they moved, and I had no new address for them.

Now, years later, my youngest son (also a police officer) has done the same thing! One minute, he was on the phone laughing and talking with us -- then he called back, yelling about sticking up for his ex-wife (who we don't talk to and never disparaged) and hung up! I called him back and told him how disrespectful it was, and that we have had no contactwith her. He, too, won't return our calls.

My oldest has been on steroids, and I believe my youngest may be taking them now. I have gotten over the loss of the oldest, as it has been eight years, but my baby is breaking my heart. Do I keep calling? He doesn't live here in town, but I could go to his home and try to reason with him.

My two other children are also stunned and hurt about how their brothers treat us. We have always been good parents. We had a loving family, filled with God and fun. I'm sure it's the steroids, but I still don't know how far to push it. It's like a switch just flipped in our lives.

-- Completely Thrown

in Nevada

DEAR COMPLETELY THROWN: You and your husband have my sympathy. If your daughter and middle son are in touch with their youngest brother, they could ask what has caused this estrangement, and intervene. However, there are no guarantees it will work.

I will point out that while some steroids are legal, others must be prescribed by a physician because they can be dangerous. Anabolic steroids -- a prescription drug sometimes misused by bodybuilders to promote skeletal muscle building and improve athletic performance -- can cause side effects, including "'roid rage," a state in which the user becomes extremely volatile and aggressive. If you are correct about your two sons in law enforcement, it is truly regrettable and could possibly cost them their careers.

DEAR ABBY: I have a close friend who is like a brother to me. He has no family, and we are his only friends who don't live across the country. During holidays, my friend is always alone. My family does not welcome him to holiday dinners, so I'm always torn. I want him to celebrate with us and don't want to leave him sitting alone at my house awaiting our return. Would I be wrong to spend the holidays with him instead of with my family, which has lots of people?

-- Torn Heart in Pennsylvania

DEAR TORN HEART: I wish you had mentioned why your family is unwilling to include your friend in some of those celebrations. Whatever their reason, because leaving your friend alone dampens your enjoyment, consider alternating the holidays instead of skipping all the ones your family hosts.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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