Dear Amy:

At a recent gathering of friends and family, my brother groped my adult daughter. This man has long had an alcohol-abuse problem. When my husband and I heard about the incident, we called my brother and -- not too kindly -- suggested that he get counseling, explaining that this behavior was unacceptable. We let him know that we were extremely unhappy.

Our daughter is furious with us, and I can't understand why I feel so miserable. When he is not drinking, he is really a wonderful guy.

To my knowledge this has never happened before. I can't understand why doing the right thing is causing me so much pain.

Any input?

Susan From Miami

Has it occurred to you that you might be in pain because you HAVEN'T done the right thing?

Suggesting that your brother should get counseling and noting that he is a really wonderful guy when he isn't drinking doesn't quite cut it. Assuming that your daughter's story is correct and as appalling as it sounds, I marvel at your restraint. I'm sure your daughter wonders why you and your husband weren't more outraged and specific in your response to your brother's behavior.

You should tell your brother that he is no longer welcome in your home and that if you see him at a gathering, you will leave. Tell him that if he manages to get and stay sober and commences to apologize to your whole family, you will consider spending time with him and allowing him to be soberly wonderful. Then you should apologize to your daughter. I think you let her down.

Dear Amy:

In response to "Recent Widow," who was furious with relatives and friends who wanted to take something of her late husband's, I'd like to remind her that perhaps these folks are doing so out of the goodness of their hearts and the loss they, too, have experienced.

Many people like a small memento to remind them of someone they have lost.

When my beloved Nana died, I visited her house 500 miles away, where she lived with my aunt and uncle. My aunt was kind enough to let me take something, and I chose a unique knickknack that she had loved.

For you to recommend that these visiting "vultures" shouldn't "let the door hit them on the backside on the way out" is absurd. I'm sure they were well meaning, and does she really want to alienate the very folks who are there to help her through her loss?


I didn't call these people "vultures," the letter-writer did. As long as she felt that way and as long as she didn't want to part with any of her husband's things, she shouldn't have to.

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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