DEAR ANNIE: Thirty years ago, my husband's sister-in-law made a pass at him. They worked at the same place, so when he turned her down, she made his life a living hell. He ended up quitting the job, and we left town. She and my brother-in-law are divorced now, but we see her occasionally at family gatherings.
This woman has been hospitalized twice for breakdowns. Most of the family is cordial to her, knowing that a lot of what she did in the past was due to her illness. When her meds are working and she is feeling stable, she reaches out to those she has hurt to make amends. She reached out to my husband, tearfully admitting that she knows she is the reason we left, and has asked for forgiveness.
She now thinks everything is just fine. The problem is, she has never reached out to me to apologize for the way she upended my life. She doesn't know my husband told me what happened. Even after all these years, I have a hard time smiling and pretending everything is hunky-dory.
I have forgiven her, but forgetting is something else, and every time I see her, the old anger comes back. My husband agrees that nothing would be gained by bringing these things up again. Any suggestions for moving past this in a positive way? -- Wronged but Silent in Wisconsin
DEAR WRONGED: You haven't actually forgiven her, because her presence still makes you angry. If you believe an apology from her would make a difference, you should calmly let her know. But if you don't think it matters one way or the other, please consider talking this through with a professional who can help you let go of the past completely.
DEAR READERS: Happy Valentine's Day to one and all, along with our special good wishes to the veterans in VA hospitals around the country. And our particular thanks to those readers who have taken the time to send valentines, visit the vets and volunteer at VA facilities. Bless each and every one of you.
To write to Holiday Mathis, go to creators.com and click on "Write the Author" on the Holiday Mathis page.