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Family drama ruining special family heirloom

Dear Annie: My mother very sadly passed away in January from cancer. She had a ring of my grandfather’s that was very special to her, and I wanted to have it because I knew how much it meant to her. My stepfather gave it to me.

Now, last week, my grandmother (her mother) who has pretty much always made both my mother and me feel like second-class citizens in our family, called and asked me if I had the ring. I told her that I did. She went on to tell me basically that she never wanted my mother to have the ring. It was meant for my uncle but that she knew he wouldn’t wear it, so she let my mom have it.

Then she suggested that I give it to my aunt, from whom both my mother and I are estranged. And this is the aunt who didn’t do anything to fix her estrangement from my mom when she was sick with cancer. I told her I would not give it to my aunt. I told her it was very special to me because it was special to my mother.

My grandmother then went on to suggest that I give it to my aunt’s son. She didn’t actually ask me to, but she tried to manipulate me into it. They had the same name, etc. I didn’t take the bait on that either.

Now, I’m left feeling as though I don’t even want this ring. She took something special and ruined it for me. I am thinking of selling it because I am so mad and, honestly, because I want to spite her. I’m disgusted. What do you think I should do? I feel like she ruined any positive feeling I had about the ring. The ring will always make me think of how she called to tell me she never wanted my mom to have it in the first place when it was such a special ring to my mom. — Furious Over a Ring

Dear Furious: First off, I am very sorry about the loss of your mother. It sounds like the two of you had a really special bond.

Secondly, your grandmother sounds like a very unhappy person. Talk about “yucking someone’s yum.” Here, you took a beautiful ring that reminded you of your mother and wore it, feeling a bit of comfort during what would be a hard time for anyone.

Selling it to “get back at your grandmother” would only hurt you in the end. Allow time to heal these fresh wounds. Consider putting the ring away in a safe place for a while as you process some of this grief. Think about your mom wearing the ring and how much she loved it. Try to channel those initial positive feelings you felt for the ring. Sometimes we get fixated on a material object — or another person — in order to avoid sadness that needs to be expressed. The pain you’re experiencing from the loss of your mother could be compounding your anger with your grandmother.

After a year of grieving, with a fresh set of eyes and some distance from this situation and the harsh words, look at the ring once more. My guess is that you will fall in love with it all over again.

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“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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