Dear Diamond to Wringing Hands

By Diamond | Dec 08, 2016

Dear Diamond,

We have a family member who should not be driving right now. He has been waiting for an organ transplant for a few years and is on blood thinners. At a recent family gathering, which he had to get a ride to because he was too weak to drive alone, he told me that his doctor said he could have a stroke at any moment. This is all bad enough…

Here is the dilemma: His car’s transmission blew and he is without a car to get to his doctor appointments. My sister had bought him this car a few years ago for $3,000. Just a few weeks ago I put brakes on his car. And my other brother paid the mechanic for another problem with that car. We’ve put in about a thousand dollars into the car in the last two months. Now it’s broken down completely. He’s asked us if we can rent him a car or lease him a car. At first I thought it might be a good idea. But now I’m thinking that it’s not responsible to have him driving at all. A couple of times a month he has to drive two hours to get to his doctors. Three times a week he has to drive 40 minutes away.

There is an almost free door-to-door bus service where he lives that will take him to any hospital he needs to go to. There is also Uber and Lyft where he lives. When I mentioned finding rides for him, he got all alarmed and said he would be trapped without a car. He is frantic and I am not sure what to do now. I’m afraid that he’s mad and now I’m in the position of being the bad guy. He is flat broke. He also lives a few states away from the rest of us. He has refused to move near his kids or any of us family to make it easier to help him. He wants it all his way and we work and can’t cater to his wants. He should not be driving, wants a car, but has no money for a car or the expenses that go along with a car. And we all live far away from him.

We are so frustrated about this. Please advise.

- Wringing hands

 

Dear Wringing hands,

What your brother needs and what he wants are two different things. It’s one thing if he doesn’t want any help at all, but he is holding you hostage with his insistence on a car. And you feel guilty for saying no. You can’t make him move, but you don’t have to buy him a car.

For rides, check to see if Uber or Lyft is available in his area. Or Dial-a Ride Transportaion (DART) If not, then try the National Council on Aging (ncoa.org). There are phone numbers that you can call to ask about transportation volunteers in his area. You may set up an account with Uber for him or Lyft has gift cards that are available only at participating Starbucks.

Ask yourself, are you trying to help him or ease your own conscience? Are you trying to help him for his good or for your own peace of mind? It’s time to let this go. He wants to do it all on his terms, but you have to say no on this. You know it’s not right to buy him a car when he shouldn’t be on the road right now.

Recognize that this is your stuff, not your brother's. You are ‘wringing your hands’ because you are caught between being an enabler and feeling guilty about trying to do what you know is the right thing. He wants what he wants; your job is to figure out what you want. If any readers have wisdom or experience about this topic, please chime in.

With grace and peace,

Diamond

 

A reader’s comment:

Dear Diamond,

Sad to say, I have a beef with you over the column about holiday table talk (11/17). You got an upset letter from a woman whose sister voted for Trump and she was not looking forward to seeing the sister, then one from a gay man whose brother won’t talk to him. Your answer started with the rather argument-inciting, “Would you rather be right or be loved?” I don’t see, in either of those letters, anyone claiming to be “right,” especially from the second person. But I kept reading, only to see the very judgmental word “pontificating” in your response to, presumably, both of them. Now, I see nothing about pontificating his views to his brother in the second letter, and only a very real difference of opinion in the first, rather than the kind of high-horse know-it-all-tone that pontificate means, nor anything about either of them insisting that others “share their choices.” And by the end of your response, I noticed that you specifically addressed the paragraph to the gay brother and didn’t even mention the upset sister. I think you really dropped the ball on this one with a very superficial response to deep divides. What message does that answer send? To me it sounds like for the sake of peace, those two people, and anyone else who is kind of an outsider in his or her own family, should never, ever actually deal with the problem, but should exist only on the surface of the web that is family. And I do know very personally what I am talking about, and not until I really put my foot down did my family situation make a sharp u-turn and begin to resolve.

Advice appearing in Dear Diamond is for entertainment only and does not reflect the views of Courier Publications or its editorial boards. This column is not intended to replace the services of medical, financial or legal professionals.

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Email: deardiamond@courierpublicationsllc.com

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