My brother passed away 12 days before Christmas from brain cancer. He was 43, and I was very close to him.
I’d promised myself that if anything happened to him or my adult children, I’d get a tattoo. I don't have any; it’d be meaningful to me.
My boyfriend of five months is against it. He feels that tattoos look "trashy."
I suggested a heart with my brother’s initials, over my heart.
My boyfriend said he wouldn't like that. I then suggested having the two initials on my right-hand ring finger (not a big tattoo).
My kids and my friends were supportive of the idea.
I was going to compromise by getting a ring, but it’s not the same to me.
I know I shouldn't make any decisions right now because I’m thinking emotionally, not logically.
I love my boyfriend and he says that he loves me.
I have enough stress right now and I’ve offered to not talk about it anymore.
Yes, it’s my body and I get the final say, but I don't want to lose him or affect our relationship or love life.
Allow yourself to grieve for longer.
This is no time for a decision that seems to matter so much, though differently, to you both.
Your emotions are triply roiled by the loss of your brother, the sentimental time of year, and worry about risking your relationship.
Sorrow creates the urge to do something “meaningful” but that can take many forms… a tattoo, a memory book of photos and anecdotes of times shared, or a donation to brain cancer research is another choice.
Yes, it’s your body. And five months is still a short relationship so far. Yet, if you want it to last and believe it’ll be an equal, respectful relationship, his sensitivities matter too.
Decide when you’re certain how you want to honour your brother’s life.
A year ago, I became close with a man I knew through other friends. My husband passed away five years ago; this man’s wife passed two years ago. He’s 77, and I’m 58.
He has pictures of his wife all over his home, and visits the cemetery 15-16 times per month.
He says he’ll remove the pictures when I come over, but I know he’ll probably put them back after I leave.
We live 300 miles apart, talk on the phone regularly, and make time to get together.
He says he loves me and wants to be with me, and I love him, but I can't deal with the pictures and the visits to the cemetery.
Am I overreacting?
Curious in Chicago
It’s too soon to know if you’re overreacting.
Given that he’s uncomfortable while living on his own to remove these photos, his behaviour isn’t that unusual.
Also, if he has adult children he may feel even more uncomfortable removing the photos until he’s definitely moved on e.g. you two living together or visiting for long periods as a couple.
Everyone deals with losing a life partner differently. Some clear the closets right away, others go to the cemetery to reflect on the past while they adjust to the present.
He says he loves you, which means he wants a future.
If you two start making firmer plans, that’s when to mention your preference for the photos to be stored away, and for the cemetery visits to be less frequent.
(Go with him at least once, to acknowledge his previous life, as he should do with you, if you want deeper closeness).
My eldest daughter, 24, works in a daycare and lives at home.
She doesn't budget well because she feels entitled to spend because she “worked hard all week.”
Yet she takes my car because I work at home, she pays no rent, and suppers are provided.
And she goes to her boyfriend from Friday through Sunday.
I ask for help one day weekly, with the bigger chores like vacuuming.
I tell her to move out, but I worry about her finances.
Am I being too picky?
Lead her towards independence as a goal.
Work on a budget with her and see where she can save towards renting her own place. Unfortunately, day care workers are generally underpaid.
If possible, match her savings for six months, or, if you can’t, “boost” them on her birthday and occasions.
Discuss her moving out as a definite goal, but if there’s no crisis, don’t over-stress either of you.
Tip of the day:
Allow time for grief before making important decisions.