Dear Readers – Not long ago, a woman wrote in telling me how much she enjoys both mine and my mother’s columns. She said that she and her husband read us every morning and discussed both the questions and the answers. As octogenarians, she remarked how many of the questions were topics she and her husband knew nothing about, while many were the same issues generation after generation.
She also remarked how good her husband was at being able to decipher who was writing based on the answer. And on Saturdays, her youngest granddaughter would wake up after her sleepover at their house and the three of them would discuss the columns. It brought them together as a family.
My mom and I were touched that our columns were being used to bring a family together in conversation. Sadly, that same woman recently wrote in that her husband suddenly passed away. Her son asked if she wanted to him to cancel the newspaper as he thought it was something his father was solely interested in. She told him no.
She wrote to tell me that her morning routine is the same, though she’s alone in the house, but that now one of her children, or grandchildren, almost always call her to discuss the columns.
We are so sorry for your loss, but pleased that we are part of your loving memories with your husband, that we are one thread weaving your family together, and that we help you get through each day without your beloved.
Last month, my sister came home from work to find her house half-empty. Her new husband (who she had married only five months before) had vacated. He had taken everything that was his, from his toiletries to his clothes, to his collection of sports memorabilia. He had even taken the sofa in the basement that he had brought from his bachelor apartment.
He didn’t touch anything of hers, or anything that they accumulated together in wedding presents, or furnishings for their fairly new home. He didn’t leave a letter or a forwarding address. Just a text saying, “I’m leaving.”
My sister is destroyed. She thought they were the newest, happiest couple around. They had a whirlwind romance; they got engaged quickly and bought a house together. Then they had a big wedding with friends and family flying in from around the world. For our gang, it was the first big celebration since the pandemic and everyone was in full glory to be together, and celebrate the happy couple.
She had no inkling of his unhappiness, or anything deceitful going on behind the scenes. She’s tried calling but he’s not responding. Besides the obvious emotional support, what can I do to help her?
What a horrible thing for your sister to have go through. Yes, you need to give her as much emotional support as you can. Spend time with her, offer to sleep over if that’s possible. Allow her the space and safety to run through the gamut of emotions that she will feel.
I also suggest you don’t bombard her with the practicalities of it all, as in divorce proceedings, finances, etc. Let her come around to these things on her own. She may turn her anger on you if you accidentally upset her.
You could, however, do some research and find out who she should speak to when she feels ready. She’ll need a divorce lawyer and a good accountant. She’ll also benefit from talking this through with a professional therapist. She will need help processing the perceived abandonment, rejection, and perhaps even self-imposed guilt.
Stand by your sister. She’ll need you.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who isn’t sure if a new friend’s attentions are a come-on or not (May 17):
Reader - "A come-on? This fun and vibrant woman squeezed your leg while the two of you had leaned in together giggling. I would not assume a come-on…. Why is that your go-to?
“But you cannot confide in your husband as he would be jealous and make fun?!? That’s your bigger problem right there.
“For the initial issue, how about you assume nothing untoward was meant, unless something else happens to make you think she is making sexual advances? Or, simply ask her if she was making a pass or not. If she wasn’t, you can keep giggling.
“As for your husband, maybe it’s time to have a frank discussion with him. It seems his attitude towards jealousy and homosexuality is an issue that should be dealt with.”