I wrote to you on May 18 about witnessing an upset mother screaming at her kids; I’m learning to be less of a bystander. Recently, I came across a different situation that I'm unsure how to handle.
Travelling home on a public city bus in the evening, a younger woman sitting at an angle in front of me was stealth vaping. While producing no visible vapours, I detected a fruity smell behind my mask.
I said nothing at first, but when she did it again I spoke up, requesting her to stop. She completely ignored me and took some more puffs despite repeating my request.
Not wanting to cause a scene, I moved to the back of the half-full bus to avoid her. Should I have brought that to the driver's attention? What do I do with someone who obviously has no respect for others, let alone regards for any rules? No one else seemed to care and I didn't want to be the bad guy causing delays to other passengers.
Good for you for being less of a bystander and for speaking up! Your decision to move to the back of the bus was a smart choice; you took yourself out of the equation. But yes, upon leaving the bus, I would have said something to the bus driver.
By doing so, you may have been helping other people who were uncomfortable but didn’t have the same courage to speak up.
You weren’t going to change this young woman’s attitude or behaviour on that bus ride but, by bringing it to the driver’s attention, he/she could have done something. What, I don’t know; but you would have had a voice and felt heard.
I hope you keep learning and growing from your experiences. Keep me posted.
My sister-in-law died suddenly, leaving my brother with three small children to look after on his own. Our parents are both deceased.
I live across the country, but want to help. My husband and I both work from home and only have one much older child who is away at university. There’s really nothing stopping us from moving, even just temporarily, to help out my family; but my husband is refusing.
My brother needs me, as do my nieces and nephew. He was never a stay-at-home parent and my sister-in-law was amazing! She had a big career but was able to stay home when the children were wee and managed her family incredibly. She was the spine of the family and, without her, my brother is lost.
I know she would be so appreciative of my stepping in to help him get on track, find systems of his own and bridge the transition smoothly. I know it’s the right thing to do. How do I get this message across to my husband so that he joins me, both physically and supportively?
You sit him down and tell him exactly what you’ve just told me. Tell him, from the heart, that this feels like the right thing to do in your gut. But it doesn’t have to be so finite.
I gather finances aren’t an issue; if that’s the case, perhaps renting something small, close to your brother for the short term, is the right move.
Ask your husband to come with you to get settled and see the situation. If he insists on staying on the opposite coast, agree for now, with set times for togetherness, i.e., once a month visits etc.
You don’t want to jeopardize your own relationship while grieving and helping your brother.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man who “just misses his mom” (Sept. 6):
Reader – “There are other ways to interact with Mom during a visit. The letter writer might be able to stay with friends in town for a few days. Go to the park for a picnic. Take mom out for dinner, bingo or to the local Legion to play cards. Go for a drive in the country. Take a bus tour. Ask her what she'd like to do outside her home?
“I never understand why people stay at other people's homes unless they are really close friends. It's often so stressful with nowhere to go when you need a break. Visit for a few hours. That's happy, quality time making memories.
Lisi – Thank you so much for these great ideas! You’re right – he doesn’t need to visit her inside her house. It’s not the where that matters – and if the where is the problem, as it is in this case, take it out of the equation. Brilliant!