Dear Abby: My sister, "Sheila,' and I have not had the friendliest relationship over the last few years. Five years ago, we moved our mother to a wonderful assisted-living facility close to me as she aged. I was responsible for all her care decis...
My sister, "Sheila,' and I have not had the friendliest relationship over the last few years. Five years ago, we moved our mother to a wonderful assisted-living facility close to me as she aged. I was responsible for all her care decisions. I am a single, full-time shift worker at a hospital, while Sheila is very affluent and flies on a company jet.
When I received a phone call at work that Mom's end was near, I left immediately to be at her side. Mom was able to talk softly with me, and briefly with my sister on the phone. When the conversation ended, Sheila told me, "OK, I guess this is it,' and said goodbye, adding it was "bad timing,' since she had company coming.
I called Sheila on Mom's passing, two days later, to clarify notification of family and friends so there would be no duplication. She said she'd call only one family friend.
Sheila had friends visiting during that time and had planned an overnight suite and spa day at a five-star hotel in Beverly Hills on the same day Mom died, which she kept. Why do you think a daughter grieving her mother's passing would go to a health spa?
-- Still Furious in
Dear Still Furious:
Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your mother, which you still appear to be grieving. Perhaps it's time to let go of your anger and accept that everyone grieves in his or her own way. From your description of your sister's behavior, it appears she had emotionally distanced herself from her mother -- and possibly you -- long before your mother's actual passing. Letting go was easier for her than for you because she already had moved on.
How can I tell my dear husband of nearly 50 years that he talks too much? I have tried telling him that conversation is a two-way street, and that as we grow older we should talk less and listen more -- but his way of conversing is to tell long, involved stories, omitting not the slightest detail, and he will tell his life story to anyone who will listen.
I dread having dinner with friends and family now, knowing that at some point, he will begin to hold court and the other diners will sit with glazed eyes, smothering their yawns and glancing at their watches. I don't want to hurt his feelings, but this problem is getting worse and I need some advice.
If you print this, perhaps he will see himself and realize that others need to be involved in conversations. Please help!
-- Distressed in New
If your husband hasn't picked up on the social cues (glazed eyes and glances at watches) regarding his monologues, please do not count on him "seeing himself' in a letter in my column and realizing that it relates to him.
After nearly 50 years, you are long overdue for a frank talk with your spouse. And when you do, work out a signal you can give him to tell him when enough is enough. I hope it helps. But he's a little old to be learning social sensitivity. You may have to keep living with it and count your blessings for his virtues.
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