Dear Abby: I recently learned that the husband of a friend of mine has cancer. She shared the information with me during our last meeting. I was shocked and hardly knew how to respond. She is not a close friend, but we are fond of each other and enjoy getting together for a drink every now and then.
I want to let her know that I’m thinking of her and that I’m available if she needs anything, but I’m afraid of saying something cliched or insensitive. What is the most tactful way to do this?
Contact your friend. Tell her you were shocked by the news she gave you, which may have been a cry for help. Make a point of staying in touch by calling to ask how she and her husband are doing.
Tell her you know she may be overwhelmed, and volunteer to bring food if she’s too busy or stressed to cook, run errands for her or even do the laundry if her hands are full with caregiving. I can almost guarantee that if you do, you and this lady will be close friends in the future regardless of the outcome of her husband’s illness.
Dear Abby: I’m a 48-year-old woman. Occasionally, I suffer from night sweats and have had a couple of hot flashes.
My husband enjoys turning on the mattress heater in our bed. He has turned my side on by mistake a few times, which caused me to roast and have an uncomfortable night. Even when he heats only his side it’s too hot for me. I wake up sweating and see him lying naked, with all his covers flipped onto me!
I have suggested he cuddle with me if he’s cold. But he insists on using the electric heater. I don’t see any reason to waste the electricity, especially when it makes me uncomfortable. I am thinking about separate beds. Please help.
Separate beds might be a good idea. That’s a practical solution for some couples. But before making the investment, have a talk with your doctor about your hot flashes (if you haven’t already), because they may be caused by hormonal changes in your body, and he or she may be able to recommend a medication that can help with them.
Dear Abby: What do you think of people who show up at graveside services for “family only”?
Recently, a friend passed away. She didn’t want a funeral. The family announced there would be a service at the grave for family only, followed by a small reception for family and friends.
Well, some of the “friends” showed up at the service anyway. One of them stated, “But she was like a sister to me!” I felt it was an intrusion.
The family was gracious enough that they didn’t let these people know their presence wasn’t welcomed. What do you think, Abby?
Oh, my. Of course it was an intrusion. The person who was conducting the service should have spoken up and “reminded” the attendees that the interment was for family only so the family wouldn’t be placed in an awkward position.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.