Dear Abby: I am a widower in my mid-80s and have met a lovely widow, “Diane,” also in her 80s. What started as a “let’s do lunch” friendship has developed into a close, affectionate relationship. Neither of us wants to take this to the next level, but we do want to spend as much time together as we can in the years left to us. We have a very active social life with friends and with Diane’s family who live in the same town.
My daughters, who live in another city and rarely visit, profess to like her and say they are happy that I have someone in my life. But they have asked that I be sensitive to their feelings of loss for my late wife, who died four years ago. They don’t want me to share what we do and where we go, which is hard when Diane is such a part of my life.
My problem is Diane and I want to spend a weekend in the city in which my children live to attend the theater. We will be sharing a hotel room. Do we tell them our plans and that we would like to see them while there, or not? Diane isn’t comfortable going behind their backs, but she also doesn’t want to cause a rift in my family. Neither do I. What would you advise?
Your daughters have told you they don’t want you to share what you do with your lady friend and where you go, and I am advising you to abide by their wishes. If word should get back to them that you were in town and they ask about it, be honest. And please, live every moment of your life to the fullest in the time God allows, and don’t permit your family to diminish one minute of it.
Dear Abby: My older sister and I are very close to our “Aunt Lil.” She has always jokingly told us we are “her children, too” because she never had any of her own and was active in our lives growing up.
Aunt Lil is in her late 60s and in declining health. Now single, she smokes two packs of cigarettes a day, but counts it only as one because they are slims. She also has high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.
The other day, while visiting with my mom, Aunt Lil started complaining about getting older and said how thankful she is to have my sister and me to take care of her when she’s too old to take care of herself. The two of us gave each other the “Not me … you!” look.
While we love her dearly, when the time comes, Aunt Lil will be off to a nursing home or have private home health care. Should we approach this with her now or wait and blindside her if/when it becomes an issue?
Having been so close to you and your sister since you were children, I can understand why Aunt Lil might have expected some kindness in return. However, because the two of you aren’t up to the task, she should be told now. It may provide an incentive for her to take better care of her health. Even if it doesn’t, it may spur her to think about her assets and planning for her care or supervision should she need it in the future. Because you don’t want the bother, suggest she involve another trusted family member or a social worker to watch out for her if she’s no longer competent to manage her affairs.
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.