Coping with illness
Get over it
Since 2005, I have had my share of illness: cancer, heart disease, colo-rectal, dental, and deafness. Good grief. Throughout, my wife and daughter have provided inspiration to get over it, and I did.
It is amazing what close relationships can do to help recover from sickness, even the kind for which you may think there is no hope. But, there is hope.
My mother taught me about hope. She had it and never gave up. In the end, she died because as she said to me, “I don’t want to be old.” She was beautiful at age 63 and she left on that high note.
I had a birthday at 50 over ten years ago. All of our friends and family came to that birthday party in Alameda California. That one party is all that I needed to last a lifetime.
I am approaching another birthday this week, and I will think about the one I had at age 50. In the spirit of my mother, that is as old as I want to get. Every day, I strive to get back to being in the same condition I was then.
Walking 3.5 miles a day. Eating right. Not drinking so much. Doing what I can – painting and writing, it doesn’t get better than this.
Now, friends are showing up on Facebook that I have not seen or heard from for a long time. That is a good thing. I am very healthy at the moment and I am grateful for that. For my sick friends, I am with you in thought and will think positively for you.
“Ask Amy: Dying friend withdraws from relationship
I have been good friends with a woman for many decades. Last year she was diagnosed with cancer and immediately embarked on chemotherapy treatment.
I let her know I would be there for whatever she needed, and until recently our friendship didn’t seem to change. She had always been very active, and we continued to spend time together. I took my cue from her as to whether she wanted to talk about her illness and followed her lead.
Last month she got the news that her chemo was failing and that her situation seems terminal, and she suddenly ceased all communication with me — no answers to e-mails or phone messages.
I don’t know her other friends well enough to have contact information, so I don’t know if she has withdrawn from everyone.
She does have very strong, close family support in her siblings and grown children, so at least I know she’s not alone in this, and that’s a comfort.
But I can’t help but feel that she has abandoned me. Not knowing how she is, and not having contact information for her family (they all seem to be unlisted), I’m in the dark as to whether she’s at home or in hospice or what, and it’s breaking my heart.
She has other things on her mind, so I guess all I can do is continue to e-mail, send cards and post encouraging messages on her Facebook page. Any other suggestions?
Brokenhearted Old Friend
When facing the end of life, some people withdraw from all but a very small circle of people. You are right; this is heartbreaking, but this is what this individual wants and needs to do.
If you are in touch with your friend on Facebook, you should also be able to contact at least one of her family members through Facebook to see how she is. Remember that they are also in a crisis moment in their lives.
Messages to your friend should be warm and reminiscent.
Hospice care is a great gift to the dying and those who love them. A hospice counselor could speak with you, so at the very least you would understand the process in order not to take this personally, and to ease your own pain and feelings of loss. You can learn more and locate local hospice services through hospicenet.org.
I am a 65-year-old retired man. To keep busy until my wife retires, I work part time in a restaurant with people much younger than I.
One of these people is a young man in his late 20s. This man gets extremely drunk at least twice a week; usually three or four times a week.
I have tried inviting him to various activities that would keep him from drinking. He thanks me and declines.
I know his parents are aware of his drinking. They have taken away his driver’s license, and he does not have a car.
I have joked about his joining a 12-step program, and I have encouraged him to find outside activities instead of drinking. Is there anything else I can do?
You sound like a great guy, and you are trying to mentor a younger man. Good for you.
Stop joking about 12-step programs. Addiction and recovery are not joking matters. Instead, be a rock-steady example of sobriety and maturity.
Tell your friend you worry about him. Continue to invite him to spend time with you. Encourage him to choose sobriety, but know that he will not stop drinking until he is ready.
We have been invited to a 25th wedding anniversary for my wife’s brother and his wife..
I was wondering what sort of gift, if any, is appropriate for this occasion. I say we should just show up and celebrate. After all, we didn’t give them a gift the other 24 years!
This is a landmark anniversary for close relatives, and the couple is inviting you to celebrate along with them.
You should give them a gift, unless they have requested otherwise. A thoughtful, modest and fun gift would be a framed photo of them from their early relationship, along with a card of congratulations.
Write to Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.
2011 by the Chicago Tribune
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