Carolyn Hax

(Nick Galifianakis for The Washington Post)
  Enlarge Photo    
By Carolyn Hax
Thursday, July 2, 2009

While I'm away, readers give the advice.

On the merits -- yes, merits -- of breaking up via e-mail:

Allow me to endorse e-mail breakups, for the reason that they offer more privacy to the person being -- how shall I say? -- dumped. I've been on both sides and I would have appreciated the opportunity not to show my misery to the cause of my misery. I also felt intrusive when I was on the other side, watching someone else lose his composure when he got news he would rather not have heard.

However, an e-mail breakup should always come with an OFFER of a face-to-face meeting if he or she who was dumped wants one, and the offer to answer questions by the medium of the victim's choice. More dignity all around, I think.


On spinning one's grief into gold:

Before my mom died, I used to send her tons of cards for Mother's Day. It started as a response to a card I had sent when I was a preteen. When I got to the store it was really late, so I just picked up any old card. The greeting turned out to read: "You've Been Just Like a Mother to Me."

My mom cracked up, and immediately it became a family joke. So after that I would send humorous, serious and pop-up cards to her on Mother's Day.

After mom died, I decided to send a note to as many mothers, or people who had been like a mother to me, as possible. It was a good time to catch up with the aunts, girlfriends and women who meant something to me. I feel like I celebrate my mom with each card.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2009 The Washington Post Company