As we are all at the age where we are losing parents, I have attended funerals, contributed to flower arrangements, and sent donations and cards of condolence to these friends when their parents have died.
When my father died, our family was blessed with an outpouring of love and celebration in the hometown.
However, not one of my local friends, whom I had considered some of my best friends, did anything to acknowledge my loss.
Yes, there were texts and Facebook messages. But nothing on a personal level — not even a phone call.
I am absolutely heartbroken that these "friends" have virtually ignored my heartache.
This is not the first time I've experienced this imbalance in our friendships, and I'm not sure how to deal with this so that I can heal and not become bitter.
Can you give me some guidance?
Hurt and Sad
Hurt and Sad: You are thoughtful, affectionate, sincere and caring when you respond to others. You show up.
My theory is that your exemplary behavior is a reflection of the close, loving and devoted relationship you had with your own parents. You empathize with those who face great loss because you love (and have been loved) so well. Your parents may have also modeled this humane behavior.
Like you, I am at a loss-marked stage of life. And I’d like to state, unequivocally, that showing up as a witness to someone else’s loss is a vital expression of our own humanity. Frankly, in retrospect I would trade any number of the weddings I’ve attended to be there for (and with) friends in their grief.
Yes, you probably appreciate a text from your local friends. No, it is not enough for you to feel comforted.
But here’s the rub. First of all, they didn’t know your father personally. And unfortunately, modern life has removed many of us from the important rituals surrounding death. We are emotionally estranged.
Also, people don’t always behave well, especially surrounding events where they can rightly claim that they “don’t know what to do.” Can you understand this, and — while you might not forget their lapses — forgive these people for being so flawed?
I hope you will continue to be available to people in their own time of need. This is one (additional) way to honor the memory of your parents. They raised you very well.
Dear Amy: I have a food allergy. It sucks! I used to love the food that I am now allergic to.
I've been in a relationship for three years, and my guy is mostly good about my allergy.
I also have a few foods I just plain don't like.
My partner will sometimes put all of these foods — the one I'm allergic to, and the ones I don't like — in the same category. He complains that he can't eat foods containing my allergen, but also these other foods as well. I end up feeling like it is both my fault for my allergy and the other few foods that repulse me.
I try to make sure we eat delicious meals from all over the world. I just get so upset when he starts talking to me about food in this way. He also gets upset.
I don't care at all if he eats these things without me, but he acts like he can't and that I am to blame. How do I talk about this constructively with him?
Not Hungry: I don’t see the need for a constructive conversation here. Your guy is being a baby. You should say to him, “Honey, aside from my one allergy, no one is stopping you from eating anything. Go to the store, get some recipes, and go crazy. You have my blessing!”
Dear Amy: Oh, I saw red when I read the question from "Frustrated," whose guy was keeping her — and their children — a secret from his other (older) children. Thank you for pointing out how damaging this is, not only to the adult, but especially to the children.
Red Reader: I don’t often recommend that people leave a relationship where there are children involved, but . . . I think she needs to get out.