DEAR ABBY: My 83-year-old mother has decided she wants to die. She says she's miserable, but I think she's causing her own misery. She has medications to address her physical ailments -- none of which are critical. My siblings live in other states. Mom feels it's a "burden" for them to travel to see her, and she refuses to travel.
Mom is in assisted living and is now refusing to bathe, trying not to eat, and doesn't want to talk to anyone or have visitors. She's obviously depressed, but refuses counseling. If she continues being uncooperative, I'm afraid she'll have to go to a nursing home where they might let her starve herself to death.
One sister says I should force Mom to do fun things, but I don't know what she wants. We used to go out to eat, but she no longer wants to do that. I have tried to honor Mom's wishes, but I'm at a loss about what to do for her. Do you have any suggestions? -- ALMOST AT WITS' END
Since the current generation is so fixated on their individual rights and freedoms, perhaps you should take them at their word. Since no one is allowed to dictate how someone lives their life, gay or straight, religious or atheist, pro/anti abortion, you have no ground to stop your mother from killing herself.
But, if you are like myself and do not believe in the garbage of moral relativity, then perhaps a little reverse psychology is in order. Tell her that if she truly does not want to live, then maybe she should spend her last days enjoying life instead of being in misery and hungry all the time. Force her on a goodby tour, and plan on having her do "just one more thing" that you know she'll like. Even help her come up with her own. Have her tell off someone who always bugged her. What has she got to lose? That should be the go to: "what have you got to lose. You're going to die anyway. Why not do this..."
In the end, though, it is her choice.
DEAR ABBY: I dated my ex for six years, but we broke up recently. The problem is, we signed a lease on our apartment that won't be up until next year. He still lives here, and I don't have the heart to kick him out. Financially, our living together makes sense, and I'd rather live with him than with a stranger.
Abby, this living arrangement has made it tough to get over him. Our breakup was amicable -- somewhat -- and we remain civil to each other. I have no desire to get back together with him. I just find it hard because I'm not sure how to survive this weird situation I'm in. Is it a good idea to keep living together? -- REMAINING CIVIL IN CANADA
Dear Remaining Civil,
Yeah. So very Canadian. I had something like this happen to me. Financially it was the best thing. In the long run? Bite the bullet: get out, get out now. The money you lose will be worth it. If you truly are stuck, make every minute be outside the apartment unless you need to sleep or shower. And I can not stress this enough: DO NOT HANG OUT! When you break up, you should cut off almost all contact for at least six months. This isn't being a bitch, this is allowing your brain and body chemistry to re-adapt and be able to make choices and decisions that do not involve another person. Sure, some people may say that this is not the mature way of doing things. Maturity is knowing when to be responsible. You have a responsibility to your own mental health.
DEAR ABBY: My new husband's family informed him they were coming to visit us for seven to 10 days. This was eight relatives, and I was not asked whether this was convenient or not. They were so noisy that our neighbors finally asked, "When are they leaving?"
How can I prevent this from happening again in the future without offending anyone? My husband said after they had left, "You don't handle chaos and confusion well, do you?" -- NEEDS TO BE CONSULTED IN GEORGIA
Are you running a B&B or a hotel? Tell him the next time he thinks it's okay for eight people to stay for ten days, that you are going to slash his beer budget and charge for clean towels and meals.
"My home is your home" has a caveat. A home is run by people in a relationship. A relationship does not work without communication. Doing something without the other person being made aware is not communication, and therefore not a relationship. Tell him "If you love me, you will talk to me, to make sure that I'm taken care of, in our home. Our family first."
Or make him sleep on the couch if it happens again.