Dear Abby: Couple feels adrift after friend’s diagnosis
DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have dear friends, one of whom has been diagnosed with incurable cancer. Doctors told him to go home and maximize his quality of life. The first step he took was to cut us off completely.
We had been friends for years. They watched the big football games with us at home. When he was diagnosed, I was the first person outside of his family he called. They supported us when we renewed our vows. I cut cords of firewood for them. We traveled together.
Recently the woman posted on Facebook that when you get tested you find out who your friends really are. We were thrown aside like worn shoes.
My question is, upon his passing, if we find out, would it be appropriate to attend the funeral to say goodbye to this man we dearly love and offer our condolences to the widow? – ALREADY MOURNING IN KANSAS
DEAR ALREADY ENDULPLED: Everyone reacts differently after receiving a diagnosis like the one your friend received. Some people seek help, but a significant number do the opposite. They “circle the wagons,” which might be what this man did.
It would be interesting to know if his wife was aware of the message you received, because from what she posted she may not have been. I think it’s time to contact her privately and ask her how you can support her, if only for her. And yes, when he passes, you will have to pay homage to him and offer him your condolences. Funerals are for the living.
** ** **
DEAR ABBY: For several months, I have seen a man in his fifties who lost his last girlfriend, “Vera”, in a tragic accident. His death took place less than a year ago and he is still in mourning, which I respect and am not uncomfortable with. My beau has low self-esteem. He thinks that the relationship he had with Vera has made him a better person, and that without her he will be less so.
I understand his grief and that he needs more time to sort out his feelings but, if things work out with us and we continue to see each other, I want to know how I can also make him feel that i help her to be a better person. He says it was “just the relationship they had” and he doesn’t know how to put it into words.
I don’t want to replace Vera or copy her, but I wish I could understand what she did to help him believe positive things about himself. – NEW FRIEND IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
DEAR GIRLFRIEND: To figure this out, it would be helpful to see if he can explain the reason for his low self-esteem. Were they hypercritical parents? Difficulty integrating with his peers that started when he was in school? Not getting enough positive feedback in your youth?
Once you gain a better understanding, you may be able to find the answers you are looking for. Both partners in a relationship should use their attributes to feel positive. However, please recognize that it should not be your responsibility to support it on an ongoing basis.
** ** **
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.