Ask Goldie - May 2007

By Goldie Carlow

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Dear Goldie:

My wife died two years ago from heart disease. We had been married 40 years, both working and raised and educated three children. We were a happy, loving family and had a comfortable life. Our son and daughter gave us three wonderful grandchildren.

Since my wife's death, our family seems to be changing. I rarely see or hear from them now. I, too, have been ill with a heart problem, but only get a visit if I am in hospital. They live in nearby areas so travel is not a problem.

It is not just their absence, but also the fact that when we do visit they continually want to know my financial situation.

Somehow, I feel that I have failed to keep us together as a family since my wife's death. I do love all my family dearly.

I will appreciate any suggestion. R.D.

Dear R.D.:

My first suggestion is to stop blaming yourself. Many things can contribute to family breakup. Work and busy schedules interfere. Usually the mother plans family gatherings and keeps up the contact. It doesn't occur unless someone organizes events. Maybe you could call them to see when they could all visit or, if scheduling is a problem, they could visit individually. You could take them out to dinner, planning as many times as necessary to finally see all of them.

Another important issue is that you tell your family about the feelings you have expressed to me in your letter. I am sure you will get reassurance that your family does love you.

About the interest in your financial status, most families are concerned about the future of aging parents. Care and medical expenses lie ahead. You probably will find no ulterior motives. Open conversation can clear up your worries and tighten the family bond. You really are fortunate to have a concerned family.

Dear Goldie:

I am 72 years old and have been a widower for seven years. My son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren live in the neighborhood so we keep in touch and really have a good relationship.

My problem concerns my upcoming vacation. I plan to go on a six-week European tour and have an old friend who will be going as well. She and my wife were schoolmates and our families have remained close friends. We have no romantic attachment, but would like to share twin accommodation to keep costs down and for companionship. This idea does not cause her family or mine any concern, but I don't want any rumours flying about to upset a very respectable lady. What do you advise? W.Y.

Dear W.Y.:

Well, to begin with, you are very fortunate to have each other as friends when you share so many memories. People lose most of their friends as they age.

It sounds like this matter of shared accommodation has been well hashed by both families so what is the problem? I would not worry about rumours and gossip. Families and friends who know you well will always be supportive of your well-being and happiness.

Good friends make any vacation more pleasant. Enjoy!

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