Ask Goldie - July 2007

By Goldie Carlow

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Dear Goldie:

I feel very puzzled about what is going on with my family now that I have reached my 80s.

I have a wonderful son, two daughters and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We certainly love each other. However, when more than one of them visits me they talk to each other - and often about my life - but don't include me in the conversation. I am not deaf or dead just yet. Why is this happening?


Dear M.B.:

Have you told your family how you feel about this? Sometimes younger family members assume older people need rest and shouldn't be troubled about daily events or problems. If you want to participate, let them know. Speak up and tell them how you feel. Otherwise, they will continue to protect you by exclusion.

About 20 years ago, Judith Viorst wrote a book called Necessary Losses in which she emphasized that the losses and changes in life are there so we can continue to grow. If we are fully aware, there are many opportunities to make this growth positive in the aging process. This will only occur if you communicate with your family members. Start now.

Dear Goldie:

After 28 years of marriage, my husband asked for a divorce. I never suspected he was unhappy and so was completely devastated. He was always patient and kind and a wonderful father to our three children. We have been divorced for five years now, but I can't seem to get over it.

We meet occasionally at family events. He is polite but cold towards me. The grandchildren think he is wonderful. I keep hoping he will change his mind and come back to me. So far, he doesn't seem to have a steady girlfriend.

What do you think?


Dear S.L.:

I am sorry for the unhappiness you have experienced from your marriage breakup. I wonder, however, if your expectations are realistic. Your husband seems to be firm in his decision to leave you, so why waste your life waiting for him to return?

Have you taken an honest look at what happened? Maybe a short holiday away from family would give you a better perspective of your situation.

You must plan for your own future. You are a single person now and responsible for your life ahead. You did not mention income, but if you are in need, perhaps you could take a training course or even attend college. Many seniors your age would see this situation as an opportunity to achieve education they missed earlier in life. Whatever you decide, remember you are beginning a new life.

As to your husband's cold manner, this will probably change as soon as he realizes you are no longer trying to get him back. Family gatherings will improve for everyone.

Good luck in your new life!

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