Dear Annie: In October, I visited my family in France. Three weeks after I returned home, the terrorist attacks occurred. My husband was out of town and I was all alone. My family in France, thankfully, was safe.
I consider myself a loyal friend. However, only one person called to ask about my family and about me. That person was actually a business acquaintance. I am deeply grateful for that call, but truly surprised and disappointed that there were no others. A family member phoned two days later, saying he had been so busy with work that he didn't hear about the attacks until later. I was polite, but seriously, people would have to be living under a rock not to have heard the news immediately.
It was an extremely difficult time for me, and I am terribly hurt and angry that no one else took a few seconds to ask whether my family was OK or to find out how I was handling things. I received a Christmas card from one friend who wrote only to brag about her job promotion.
Annie, all of these so-called friends are well aware that much of my family lives in France. I no longer wish to associate with these people. What can I say if any of them call and want to get together with me? — Still Hurting
Dear Hurting: People tend to be self-absorbed and sometimes don't think of another person's specific situation when they hear about a tragedy far away. Please give your friends a chance to make it up to you. If they call, tell them that you were hurt and disappointed that you didn't hear from them at the time. Give them the opportunity to apologize. You will be much less angry and upset if you can grant forgiveness and start fresh. Of course, if they offer feeble excuses and make no attempt to say they are sorry, feel free to stop responding to their calls.
Dear Annie: As my mother got older, she used to worry about her faraway friends when she didn't hear from them at Christmas. She thought maybe they had gone into a nursing home or were homebound and unable to correspond. Or maybe they had died.
So when my mother moved to a nursing home near us, I decided to make sure this didn't happen to her. I wrote a newsy letter about how she was doing, and added where she was living, along with the address. I printed it on Christmas stationery and sent it in the first part of December.
Well, Annie, I want to tell you that the response was overwhelming. She received Christmas cards from nearly all of her friends. Some wrote long, newsy letters of their own, and a few of them even wrote letters to me.
It was very rewarding and gratifying, and Mom felt that she was still a part of her friends' lives. I thought you might like to pass this on to others so they will know to do it during the next holiday season. — Grateful Daughter
Dear Daughter: This is a sweet idea and an excellent way to keep others apprised of Mom's situation and encourage them to contact her. Seniors, especially those who move away from familiar surroundings, often feel isolated. Thank you for providing a lovely way to stay connected.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.