Q: Three months ago, my wife passed away. We had a loving 42-year marriage, and I am grieving deeply. We have many loving, thoughtful, caring friends who have shown support.
As with most families I know, my wife took care of our social obligations and commitments. I need and want to respond to the folks who have sent loving cards, food, gifts, flowers and support. Unfortunately, I do not have children or family who can help steer me through it.
I have not felt up to responding to their acts of kindness. How do I quit procrastinating and respond to my friends?
A: As most wives do take care of our social lives, men usually don't know and understand how important it is to acknowledge personal relationships. Keeping track of all the cards, flowers, food, gifts and words of encouragement you have received can become overwhelming.
Since you don't have the help of family or children, you could consider asking a friend or two of your wife's to outline a checklist for you to follow. No doubt they be willing to do so.
If you are uncomfortable asking for their help, ask your faith advisor for suggestions or for the name of someone who can help.
Also, if you aren't already in contact with a hospice counselor, they are extremely helpful. They know a lot about handling grief, and they offer free classes.
Do not be overly concerned about your timing. Friends understand how devastating it is to lose your mate. — Doug
Q: My only daughter just had her first baby, so I'm a new grandparent. I went to stay with her and her husband to give them emotional support. I was out of town for six weeks, and now I'm finding it very hard to return home. It seems like every possible problem has accumulated during my absence.
The pace of life is different, and now I'm wondering how to adjust back to daily life. Everything was manageable before! How can I get back into the rhythm of things?
A: After any life change, the best solution is to take it slow and be patient with yourself. There are varying statistics, but most people say that it takes between three weeks and a month to form a new habit. Routine is just another form of habit. It will take time for you to become re-accustomed to your old routine.
That being said, you should prioritize your responsibilities. If there are any time-sensitive matters, don't let them slip past you. Most things can be taken care of later, but it can cause additional aggravation and expense if you don't deal with everything that's urgent first.
On the other hand, you may be struggling with the adjustment because your priorities have changed so drastically. With a new generation in your family, you may find that your perspective on life has shifted.
Keep an active role in your daughter's life. She'll certainly be happy to share in the wisdom you've gained over the years! — Emma, Doug's granddaughter
Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.