Originally Published: May 18, 2016 5:55 a.m.
Dear Annie: I am a widow in my 70s. My husband and I had no children and not much of a social life. When he died a few years ago, I was desolate. I took on a part-time job and met a divorced woman close to my age and we have become good friends. It has been wonderful, as I have never had a close friend before.
I really like “Jeanette,” and she has introduced me to a lot of other women who have become my friends. I love to go to lunch, to musicals and on day trips with my female friends.
The problem is, Jeanette likes to go out at night to dinner, concerts, etc. I do not have good nighttime vision and am not comfortable driving past sundown. I have explained this to her, but she thinks that I am being unnecessarily fearful. Any suggestions on how I can handle this? – Fearful of Losing a Friend
Dear Fearful: Being cautious about driving at night when your vision is poor is smart, common sense. But it probably sounds to Jeanette as if you are “too old” and she doesn’t like it one bit.
There are ways around this – perhaps someone can pick you up or you can take a cab or use a service like Uber or Lyft. But you also can be firm without losing a friendship. When Jeanette wants you to drive at night, it’s perfectly OK to say, “Sorry, my vision isn’t good enough. I’ll miss you, but I hope we can get together another time.” Then invite her to a Sunday matinee she might enjoy.
Dear Annie: My husband is an alcoholic. He drank at least a case of beer a day, plus shots of scotch or whatever was on hand in the evenings. I tried counseling and a family intervention, to no avail. I attended Al-Anon meetings and so did he (briefly), but neither of us found them helpful. So I gave up.
Eight years ago, I found him on the bathroom floor covered in blood. It was fortunate that I was home, because he would have died otherwise. At the hospital, he received several transfusions and had esophageal surgery. He was told he had cirrhosis of the liver and would die if he continued to drink. Amazingly, he stopped cold turkey. It was a blessing.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t soon enough. He developed liver cancer, which we knew was a possibility. He’s undergoing chemo now. The trips to the hospital, the overnight stays and the follow-ups can be overwhelming physically and emotionally, not only for him, but for our children and me. We’re hoping he will be eligible for a transplant before he dies from the cancer.
To anyone who drinks and believes, “Well, I have to die eventually,” or “I can handle my drinking,” or “That will never happen to me,” please listen. It can happen to you or someone you love. It is an expensive emotional roller coaster and a painful journey. – Loving Wife
Dear Wife: Our hearts go out to you and your family. We greatly appreciate that you have taken the time to warn others and try to help them. Please know that you are in our thoughts.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, 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.