When a friend is dying

Joey Garcia

The husband of a dear friend is dying. I don’t know what to say to my friend or his husband. Please give me the right words to help them through this ordeal.

Tell the truth: “I don’t know what to say. I can’t imagine what you are going through right now, but please know that I am here to walk with you every step of the way. I will listen, I will pray with you and I will do whatever errands I can that will make your life easier.” As you prepare to support your friends, be certain to keep any of your own fears about mortality out of the conversation. One way to do this is to frequently remind yourself that death, though often sudden and startling, is simply part of the experience of being alive.

I was recently promoted, but my former co-workers still treat me like a peer. I have tried to be more formal, but they just laughed and teased me. I need to prove to management that I have the ability to be a leader. How can I get my co-workers to take me seriously so my bosses do, too?

Your bosses already take you seriously. That’s why they promoted you into a position of authority. It’s you who remains uncomfortable with the new role. Be grateful that your former co-workers responded to your fear with humor. Now trust that you can do your job and be yourself at the same time.

My 79-year-old father-in-law came to live with us temporarily. Two years later, I am afraid he will never move out. My husband is not close to his father, so I must care for him. I am overwhelmed, but my husband only thinks about the money we are saving. I have my hands full with three kids and a full-time job. I feel like I am being taken advantage of.

Oh, honey! This martyr mask is not very pretty, so let’s find your original face. Do you remember how much money your father-in-law received from your family each month? That’s your budget. Use that money to hire a weekly housecleaning service or a cook to ease your burden. Or pay a personal aide to care for your father-in-law.

Of course, if you feel spicy, you can book a vacation with your girlfriends. Announce your plans a few days before you plan to leave. If there are protests, just smile and say, “I trust in your ability to help each other. I look forward to you using those new skills to help me run the household when I return.”

Turn off your cellphone while on holiday, but do check in with your husband. If he has an attitude, give him some latitude. Don’t respond to any comments that are blaming or accusing. Just admit that you are overwhelmed and need rest. While vacationing, develop a plan to operate your home more efficiently by getting everyone to pitch in. Your children deserve to learn how to run a household, and you need to stop teaching them that others should serve them and clean up their messes.

Meditation of the week
“By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day,” said Robert Frost, poet and winner of four Pulitzer Prizes. How honest are you about the American system of success?

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