Dear Abby: I am an active widower with five grown children. Although three of them live in the same city and two live in a city nearby, I haven't heard from or seen them as often over the past few years as I would like. I realized recently that I miss their company and I'd like them to call or see me more often.
I understand they have their own lives, but I don't think I'm asking too much. I'd like them to understand that a "pill" won't cure me of loneliness, as they suggest when I tell them I am slowing down. Their answer is to tell me to see a doctor.
I can't talk to them about increasing our visits and communication because I was raised with the idea that you automatically respect your elders and parents shouldn't have to ask their children to visit them or call to ask how they are doing more than every few months. I thought perhaps reading this in your column might remind them not to wait until it is too late. Have you any suggestions on how to encourage my children to involve me more in their lives? -- Lonely In Colorado
Dear Lonely: You don't have a communication problem. Your "children" have gotten the message. Rid yourself of the idea that your children should call you out of obligation. If you want more contact, pick up the phone and call them. Also, you should be socializing with contemporaries. Your problem may be too much time on your hands. If you are able-bodied, fill some of that time by volunteering in your community. It's a terrific way to meet people who may be more than willing to include you in their activities.
Dear Abby: I have two younger sisters. The middle one is my best friend (next to my husband). The youngest is a nightmare. She's manipulative and nasty, and nothing is ever good enough for her. She's a cancer survivor and no longer able to live by herself. My middle sister has been bending over backward to help her in significant ways (managing her insurance and finding a nursing home for her to live in), but neither of us will allow her to live with us. She is too destructive, controlling and toxic.
Our sister has now decided the nursing home isn't good enough. She is talking about going to live with a friend in another state. The friend has tentatively agreed. My middle sister and I both believe her friend has no idea what she is letting herself in for, and that her life is going to be taken over by my youngest sister.
I believe the right thing for me to do would be to call the friend and warn her not to allow my youngest sister to come live with her, but that seems like a terrible thing to do to my youngest sister. What should I do? -- Sister Drama In The West
Dear Sister Drama: What you should do is stay out of it! Your sister has resumed control over her life. Bravo! Whether or not it pans out, the outcome will be her responsibility. If in the coming months her friend rolls up the welcome mat, the alternative for your sister will be the nursing facility. Period.