Dear Annie: For 25 years, a very close couple would get together with us for a nice meal. We did lots of things, including trips and outings. Eighteen months ago, my friend suddenly died. Her husband is now dating a very lovely woman (I hear), and we are glad he is happy.
We expect them to travel to our area this summer, and possibly, we will go out for dinner. This feels very weird. Any suggestions on how to embrace this new person?
— Adjusting to the Change
Dear Adjusting: I am very sorry for your loss. Adjusting to the change, and the feelings of missing your friend, creates a special challenge. If she were alive today, she would want her husband to be happy and not alone.
Try to see your friend’s new companion with an open heart and think about his happiness.
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Dear Annie: Here are the rules I recommend for getting rid of mice:
» NEVER poison an animal. Their stomachs will swell and burst, or they will hemorrhage all over their body. Think about that being done to you.
» NEVER trap their feet in a sticky box to starve and thirst them to death.
» NEVER drown an animal.
All this would not be necessary with a small amount of prevention. In my house, I keep dog food in one cooler and birdseed, grass and flower seeds in another cooler. I keep my kitchen clean. No mice.
If they are coming into your garage in the fall, keep the garage door closed unless you are woodworking or in the garage. My door was old, and the seal at the bottom left gaps. I put on a new seal strip, and no more mice.
Two more things:
» Possums are marsupials, like koalas and kangaroos, not rats or rodents. They have prehensile tails and used to hang upside down in trees. They will play possum if you happen on them, unless they have young, are trapped or you come at them. They just hiss then. Mostly they play possum. They eat insects and fruits and berries.
» Before you become a National Wildlife Habitat, check with Dad. No more use of pesticides, herbicides or nitrate fertilizers on the lawn. You could still become one, but you would be telling a lie, and what is that lesson to your children?
— Rules for Being a Kind Human
Dear Rules for Being a Kind Human: I love the message of kindness to all living things in your letter. Thank you.
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Dear Annie: Thank you for your expert advice and knowledge for caring for an elderly parent. I didn’t expect my letter to be published. I had hit rock bottom when I wrote that it.
Before my letter was published in your column, I stopped feeling sorry for myself and got help! Your headline “Draining My Battery to Support Others” was spot on. I was tapped out!
I did exactly what you mentioned in your reply as for getting home help or a nursing facility. A couple times a week, I have visiting nurses and an exercise therapist for my mother.
I am still confined, but I have some relief knowing that skilled people are doing a better job than I have done. It’s working out well.
Of course, my duties are still numerous doctor appointments a month, emergency room trips, groceries and all the things necessary to make sure she is comfortable. At 91, I know my time is limited with her. I would like to make the most of it by spending quality time with her and not being so overwhelmed with all these extra duties.
Thank you again for your support.
— Tired and Worn Out
Dear Tired and Worn Out: Thank you for your letter. It filled me with joy to know that you took responsibility for your life and made positive changes to recharge your battery!
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— A native Californian, Annie Lane writes her Dear Annie advice columns from her home outside New York City, where she lives with her husband, two kids and two dogs. Her debut book, Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie, features favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette. Email your Dear Annie questions to email@example.com. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.