Dear Abby: My husband had a medical event that left him unable to drive. He is very isolated despite my efforts to keep him connected. His children live an hour away, and it's up to me to drive him to them. They rarely call him. He has a stepdaughter who lives only a few miles from us. We reach out to her, but she also doesn't have time for him. It's ironic because she regularly ministers to strangers through her church while her stepfather languishes in loneliness.
How deeply appreciated an offer to take this lonely old gentleman shopping, for a drive, or giving him a visit or a weekly phone call would be. What else can I do about this? — FRUSTRATED IN FLORIDA
Dear Frustrated: I am sorry you didn't mention how close your husband was to his children before the medical event. If they were close and have abandoned him, then shame on them.
I see no way for you to force them to make more of an effort to give their father the emotional support he needs. You can, however, depending upon how impaired he is, try to involve him in activities that don't require being driven an hour away. If there's a senior center near you, you might have more luck in keeping him less isolated if you reach out to them.
Dear Abby: A group of friends and I go out for dinner. When the check arrives, we all have cash except for one woman who wants to pay her share with a credit card. She claims she "doesn't know how much she owes" and tells the waiter to use her credit card to pay her share. Abby, she then pays only for her food and beverage, no tax and no tip! I have told her in the past to bring cash, but she won't.
I think it is unfair to the waiter to have to figure out how much she owes. When we tried to talk to her about it, she reacted like she was being attacked and went to other friends and got them to agree with "her side." If anyone disagrees with her, she goes on and on until she either loses a friend or the person gives in and tells her she's right. How do we deal with someone like this? Should we just give up on her and end the friendship? — CHECK, PLEASE
Dear Check, Please: I see no reason to give up on the friendship. Just stop having dinner with her if her behavior bothers you.
Dear Abby: I'm 12 and I'm depressed. I have been depressed for a year now. I have not told my mom that I cry in the shower. Please guide me on what to do and help get me out of this dark hole. — SAD IN SAN DIEGO
Dear Sad: I'm so glad you wrote. It's very important that you tell your mother or some other trusted adult that you are depressed, and how long this has been going on. You may need counseling or the intervention of some other adult to fix this problem. Please don't wait, and please DO write again and let me know how you're doing. I care.