“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#1 Dec 13, 2013
DEAR AMY: I would like advice on how to manage a situation that I frequently encounter with colleagues and strangers.

I am a 47-year-old grandmother. When people hear that I'm a grandmother, they typically comment on how young I look. Many people ask me how old I was when I had my kids. I try to say that I am older than I look, but that doesn't always end this line of questioning.

I don't want to tell people my age or say how old I was when I had children just to satisfy their curiosity.

What can I say to people who are asking such personal questions?-- Young Gran

DEAR GRAN: If strangers ask a question you don't want to answer, you can both stall for time and misdirect by asking them a question.

Here's an example. Question: "Wow, you're a grandmother? How old are you?"

Answer: "Hmm. Interesting question. How old are you?"

(This person may then tell his/her age.)

And then, if you want, you can disclose your own age: "I'm 87."

The person then says, "Ha ha. I'm just curious because you look so young."

You say, "How sweet. Thank you."

If this misdirection does not lead to the person backing down, you can end the conversation by saying, "Well, age is just a number -- and I'd rather not give you mine."

DEAR AMY: Over two years ago my wife of 20 years (and my companion of 30) died of ALS, one of the worst ways to go. Death is not a Hollywood movie, and people are not at their best, but I was there for my wife all the way to the end. She died in my arms. But it was what came after that shocked me.

My immediate, misguided reaction was to ask to be left alone to grieve. That was a big mistake, which I corrected as I found an empty house, and world, overwhelming. What surprised me was who stepped up and who didn't. Many of our friends just disappeared -- some despite pleasant words at the memorial service or promises on sympathy cards.

Now, having connected with my veterans -- those who have lost spouses -- I think that I may know some of the reasons why. I hope you will share this with your readers.

It boils down to more than busy lives, because those who reached out to me were often the busiest.

A widower or widow represents to another couple the absolute certainty that they or their spouse will be in the same boat one day. You are an unwelcome reminder -- a mortician at a birthday party. Also, couples are sometimes threatened by a person who is suddenly single. This is so insulting.

Some people just don't know what to do. And for them, I have some advice: Life for the surviving spouse is a matter of getting through first the minutes, then the hours, then the days, then the weeks, the months and finally the years.

We don't necessarily need deep talk. We need an empathetic offer of company, a meal, film, a walk. A diversion from grief is what we need, quite literally, to make it to another day. Just offer a respite, a diversion from pain, even for a little while. That's all you need to do -- and that's plenty.

And if you really offer it and follow through, you will never be forgotten.-- Widowed in Bethesda

DEAR WIDOWED: Anyone who has survived personal losses and experienced grief understands the wisdom of your recommendations. A grieving person needs to figure out how to be in the world in a new way -- and a true friend will offer a gentle presence through a very tender time.

DEAR AMY: The letter from "Failed Mother" really blew me away. This mother took the time to write to you to criticize her son's fiancee when her real issue was that she worried that the couple wouldn't have children.

I thought you showed remarkable restraint when you said, "You do not have an automatic right to have grandchildren bestowed upon you."

How do you hold your tongue, Amy?-- A Fan

DEAR FAN: Mainly, I don't.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#2 Dec 13, 2013
1- A fb friend I went to high-school with recently became a grandmother. She's my age. That's what happens when you get knocked up at 16, then your daughter does the same.

“Where is Tonka?”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#3 Dec 13, 2013
agggh, all granny letters. I feel old.


“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#4 Dec 13, 2013
L1: Why stall? Tell them you never give your age out so they'll just have to wonder.

L2: A horrible disease that steals a person's body. Sometimes, just being there (not saying anything, not doing anything) is all someone needs.

L3: Aw, Amy! You could NOT resist patting yourself on the back on a Friday, could you?

“I looked, and behold,”

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#5 Dec 13, 2013
LW1: Tell them you are 28.

LW2: Dude, you asked to be left alone. Now you are complaining and judging folks adversely for leaving you alone.

It also sounds like you are very high maintenance in your grieving process. Itís not that you are a reminder that everyone dies, but rather that itís a chore to be around someone like you who expects everyone to help you get over your loss ... even years and months after your loss.

While folks should certainly be sympathetic and there for you at first, everyone grieves differently and it's hard to know exactly what to say.

Further, after a certain period of time it's up to you to get over your loss and your relationships with other folks should not be controlled by your loss and your neediness in connection therewith forever.

As someone who deals with such things on my own, not in a very outward manner, and in a manner where I donít really need a lot of support from others, I would find it very draining to be around someone such as you who is still needing a great deal of support months and years later.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#6 Dec 13, 2013
LW1: I doubt that you look older than you are and that's why that lame-o line isn't working for you. You almost sound like you don't want to divulge the ages at which you and your children started procreating out of embarassment, and I would advise you to just accept your reality and simply state, "yeah, we started kinda young" and leave it at that.

LW2: Your friends may have not known how to behave but you also do not sound like a good friend material. Friends forgive each other when they eff up.

LW3: Don't dislocate your shoulder patting yourself on the back, Amy!

Marina, CA

#7 Dec 13, 2013
edogxxx wrote:
1- A fb friend I went to high-school with recently became a grandmother. She's my age. That's what happens when you get knocked up at 16, then your daughter does the same.
I know a woman who had her first child at 18. Her daughter got pregnant at 14. She became a grandmother at 33.

Since: Jun 09

Saint Petersburg, FL

#8 Dec 13, 2013
Kuuipo wrote:
<quoted text>
I know a woman who had her first child at 18. Her daughter got pregnant at 14. She became a grandmother at 33.

Marina, CA

#9 Dec 13, 2013
LW1: Some people will ask you personal questions. You are not obligated to answer them. When someone whom I barely know asks my age, I generally smile and tell them that I am 29.

LW2: Many people do not know how to deal with illness and dying. Others will step up and be a real friend in hard times. Good advice from LW for those who are clueless.

Since: Mar 09

Pittsburgh, PA

#10 Dec 13, 2013
Kuuipo wrote:
<quoted text>
I know a woman who had her first child at 18. Her daughter got pregnant at 14. She became a grandmother at 33.
My former mailman was a grandpa at 32 (16 & 16.)

Me, I've been a Good Grandma for 19 years and in August I became a Great one! My oldest was actually a married adult (20) when she had her first; I was the one who started kinda young. I have a young(ish) face and old (pretty fluffy white) hair, so I can get away with fudging my age up or down if necessary. Generally I don't really care & no longer bother to do that.

Don't know what LW's issue is. 47 seems to me a perfectly normal age to become a grandma (23 & 24? 25 & 22? 20 & 27?)

Brooklyn, NY

#11 Dec 13, 2013
L2 sounds like one of those paid motivational speakers. To me anyway.

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