Dear Amy: I have a son-in-law who has been deaf since childhood.
A few years ago, I learned that this person reads lips.
My problem is that they eavesdrop on private conversations by reading your lips. The masks many of us have put on have helped to stem this, but with things (hopefully) back to normal, I’ll once again have to cover my mouth when we’re with this in-laws.
It feels a little rude to do this, but if I have something I would like to share with my husband, there really is nothing else to do.
Do you have a better solution?
Dear masking: I have a solution for you!
My solution is pretty simple: Do not try to have a personal, private and exclusive conversation with your husband in front of other people. Ever.
It’s just rude!
Save your private thoughts when you have privacy.
When your in-laws are with you, you should include this person in your conversation.
Dear Amy: I am crushed by grief over losing my beloved dog to cancer five weeks ago. He was only 5.
I have good counselors, supportive friends and family and a loving husband, but I struggle a lot with depression and grief.
I’m almost 40, but have never lost anyone close to me before, and this was my first pet.
I loved that dog wholeheartedly and apparently cannot reconcile myself to how the sweet, innocent dog might suffer and how much emptier our lives and homes feel without him.
I know we gave our dog a wonderful life and did everything we could for him and I know so many other people have also experienced this loss but I still swim in grief and in so much pain that I have not paid much attention to my relationship with my husband or cared for him during this time (although I manage to be functional with work and other activities).
My husband mourns too, but it is not visible as I am and he is often in the role of comforting me.
One of his wonderful qualities is that he is patient; at the same time, he feels insecure about our relationship because it feels like I’m not quite there.
I apparently can not get around my grief.
Do I give myself time for this grief to take its course, or is there a way I can set the course and not make my husband feel ignored and unseen during this time?
Sad pet mother
Dear sad: Losing a pet is a loss like no other because we love and care for our animal companions differently than we do humans in our lives.
Caring for an animal, especially through a long-term illness, is truly the essence of selfless and tender loving care.
Now is the time to apply some of that tenderness to yourself and your husband.
While researching your question, I came across a number of Facebook groups dedicated to the loss of a pet. (Do an internet search on “pet loss.”)
When you join a group, you will be able to post a picture of your beloved dog and write about your experience. The people who participate in these online groups tend to be extremely friendly and supportive. And as you scroll through the many postings, you will know that you are not alone.
Although I have never necessarily subscribed to the conveniences offered by the “rainbow bridge” concept, I saw on one of these Facebook pages a collage of photos of the late, great animal lover (and the whole wonderful human) Betty White, who posed with her many dog mates over the years.
Knowing that in her very long life she had experienced this tender love and this loss over and over again was really inspiring and I was hoping that her dozens of animal companions were waiting for her on the other side of the mythical rainbow bridge.
I hope you will find similar comfort as you process your own grief.
Dear Amy: Thank you for discouraging a recent “proud father” from commenting on his daughter’s body.
When I was a teenage girl with a “powerful” body type, my father (without bad intentions) often remarked that I was “built for comfort, not for speed.”
I’m 74 now, and that remark is still with me.
To all fathers of teenage girls, be sparing with these “light teasing” remarks.
Trying to grow gracefully
Dear trying: Your anecdote illustrates the point perfectly. Thank you.
You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.