Dear Annie: I have two very good friends who I go to breakfast with every Saturday. We are part of a monthly book club; we exercise together three times a week, and we attend the theater together, for which we have season tickets.
They are both widows. My husband, thank goodness, is still alive and healthy. Lately, I have been getting vibes that they are trying to replace me with another widow. I have said no to invites to different places, such as craft shows, that I really didn’t want to attend. But now they are making plans to go to dinners with another widow, which I found out about just by overhearing the discussion.
They did not ask me to go until I asked them about it, and it is something that I would have loved to do. I hesitate to accept the invite because I don’t know if they really want me along or if they are just being polite.
Am I being overly sensitive? Or do I have reason to be concerned? This is not the first time that this sort of thing has happened. Should I ask them about it or just act like it doesn’t bother me? — Feeling Left Out
Dear Feeling Left Out: No one likes to feel excluded, but once we understand the “why” of why we are not included, it can help ease the hurt feelings. Your friends all lost their husbands, while you have a wonderful husband at home.
Just take that fact in for a moment. Their “taking in” or including another widow has nothing to do with whether they like you or not and everything to do with the fact that they understand the pain of losing a husband and want to express empathy to their fellow widow.
Confronting them about it would not be beneficial. Focus on being grateful that they are your friends and that you have fun with them.
Dear Annie: I loved your answer to “Loss,” the woman who, in her 60s, was grieving the loss of so many of her friends.
This brought to mind a helpful thought that was shared with my 90-year-old mother by her doctor. She was telling him about having lost seven very close family members and friends that year. He responded by saying, “This is just the price we must pay for a long, joyful life filled with people we love.” — Great Advice
Dear Great Advice: Thank you for sharing the wonderful wisdom of your mother’s doctor.
Dear Annie. I’m the oldest of six children. Our beloved mother passed on in 1981. The oldest son took her jewelry, out of our mother’s apartment, the day she died. I thought he removed it for safekeeping. When I asked him about the jewelry, he denied having it. We have two other sisters. Two months ago, when I questioned him again, after questioning him over the years, he admitted he gave the jewelry to one of the three sisters. When I asked which sister, he said he can’t remember. The youngest sister was on the phone, in a group conversation, and she denied having the jewelry and stated she doesn’t want any of it. He has stopped talking to me, so there isn’t a relationship to save. Should I take him to court and get lawyers involved? — Upset Sister
Dear Upset Sister: You could take him to court, but that would cause both you and him a lot of unnecessary stress. That would be the absolute last resort. Perhaps the best revenge is living well. Focus on taking care of yourself and not focusing on his dishonesty. At the end of the day, you can’t buy a good night’s sleep, and he knows what he did. Keep trying to talk with him about sharing your mother’s jewelry.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]