Dear Ann Cannon • I live far from my extended family members. As the years pass, I am starting to wonder whose funerals I will be expected to attend. Not that I want them to die, but it’s obviously going to happen at some point. Aunts and uncles? Cousins? Ex-aunts and uncles? I’m glad none of them has died yet, but I’d like to start thinking about what’s appropriate when they do.
— I’d Rather Be Thinking About Something Else
Dear I’d Rather • As far as I know, there aren’t any hard and fast guidelines for funeral attendance. You’ll have to let your connections (how close were you, anyway?) and your budget inform your decisions, which you’ll make on a case-by-case basis. If you can’t go, send flowers.
Meanwhile, take your own excellent advice and think about something else. Enjoy your people while they’re still here. Call them. FaceTime. Write. Visit in person whenever possible. Time spent with the living ultimately matters waaaay more than time spent at a funeral.
Dear Ann Cannon • My dad is facing retirement soon and he’s not too happy about it. Is there anything my brothers and I can do or say to help him make this transition?
Dear Daughter • In my experience, most parents aren’t thrilled when adult children start dishing out advice — unless the advice, of course, is about electronic devices and how to make them work. Still, you can share this piece of wisdom I recently heard at a retirement dinner for Dr. David Magleby, a legendary political science professor at Brigham Young University. Choose to do something that makes you want to get up in the morning. Ask your dad what that might be and then encourage him to go for it — whether it’s playing golf or volunteering at an elementary school or pulling weeds at Red Butte Garden or birdwatching or angling on the banks of a gleaming western river.
Wishing him — and you! — the very best.
And now for a few responses from readers about that cheating husband …
Dear Ann Cannon • I read your column from “Furious,” who discovered that she had been dating a married man. I am writing because I have been on the other side of Furious’s experience: I have been the betrayed spouse. I’m hoping that, in addition to whatever prank Furious pulls on her ex-boyfriend to make him feel as “played” as she has felt, she also considers the feelings of his spouse, who is, I assume, also being kept in the dark about her husband’s extramarital activities. My hope is that Furious will have compassion on the spouse and find a way to tell her what has been going on. Doing so will be awkward and unpleasant, but leaving the spouse in the dark would be as dishonest and hurtful as the unfaithful husband’s deceit of Furious.
Furious should not tell herself that the man’s marriage relationship is not her business; her ex-boyfriend made it her business when he made her one of the victims of his betrayal. Furious won’t destroy the marriage by telling the spouse — the husband has already destroyed the marriage — and telling the wife will enable her to have the facts she needs to make some difficult but necessary choices and to begin the process of grieving and, ultimately, healing.
And this …
Dear Ann Cannon • While your college roommate’s expensive dinner was good for a chuckle, it was probably the guy’s wife who was hurt most by what she did. Or his kids. Being a wife of a guy like that is a terrible, hurtful experience because men who cheat are selfish, greedy users with no respect for women, and the money for that dinner undoubtedly came out of the family budget.
— Been There