Don’t ask her about her stressful life

Reader yearns for regular conversations after caring her loved ones leaves many uncertain of how to respond.



January 7, 2021 - 8:42 AM

Dear Carolyn: How can I socialize when I can’t talk about my life without people freaking out? I admit my life is stressful, but other people have lives that are just as, if not more so.

I take care of my 92-year-old mother-in-law, her two dogs and her parrot in my home. My brother died in October and my father, who suffered from severe Alzheimer’s, died less than a month later. I helped care for my father as well, and for a nephew with serious issues. My husband has serious health issues, but is still healthy enough to work.

People, reasonably, want to know what’s happening in my life. I try to give a quick answer, that I care for relatives, but it never suffices, and as people learn more I become an object of pity (“Oh, how sad”), horror (“I could never live that way”) or ridicule (“How were you so stupid as to get yourself into that situation?”)

December 7, 2020
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