Sunday, February 25, 2024

Ask Amy: Daughter with bad news won’t be Debbie Downer

Dear Amy: My father is on the other side of a debilitating and ultimately terminal neurological disorder. He is no longer able to dress himself, his language has practically disappeared and everything is generally sad and depressing. My mother cares for him full time, and my siblings and I all live in different states.

My friends, my extended family, my work colleagues, etc. often ask me: “How is your father?” or “How are your parents?” “, especially after returning from a visit home.

After years of trying to present things more positively than truthfully, I’ve recently settled on “Not good” or “He’s worse;” He is worse; it will never be better.

These responses usually make you grimace or apologize. I certainly don’t intend to elicit this response.

My question to you: Is there a better way to honestly answer this question without being a total Debbie Downer?

The people asking the question already know his condition, so they’re not expecting sunshine and rainbows, but I know it’s not because I’ve fully accepted how bad the things are going wrong that others want an honest answer from me.

Follow-up question: When people make excuses about his condition, how am I supposed to react?

I usually shrug my shoulders and say I’m at peace with the situation, but again, this seems unnecessarily awkward and often makes me feel (and probably appear) insensitive.

– Depressing girl (but not depressed!)

Dear Daughter: I’m so sorry you’re going through this.

Do you perceive this statement as an apology? Because it’s not. In this context, “I’m sorry” is an expression of pity and empathy. Your friends say, “I’m sorry this happened. ” Because they are.

(Sometimes people delivering difficult personal news will respond to an “I’m sorry” response by saying, “Why? It’s not your fault,” and this is a dismissive response to a person who is trying to ‘to be kind.)

Does telling the truth about your father’s condition make you a “Debbie Downer”? No.

“Woe is me, I don’t deserve this, every visit home is a depressing nightmare for me and no one steps up to help me,” is how Debbie tells her story.

You assume that your local friends and extended family members “don’t want” an honest answer to their polite questions, but I think they want your honesty, even if the unvarnished truth makes them feel inadequate in the moment .

You can encourage communication (if that’s what you want), not by shrugging your shoulders, but by saying, “Thank you so much for always asking about my parents.” I really appreciate it, even when the news isn’t good.

Dear Amy: When people pass away, are items given to them by their children (or grandchildren) considered the property of the parents, or are the items returned to the person who gave them to the deceased?

Example: A grandchild gave a valuable item to his grandparents years ago.

The grandson slept in the house for a few days after the funeral.

When they left, they removed the object from the wall and took it with them.

Additionally, one of the grandparent’s children came to the house and took away some items that their sibling had given to the grandparent.

What is the correct etiquette in this situation?

– Wondering

Dear, you are wondering: this is not a question of etiquette. It’s more about theft, actually.

The grandparents’ property is the property of the estate and must be left in the house until the estate is settled. The executor or administrator of the estate is responsible for administering the will and the property dispersal process.

The best way to divide property is with the full consent and cooperation of the heirs.

If a grandparent left their assets to their children, ideally, those children would gather in the house and peacefully divide their assets according to an organized system (my family used a lottery system).

Yes, gifts given to the deceased are often returned to the person who gave them, but it is essential that the heirs agree to this.

Removing items from the house without the knowledge or consent of heirs leads to problems. And sometimes – lawsuits.

Dear Amy: “Alarmed Wife” was concerned because her older husband was privately messaging a much younger woman on Facebook.

Thanks for pointing out that it’s probably a “catfish”. However, you did not mention the long-term consequences of this situation. Catfish scams are popular and often lead to financial abuse.

Alarmed people should check their bank accounts carefully. This scam often results in requests for money or gift cards. How can I know? I got scammed!

– Was there

Dear Been There: Great advice. THANKS.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

Note: The content and images used in this article is rewritten and sourced from



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