I ended a bad friend­ship — with a can­cer pa­tient

Chicago Sun-Times - - ENTERTAINMENT - DEAR ABBY Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069. What teens need to know about sex, drugs

I ENDED THE ONE-SIDED FRIEND­SHIP LAST YEAR. MY PROB­LEM IS, I FEEL GUILTY FOR DO­ING IT. I FEEL I LEFT HER WITH CAN­CER. BUT I ALSO FEEL THAT BE­CAUSE SOME­ONE IS SICK DOESN’T GIVE THEM THE RIGHT TO BE ABU­SIVE OR IN­CON­SID­ER­ATE.

Dear Abby: My “friend” from child­hood, “Camille,” has never had my back. I have done the heavy lift­ing in our friend­ship our whole lives.

While I was on va­ca­tion two years ago, she was di­ag­nosed with can­cer. I came home im­me­di­ately and drove to the hos­pi­tal at 1 a.m. to be by her side.

I’ve al­ways been by Camille’s side for every­thing, even though she hasn’t been there for me. I told her that sev­eral times, to no avail.

I went to EV­ERY chemo and doc­tor ap­point­ment, and was there ev­ery day to rub her feet to make her feel bet­ter. I threw her a party for 100 peo­ple to “kick can­cer’s butt,” took her on a va­ca­tion — it goes on and on.

I ended the one-sided friend­ship last year. My prob­lem is, I feel guilty for do­ing it. I feel I left her with can­cer. But I also feel that be­cause some­one is sick doesn’t give them the right to be abu­sive or in­con­sid­er­ate.

Camille hasn’t tried to con­tact me, ei­ther. In fact, she has told oth­ers that she will never speak to me again. I bent over back­ward for her, but if some other per­son sent a card, she would make a big deal out of it.

I’m deeply hurt and don’t know how to move on. Help! Wounded on the East Coast

Dear Wounded: One way to stop feel­ing guilty and get on with your life would be to ac­knowl­edge in your head AND your heart that the re­la­tion­ship with Camille was not a healthy one for YOU.

In fact, from the way you have de­scribed it, it was more like a bad habit. Bad habits can be dif­fi­cult to break, but many peo­ple have been able to ac­com­plish it by re­plac­ing a bad habit with a good one.

Ex­am­ple: In­stead of feel­ing guilty for not rub­bing Camille’s feet, con­sider get­ting a pedi­cure for your­self. Al­though it might seem ex­pen­sive, it would be cheaper than talk­ing to a ther­a­pist.

Dear Abby: My sib­lings and I, all born in the ’50s in a small town, have fond mem­o­ries of our child­hood.

Af­ter our mother died in 1989, our fa­ther mar­ried “Sylvia,” a new ar­rival in town. They lived to­gether in our child­hood home un­til his death in 2016.

We “kids” wanted to honor our par­ents and our fond child­hood mem­o­ries. We en­dowed a plaque for the town park ded­i­cated to their mem­ory and not­ing they had raised a fam­ily in that com­mu­nity. Sylvia is now griev­ously of­fended and fu­ri­ous that she was not in­cluded.

Abby, Sylvia came on the scene long af­ter we were raised and gone. She’s not our par­ent and played no part in the mem­o­ries we wanted to honor. Al­though Sylvia was a good wife to our dad, she did her best to erase all traces of our mother from Dad’s mem­ory and from his home.

Were we wrong? She has re­buffed our at­tempts to ex­plain our be­nign mo­ti­va­tions. Con­fused in Penn­syl­va­nia

Dear Con­fused: You weren’t wrong, but it would have been bet­ter had you dis­cussed your plans for the plaque with Sylvia be­fore do­nat­ing it. That way, you would have been able to ex­plain to her the rea­son why she wouldn’t be on it.

She may still be griev­ing the loss of your fa­ther, so try to un­der­stand her feel­ings. And by the way, it is not un­usual — or out of line — for a se­cond wife to make her hus­band’s home “her own,” so don’t hold it against her.

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