Cruising for a tense vacation
Dear Annie: Recently, my husband and I made plans to go on a cruise along with three other couples. It was up to each couple to make their own travel plans for getting to the port. My husband and I didn’t want to drive into the major city from which the cruise is departing, so we decided we would drive to a nearby town from which a shuttle to the cruise is offered. The shuttle ride takes a couple of hours, but we felt it would be worth it.
One of the other couples, “Tom” and “Judy,” whom we don’t know very well, ended up wanting to ride with us. This would have been fine if they just wanted to ride along with us to our original destination, but they expected us to drive them right to the cruise ship! When I told them what our plans were, they kept asking whether it would be too late to change them. When I stood firm, they said they’d ride with our other friends.
I think that their asking us to change our plans to accommodate them was really unreasonable. What do you think? — Confused Cruiser
Dear Confused: I think these two must have started in on the mai tais a little early. You are their acquaintances, not their chauffeurs, and I’m glad you didn’t change your plans to suit them.
Dear Annie: My question has to do with end-of-life care. I have been beside my father, my mother and my husband as they died. Hospice was used in all three cases.
My question is this: Does anybody still get to go and die at the hospital anymore, or is that a thing of the past? When the obituaries say the person died surrounded by family, did that person have a choice?
I adore my family, but I do not want them taking care of me when I am dying. I would much rather have a stranger do it. I do not want to die in my own house, and I certainly don’t want anyone around me. Has insurance made it so that nobody can do this anymore? I want to die with dignity. Can this still happen? — Death With Dignity My Way
Dear Death With Dignity: This is a complex, sensitive issue, and I want to be sure you’re given all the information you need.
I would recommend calling the National Institute on Aging at 800-222-2225. The NIA can mail you a copy of its guide titled “End of Life: Helping with Comfort and Care,” which outlines options for end-of-life care and lists dozens of additional resources.
Be sure to communicate your decision to your family members ahead of time so they have time to process, accept and respect your wishes.
Dear Annie: Your response to “Frustrated Mom,” who expressed her concerned that her 35-year-old daughter is still unmarried, was fine as far as it went, but I have some more thoughts to add.
I was 28 and going through the same unattached phase, going from one bad relationship to the next, when my mother said, “See a counselor.”
With the help of this therapist, I discovered that with all the men I was dating, I was repeating the pattern I’d seen at home. My father’s comforts always seemed to be of foremost importance, so my mother catered to him. I was doing this with the men I dated, too, never standing up for what I wanted.
I learned that men don’t really like a person they can walk all over. With the next man I dated, I stood up to him — and that was the man I married and have been ecstatically happy with for 44 years. — Happily Ever After