Reader wants to dis­ap­pear for the hol­i­days

The Saline Courier - - OPINION -

“Congress shall make no law ... abridg­ing the free­dom of speech, or of the press ... . ” — From the First Amend­ment to Con­sti­tu­tion

DEAR HAR­RI­ETTE: I am go­ing on va­ca­tion at Christ­mas­time this year. I usu­ally go to visit my fam­ily, but my mother passed away a few months ago, and there is no fam­ily home to visit. I feel a bit lost right now, given that both of my par­ents are gone, which is why I sched­uled this trip. It’s a cruise, and I’m go­ing by myself. I am an only child, and I don’t have close friends. My co-work­ers told me that I am run­ning away. They think I should stay in town and hang out with them. While that is very nice of them to of­fer, we are not that close. I think go­ing to warm weather will make me hap­pier. I can’t bear to be in my home­town, miss­ing my mom. Do you think I’m mak­ing a mis­take? -- Solo Trip

DEAR SOLO TRIP: First, my sin­cere con­do­lences on the pass­ing of your mother. I have wit­nessed many of my friends lose their moth­ers, and it is of­ten dev­as­tat­ing. It takes time to heal from that tremen­dous void in your life.

I think it’s fine for you to go on a cruise. You will be in a place with a built-in com­mu­nity of peo­ple and end­less ac­tiv­i­ties. Plus, you will likely be able to de­board and visit new ports of call. Just re­mem­ber to be mind­ful of your sur­round­ings in the same way you al­ways should be when you are by your­self in a new lo­cale. Keep your eyes open to see if you meet any­one who may be­come a friend dur­ing your trip. This is a per­fect op­por­tu­nity to strike up a rap­port with other peo­ple who are on the cruise.

Be­yond your trip, though, you need to come to terms with your new sea­son of life -- one with­out your par­ents. It may help you to get grief coun­sel­ing. You can find that through your house of wor­ship, your in­sur­ance com­pany, even a fu­neral home. You de­serve to have what­ever sup­port you need to tend to your heal­ing heart. Make sure you get it.

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DEAR HAR­RI­ETTE: I’m go­ing to visit my boyfriend’s fam­ily in the Do­mini­can Re­pub­lic for the first time. He comes from a huge fam­ily. I want to im­press them and also in­clude ev­ery­one. I want to bring gifts, but I have no idea what to bring that I can share with more than 20 peo­ple. My boyfriend says I should just go. They can’t wait to meet me, but I want to do some­thing spe­cial for them. Oh -- I am on a bud­get. -- The Right Gift

DEAR THE RIGHT GIFT: Why not make gifts for them? You can bake hol­i­day cook­ies that you dec­o­rate, and store them in tins. Dry goods are al­lowed to go through cus­toms, and cook­ies go far. If you are not a baker, you can cheat and buy cook­ies or other sweets that you can share with ev­ery­one. Get a count of fam­ily mem­bers, and con­sult your boyfriend about what types of sweets his fam­ily would ap­pre­ci­ate most.

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Har­ri­ette Cole is a lifestylis­t and founder of DREAMLEAPE­RS, an ini­tia­tive to help peo­ple ac­cess and ac­ti­vate their dreams. You can send ques­tions to askhar­ri­[email protected]­ri­et­tecole.com or c/o An­drews Mcmeel Syn­di­ca­tion, 1130 Wal­nut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

HAR­RI­ETTE COLE

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