Ask Amy: Readers pass on their ideas

FresnoJanuary 4, 2014 

Dear Amy: My mom has stage 4 lung cancer and is now under hospice care. She has lost at least 80 pounds since diagnosis.

Why do people come up to her and say things like, "Oh my — you're so terribly thin?" She already knows that. She is dying. She is embarrassed about how thin she is!

Please ask your readers to use some common sense and not mention to ill patients how thin or bad they look.

Instead, comment on how nice her hat looks or how good it is to see her. We realize that it may be a shock to see someone look so different. However, we believe our mother has never looked more beautiful, and her inner beauty outshines her weight loss.

Why don't people just think a little more before they open their mouths? We need to ask ourselves: What would you want someone to say to you if you were terminally ill?

— Grieving

Dear Grieving: I completely understand your frustration.

It can help to prepare people in advance of a visit by telling them, "Mom is very thin and weak, but she's still the same woman inside. I want to prepare you for that so when you see her you can be in the moment with her and let her enjoy your company."

I also think it's fine to specifically direct people: "Mom is very thin. Please don't mention it when you see her. She seems to like it the most when people stay positive and not dwell on her condition."

Dear Amy: I have had an idea for years that I would love to promote.

Except for very small restaurants, I suggest they all have a section for adults only.

Truck stops often have a separate section for professional drivers. Dining out is too expensive to be ruined by thoughtless families.

Most places, especially the national chain restaurants, have several rooms of tables. I think they should designate space for adults. For decades, we accommodated smoking/nonsmoking areas, so we know it can be done.

I personally ask the greeter for the adult section and then tell them, "I am not kidding" as they giggle at the request.

— Barbara in Oregon


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