Dear Amy: My mom passed away when I was in high school (five years ago), shortly after Mother’s Day. This time of year is extremely hard for me because I’m constantly seeing happy Mother’s Day photos and statuses on social media and in advertisements.
My dad saw that my mom had gotten a few notices on Facebook so he decided to post – using my mom’s Facebook page – and also to read her personal messages on there.
I’m furious and I don’t really know what to say to him. I feel like he’s violating her privacy and it was really upsetting for me to see a post coming from her Facebook account. I sometimes look at her Facebook page and find comfort in it, but now I feel like it’s been invaded and is no longer something she left behind. I feel like my Dad should have asked me and my sister.
—Confused and Angry
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Dear Confused: I am so sorry for your loss. Five years is a significant milestone. You will remember your mother in many different ways and for different reasons for the rest of your life.
Your father has suffered a life-altering loss, too. He is coping with it differently than you are. He also has a different understanding of social media than you do.
Of course, it would be very upsetting for you (and others) to see a sudden posting coming from your mother’s page. I can only imagine the shock of that, but I can also imagine that your father didn’t think he needed to notify you and your sister when he wanted to communicate via your mother’s page.
Your family should consider “memorializing” the page. Facebook created this function to remove the upsetting experience of receiving “status updates” from a deceased person’s page. Settings can be adjusted so you (and other loved ones) can visit the page, post on the page, and communicate your feelings and memories to one another. Although doing this might remove the privacy of the communication you seem to have been having, I believe it could be a healing balm to you and your family to share your memories, feelings and photos.
I hope you will discuss this honestly and compassionately with your father. You and he could work together to create this mutable memorial.
Dear Amy: My son and daughter-in-law have a very messy and dirty home. A very thick layer of dog hair layers the carpet, and toys and clothes are strewn everywhere.
I recently visited to babysit the three children while my son and his wife went on a trip. I had to move 70 pairs of socks plus other clothing to even get into the bed. They don’t seem to realize what a mess everything is.
I have thought about paying for a professional to come in and clean the house and also having new carpet or tile installed. My son recently installed hardwood floors in the living room and dining room, but then was diagnosed with cancer and is going through radiation, so he’s unable to continue the project.
I do not want to interfere in their business but I would like to help. How should I go about this?
Dear Mom: Your son’s cancer treatment gives you the perfect opportunity to offer help without seeming to interfere. Tell the family you can imagine they are overwhelmed and that you would like to help them organize their house and finish the renovation, followed by cleaning from a professional service.
Obviously, this is not a great or healthy environment for someone undergoing cancer treatment – and it is a terrible environment for the kids, but you already know this.
I hope they will take you up on your generous offer.
Dear Amy: Seriously, the letter from “An Old But Young Man” infuriates me. His wife has been intimate with him for more than 50 years. Now she’s ill – and he can’t understand why she doesn’t want to have sex? Give me a break. No, give HER the break. He needs to get over himself.
Dear Furious: I wish I had pointed that out. Thank you.