Dear Amy: Last week I had major surgery on my back.
The morning of the surgery, I posted on social media: “Wish me luck, I’m having back surgery today.”
All my friends wished me luck, sending their prayers and positive thoughts.
A friend with whom I worked with 35 years ago asked, “What happened? Fill us in. What is wrong with your back? Need details!”
I ignored that.
They send me a card. I thanked them via private message.
That generated more nosy questions: “Was it this? Is this why you stopped running? What happened? Did this happen suddenly? Are you in a lot of pain?”
My back surgery was totally unrelated to an old leg injury I had four years previously.
I was miserable from side effects from anesthesia and pain meds.
This really rubbed me the wrong way. No one else had to know all the “deets.”
I wrote the name of my surgery and expected them to just Google it, but they were persistent.
I was abrupt and replied tersely that it was not the former leg injury, it was not sudden and that I’d been in pain for a while. I didn’t give them more details.
What does one say to nosy people asking for details on a personal situation like this?
I wanted to say, “What, are you writing a book?” or, “Why do you need to know the details?” but I didn’t want to get confrontational while I was crabby and in pain.
– Just Say: Get Well Soon!
Dear Get Well Soon!: The complication regarding sharing personal news on social media is that once you put your bulletin out there, you can’t control how other people interpret your news, respond to it, or share it with others.
Your interpretation of “nosy” might be someone else’s: “I’m interested in what’s happening to you — because I care.”
Given that you want to control how people respond to you, you could have been more specific in your original posting: “Wish me luck. I’m having back surgery today. I’d appreciate your good thoughts but am not supplying details just now. I’ll check back in during my recovery.”
And then you turn off Facebook until you feel well enough to cope with questions.
Please remember this: Just because someone asks a question on social media doesn’t mean that you have to answer it. Just let it float on by.
Dear Amy: I have been divorced from my ex-husband for 22 years.
Is there a standard as to how I should pay my respects to my ex’s relatives when one of them dies?
While I was married, I was very close to all of my former husband’s relatives.
As many of them are entering into their later years, I’m wondering if it is appropriate to attend their viewing and funeral services?
It would be easy to say that I’m there for my adult children, given that these people would be their aunts, uncles, and cousins, but I don’t want to put them in a weird situation.
– Paying my Respects
Dear Paying: There is no one answer to this question.
You were close to these family members while you were married to your ex-husband, but it sounds as if you haven’t necessarily stayed close to them during the 22-year period you’ve been divorced.
If you have stayed in touch with these people during these past two decades, and if you have a cordial relationship with your ex-husband (and his current spouse, if applicable), then you would consider attending any services in person, especially if your adult children would like to see you there.
However, if you have not kept in touch with your former husband’s parents and siblings through the years, and if they pass away, then you should pay your respects through sending a note to your former husband and any surviving relatives you were close to.
Recognize this loss to your children and encourage them to attend any celebrations in person, and – if they get a chance – to verbally pass along your expression of sympathy.
Dear Amy: The letter from “Stuck with the Memories” really got to me.
This reader was wondering what to do with an old stuffed panda bear passed down through the family that was much the worse for wear.
She should check out freecycle.org, which helps to connect used items with new owners, keeping things out of landfills.
Dear Freecycler: I love this movement, devoted to recycling well-loved items. It is definitely a step in the right direction.
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