Ask Lindy . . . About Death and Funerals
By Lindy Earl
Our neighbor just passed away and I’m wondering if I should take my children, all under ten years of age, to the funeral. They seem awful young to deal with something like this. At the same time, death is part of life. I don’t have an SO to ask, so I’m asking you.
-Alone at a funeral
This is a sensitive issue. At what age is a child ready to handle a funeral and the truth about death? It probably depends on each child, as well as the relationship with the deceased. A child who is raised around their grandparents will have to face and deal with their deaths because the grandparents would be absent in their lives.
Since it’s a neighbor, your children are probably aware of the situation, but their passing may or may not have a direct effect on your children.
My question is why you are considering bringing them? Is it so that they can say their good-byes and have closure, to expose them to the realities of life, or so that you’re not alone at the funeral? Based on that answer you should be able to decide what to do.
My Ex just passed. Neither of us ever remarried and our children are adults. My children have asked me to go to the funeral, but I would prefer to not attend. There will be ex-in-laws there and, while my children assure me that the in-laws are fine with my being there, I just don’t want to subject myself to this.
-In a quandary
I am sorry for your loss. Do your children want you there, or do they need you there? I completely understand why you prefer to not attend the service, but if your children will have a hard time being at the funeral alone, then I think you should go, for their sake. You can keep a low profile and slip out as soon as is appropriate.
Since my divorce it occurs to me that my children will have to deal with all my stuff when I pass – my house, my bank accounts, everything. I am trying to prep it all now. To that end I have a Will. My finances in order. I am in the process of decluttering my house so there won’t be too much for them to go through. Am I missing something?
-Not going to live forever
Dear Young Reader,
I think you are being incredibly responsible. Good for you! I think having a Will is a great first step. Having your finances in order is an excellent goal for you, now, as well as your children, later. Decluttering is great for many reasons. One, it lets you deal with things the way that you want to deal with them. I find purging is healthy for my mind as well as my house. Congratulations on doing a great job.
My suggestions: keep doing what you’re doing. As you declutter, give your things to people who you want to have them. For instance, if you want a daughter to have some jewelry, give it to her now. Anything you can’t give away now but you want to go to a certain person, tell everybody what you want and put it in writing.
My last suggestion: don’t be in a hurry to use your Will.
Please write Lindy with your questions at Ask@LindySpeaks.com
From previous columns:
Having been divorced for a year, and not really dating much yet, I’m finding myself lonely. I work a normal job and have some good friends, so it’s not that. But, what am I supposed to do on nights and weekends? I find myself eating supper and going to bed earlier and earlier every night, or just scrolling through Face Book. Isn’t there more to life than this?
-Time on my hands
Dear Time on my hands,
I completely understand how you feel and why you feel that way. Yes, friends and coworkers are a great source of socialization, but it’s not the same. Even Face Book, while fun, does not offer the physical affection we all crave.
So, for now, your job is to focus on you. Take an evening class, join some weekend rec leagues, make yourself interesting. Then, as life progresses and you meet someone to spend time with on nights and weekends, you’ll be an even better version of yourself!
My Significant Other and I do NOT agree on how to spend our time off. I work a lot of hours, and when I’m done, I want to relax! To me that means watching a game or TV. To him that means let’s go to a concert or hike all weekend or bar hopping. I’m not in my 20s anymore and that life just doesn’t interest me. How do we figure out how to spend our time together?
Ah, this is the greatest example for the need to compromise. The two of you simply have different energy levels when it come to socializing. That’s okay. Assuming that there is plenty of trust in the relationship, I say that you put on your pajamas and turn on a game, while he goes out with his buds. You both get what you want. Then, next weekend, you dress yourself up and go out with him. He’ll appreciate your effort. The next weekend, ask him to stay in with you and make it into a fun date – good food, foot rubs, whatever works.
Different levels of energy does not mean a couple can’t be perfectly happy socializing together. In time you’ll probably enjoy going out more often and he’ll enjoy some evenings at home alone with you.
My girlfriend and I are in our 70s. We’re both widowed. For a lot of reasons – mostly her kids, my kids, and finances – we do not want to get married. I want to spend as many hours each day as I can with this woman so I suggested that we live together. Is that a bad idea? I was surprised, but all the kids seem happier with that idea than the thought of marriage.
Dear Living alone,
I think it sounds like a marvelous idea! The kids may or may not be wondering about their inheritance and how a second marriage could affect them. It doesn’t matter. Whether or not you marry, you need to sort out all the finances before you start.
The only other issue you raised is children’s opinions, and since they are on board, I see no reason that you shouldn’t go for it. You might want to have a nice commitment ceremony to celebrate your decision with family and friend. Just don’t get yourself into a position where you need to marry your girlfriend for the sake of a baby.
I fell in love with my spouse many, many years ago. We had children together. We have our careers. My problem is that, over time, we grew apart. I just don’t love my spouse anymore. We have very little in common and don’t even sleep together anymore.
I don’t want to leave while my children are at home, but I am just unhappy. Should I have an affair or choose a celibate life?
-Unhappy and Unsure
Dear Unhappy Spouse,
I’m sorry that you have fallen out of love. I think you know that the worst thing that you can do, for yourself, your spouse, and your marriage, is to cheat. Take that out of your mind immediately.
You can fall in love with your spouse again. Start dating them. Develop an interest in who they are and the things they like. Remind yourself why you fell in love with them in the first place.
If you’re still unhappy, please do not use your children as an excuse. It is better for everyone if y’all agree to not be together anymore. Then you can seek happiness, and love, elsewhere.
I was married for over ten years, and divorced for about the same amount of time. Since that divorce, I have gone from one bad relationship to another. Of course I didn’t realize that they would go bad, but every one has. They seem great at first, but nothing has worked out long term.
As this point I just can’t allow myself to fall in love again. It’s too hard and it hurts too much. I am choosing to accept that I’ll be alone forever.
-Sad but accepting
I am sorry that you have experienced a string of bad relationships. First rule – don’t revisit any of them and try to figure out what happened and why. Put it all in the past and accept it as your history. Be happy that it’s over.
I think that choosing to stay single is a great idea . . . for you . . . for the moment. Enjoy being alone! Spend time doing what you want. Make your weekends about you and your desires.
If things change in the future, then be open to it, but don’t go looking for it. Since you’ve come to terms with staying single, then be the best single person who you can possibly be!
I don’t know if I’m in love or not. I mean, I think my SO is fabulous; really great, in so many ways! But, is this love? And, if it is, will it last forever? How can I know?
I can’t say if you’re in love, but I can tell you that you can’t know if it will last forever. Nobody knows that. Life is a daily gamble. If you’re still kicking and happy at the end of the day, then consider yourself a winner.
As for your specific SO: are you happier with them than alone? Do you eagerly anticipate when you’ll see them again, or are you okay without them and not knowing when you’ll next get together? Do you miss them when you’re apart or are you happy by yourself? Is there chemistry and excitement when you kiss? None of these individually will tell you if you’re in love or not, but if all the answers are pointing in one direction then you probably have a pretty good clue. I’m sure you can think of more questions to ask yourself as well.
I am attracted to very athletic, muscular, and lean men. My problem is that, since I’ve gained weight over the years, these men don’t seem to be able to see past my physical aspects to find that I’m a really nice, kind, thoughtful, smart, and even charming person. How do I get them to see the real me?
-Overweight but Still Caring
Dear Caring Person,
I have to wonder, why are you asking for men to see past your physical aspects even while you’re specifically seeking physical aspects from your next SO. Are you willing to look past someone’s physical aspects to learn if they are nice, kind, thoughtful, smart, and charming? I think once you open yourself to more types, you may find that there are great men out there in every shape and size.
I am a sapiophile. That means that I am attracted to people who are intelligent. The reason for this is that I’m extremely intelligent. I can’t seem to find someone who measures up. So, what to do? Settle for someone who isn’t as smart as me?
Dear Egotistical Reader,
Please know that others know the meaning of sapiophile, but thank you for sharing the definition anyway. I think in every relationship there are trade offs. In your case, maybe you can trade intelligence for compassion and kindness. It seems that you’re lacking in those areas, so you may need someone who has extra to spare. Maybe they can run interference for you with others before your condescension shows.
I really don’t care how a person looks. I have dated gorgeous people and less attractive. I have been called the settler, but I believe that I have been the reacher a few times.
How do we get past all the shallowness of looks and concentrate on things that matter, like personality and sense of humor?
Dear Mature Reader,
It is so great to hear from you. I think that there are plenty of people, especially the second or third time around, whether it’s due to divorce or widowhood, who are in complete agreement with you.
Please just keep being yourself. Talk to people who interest you and allow them to see your real personality. You are truly charming and that will show, so focus on the things that attract you and let the rest slide.
To me, exercise is a healthy habit. I exercise regularly, but not daily. My SO, however, has taken their habit to the extreme. They HAVE TO work out a few hours each day. If they miss their workout, or something upsets their routine, they are moody and difficult. Is this a bad habit or something else?
-Not an Extremist
Dear Habitual Exerciser,
I think anything in extremes can be dangerous. For instance, a good meal is a necessity, but overeating can make you feel awful, and done consistently leads to weight gain. So while nothing is wrong with the action, the amount can cause trouble. The same is obviously true with alcohol.
I can see that anything in excess, even something as good as exercise, can be a bad thing. So yes, I see a problem. It’s not the exercising that’s negative, but the fact that moodiness ensues if the routine is upset.
Please have a conversation with your SO about work-life balance; in this case, exercise-life balance.
This isn’t a huge issue, except that it is a huge issue. My SO does not know how to load a dishwasher. He says it isn’t a big deal. I don’t know why it matters so much to me, but it does.
There is just a logical way to load a dishwasher. I learned as a child! I think he could learn like any other habit. You start from the back and load forward. Is that so hard to understand?
Habits can take a while to develop. I do not buy into the theory that a new habit can be developed in three weeks (Please!).
I vote that anybody who will put dishes in a dishwasher is a keeper. You can gently and kindly ask for him to follow your lifelong habit, but you can’t demand it. Be happy that he loads the dishwasher at all.
What do you think of people who have bad habits, like twirling their hair or biting their nails or bouncing their knee or pacing or checking their phones all the time?
You choose to accept them or not. What is more important, who they are and that they love you, or their habit? You can get used to anything when you love the person and focus on them, not their habits.
My spouse and I come from different religions. It doesn’t bother us. We dealt with it when we first started dating. In fact, it started a lot of interesting conversations. The problem is our families. They keep telling us to break up because it will never work. They tell us, too often, that we can never have children because of religious differences. What should I do?
Follow your heart. There are been thousands of marriages of mixed religions. If you’ve decided to never allow religion to be a problem, and can maintain that decision, then enjoy your relationship! You might want to put a stop to the comments from well-meaning family members. Simply tell them the subject is not up for discussion and walk away if someone tries to talk about it.