DEAR ABBY: A while back I told my family I was considering downsizing my life and made the big mistake of telling them I want them to eventually have my house. I also revealed the contents of my will. Now I feel exposed, uncomfortable and vulnerable -- possibly even a bit paranoid that they might want to have me "six feet under" sooner than I should be.
I don't think I am ready to move yet, but I have gotten my family's hopes up. I did talk to one of them and felt reassured at the time, but I still sense that there's a change in how they perceive me and all of our futures now.
How can I undo the damage, knowing I have to make sure I have enough money to live on as well as provide for them when I'm gone? -- FOOT-IN-MOUTH, MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR F-IN-M: Two of the most sensitive subjects to discuss are death and money, and you deserve praise for having started the conversation. I disagree that making your intentions known instead of having them transmitted during a reading of your will was a mistake. Because you feel there may have been a misunderstanding, call a family meeting and clarify your message. Tell them your health is great, you have no plans to move in the near future and plan to live a long and happy life.
DEAR ABBY: My mother lives in an assisted living community in the memory care unit. During a recent visit, I became upset because the care staff addressed my mom as "Granny," "Grandma," "Mamma," etc. Mother struggles with the time of day, the day of the week and sometimes forgets who we are -- so I don't see the benefit of using names other than her own. I think it is disrespectful, unacceptable and unprofessional.
When I asked the attendant to please address Mom as "Mrs. Smith" or "Ms. Ann," she laughed and said, "Granny wouldn't know who I was talking to if I called her by those names." My siblings and I took this issue to the director, who told us we shouldn't be hurt and that the staff was showing our mom she is loved.
I am interested in knowing your opinion on this matter. -- SHE HAS A NAME IN GEORGIA
DEAR SHE HAS A NAME: Not knowing the national origin of the attendants in your mother's care unit I can't be certain, but what you encountered may be a cultural difference. In other cultures, calling someone "Mama," "Auntie" or "Grandma" is considered respectful. While it made you uncomfortable, if it didn't have that effect on your mother, you should take your cue from the director of the facility. However, because you have formally requested that your mother be addressed by name, then that is what should be done in the future.
DEAR ABBY: When my husband and I are out together, he strides out ahead of me and calls back, "Catch up!" or "Keep up!" I am not creeping along but walking at my own (reasonable) pace. I think he should either slow down or let me walk behind him and not expect me to run after him at his command. What do you think? -- LIKES TO SMELL THE ROSES IN TENNESSEE
DEAR LIKES TO SMELL THE ROSES: Unless your husband is a Marine drill sergeant, I think you're right.