DEAR ABBY: In response to "Illinois Reader," whose husband has an incurable illness and wants people to refrain from asking about him when she's out in public, as she'd like a break from her heavy responsibilities:
My daughter was also diagnosed with a rare, incurable disease, and it's hard for me to understand "Illinois Reader" not wanting her friends to ask about her husband.
At the time of my daughter's diagnosis, she was expected to live only a few weeks. Well, that was nearly a year ago, and she is doing much, much better. However, many of our so-called "friends" did not visit and have also stopped asking about her. Although my daughter hasn't stopped living, caring or loving, it seems that our friends have!
Right now, we need all the love, support and prayers we can get. So I say: "Please ask me how my daughter is doing. It lets me know that you care and still think about us. It is not an invasion of privacy, nor is it an intrusion into our lives."
I'm sorry that "Illinois Reader" feels so burdened that she needs a break from it all. However, it is even more unfortunate that many people will not ask other caregivers about their loved ones. You may print my name. -- JACQUI TAPTTO, LAWTON, OKLA.
DEAR JACQUI: It's possible your friends do not mean to be selfish or inconsiderate. Many people don't know what to say when someone they know is experiencing a crisis. They feel awkward and react by avoiding the subject. As illustrated by you and "Illinois Reader," each caregiver has different needs, and no one is a mind reader. It is up to you (and all caregivers) to offer guidance by expressing your needs to friends and relatives. Your honesty will be appreciated, and you will appreciate the results.