Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole


DEAR HARRIETTE: Two weeks ago, my sister became really sick and was rushed to the hospital. Another sister and I went to visit her. The doctor told us that she had not spoken in five days and that her organs were slowly beginning to fail. The doctor told us it is only a matter of time before she passes away.

I almost fainted when I heard the news, because I'm still recovering from our mother's sudden passing. I'm hurt, because my sister and I have not had the best relationship over the years, and I wish it were better. In the meantime, how can I make peace with my sister before she dies? -- Brokenhearted, Chicago

DEAR BROKENHEARTED: As long as your sister is alive, you can talk to her with the intention of healing your wounds.

Spend as much time as you can by her side. Tell her that you love her and that you are so sad she has become ill. Apologize for anything you may have said or done over the years that could have been hurtful. Let her know that you forgive her for anything she may have said or done. Pray for the ability to fully forgive her and to heal your relationship.

This does not mean that you will miraculously be freed of old wounds or memories, but you do have the opportunity, while she is still alive, to choose to release things from your past.

Even if your sister does not respond, continue to talk to her. Tell her stories of joyful experiences in your life. Fill her in on whatever you think may soothe her during this difficult time. And be sure to talk to your other sister, too, so that you can strengthen that bond as this one comes to a close.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently got a job with a theater company that scheduled me to work once a month. My manager sent out an email a few days ago, asking about our availability for the upcoming month. I told my manager I could not work a particular weekend because I had a prior engagement. To my surprise, I received an email from the general manager saying they're taking me off of the work schedule.

I'm taken aback by the email, because the company has me working on a very limited schedule. How should I address this sudden change with the general manager? -- Part-Timer, Brooklyn, N.Y.

DEAR PART-TIMER: If possible, have a personal conversation with your manager first, then the general manager. Reiterate your interest in working at the company. If you have asked in the past about increasing your hours, remind them of this. Explain that you will do your best to be available, even though that one weekend was previously booked.

Speaking up and addressing your bosses directly should at least show them your sincerity and interest in working for them.