Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Sharing Memories Can Shift Focus From Hardship

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been going home more and more to see my ailing grandfather. He remains very upbeat and asks me why I have traveled so far every time I visit. He doesn't have much time left and has been told this; however, it doesn't seem to be sticking. Driving 300 miles isn't the hardest part about going home. It's not knowing what to tell him when he questions me. What can I say to my grandfather? His mind is still there, but his body is betraying him. -- Last Weeks, Detroit

DEAR LAST WEEKS: Tell your grandfather stories about your life. Tell him about your journey to visit him. Did you see anything interesting on your drive? Describe the sunrise and sunset. Tell him about your friends, your home, your job. Be selective with your stories. To the best of your ability, tell positive stories that show glimpses into how you live your daily life.

You should also ask him about his life. Invite him to tell you about his childhood, family and friends. Ask him what he liked to do when he was a child. Ask him to tell you about when he met your grandmother. Learn from him any and everything he remembers and is willing to share. Once you get him going with stories, it may be easier the next time you visit. You can ask him to pick up where he left off. With prompting, he may be able to share many gems about his life before he passes on.

DEAR HARRIETTE: A running joke within my circle is that I run on "Tatiana time." I am late to everything and can't seem to quit this horrible habit. Friends lie to me about flight times, showtimes and reservations so that I will arrive closer to the actual time.

I need to stop being late, but nobody believes in my ability to do this. Setting alarms earlier doesn't do much to rouse me because I know I am tricking myself. How do I finally scrap "Tatiana time" for good? -- Own Clock, Portland, Oregon

DEAR OWN CLOCK: Step back for a moment and take a hard look at what you are doing. You are being disrespectful to your friends, your family and ultimately to yourself. Being late is rude and irresponsible. I hate to be so harsh about it, but clearly this is what you need. Think about how you are treating the people you say you love. It is not fair.

That so many have attempted to figure out creative ways to get you to be on time, only for that to fail, says that you are not taking this seriously enough. Indeed, even your own alarm-setting isn't working. I believe this is because you have not accepted the depth of the negative repercussions that you are causing. So please consider that if you do not improve, you could lose your job, your friends and even the support of your family. Is this what you want? If not, tell yourself that being timely is important, and just do it.

(Harriette Cole is a life stylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)