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Ask Amy: Neighbors not notified about a death on the street

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Dear Amy: “Ben” and “Sally” were neighbors of ours for 38 years.

We are the oldest residents on the street; the remaining properties have changed ownership several times.

Ben and Sally were somewhat reclusive, however, when we met while walking, we enjoyed one another.

I was never in their home, but I was invited to one of their daughters’ weddings. The two daughters are outgoing. When visiting their parents, we always enjoyed friendly banter with them.

This January, while at their winter home, Ben became ill and died.

Sally was brought home and placed in a care facility.

Hearing this from a resident at the end of the street stunned me.

Apparently, the daughters have been in and out of the family home, packing and sorting, and the other resident passed by and was asking what was going on, and the daughter answered with the sad news of her parents.

I am quite perplexed that the daughters have not called or sent a note telling me about their parents. In my opinion, it would be a respectful thing to do. – Upset Neighbor

Dear Upset: I could easily cite several very understandable reasons why these two women have not reached out, including the fact that they may have forgotten your names and affiliation with their parents.

If the rest of the houses on the street have changed hands several times over the years, they might have assumed that yours had, too.

Something as simple as them not having access to their folks’ address book (or you not being listed in it because you were actually neighbors), might have prevented them from contacting you.

Your question places you near the center of a very challenging and upsetting time for these daughters, but in my opinion, the respectful thing would be for YOU to reach out to them, expressing your sympathy over their sudden loss, and asking them for the best way you could keep in touch with their mother.

After a death, the note-writing is most often done by those expressing sympathy – not the other way around.

Dear Amy: I’m 35 years old. My ex and I went our separate ways at the beginning of the pandemic. I have my own issues, but mainly I could not handle her drinking.

Since the breakup, I’ve gone out with a couple of people, but have not met anyone I’m interested in.

My ex and I have tried to be friends, but about a week ago, she asked me for seduction tips for her new guy.

She was not subtle. She thought that we were friends enough to ask it.

We are not.

I did not react well. I don’t yell, but I said: “This topic is really not OK, and in the last year, you have not asked about my life a single time. You realize that your drinking has made it very hard for me to move on, right? Because all anyone wants to do is to go and get a drink, and now I can’t do that without having a panic attack.”

I was out of line. I apologized. The only defense I can muster is that in an eight-year relationship, she never wanted to take accountability for anything she did, and I wanted, one time, for her to acknowledge what she did to me.

But my reaction seemed vindictive.

She didn’t acknowledge it, and in the next breath asked me for a large amount of money. I hung up on her.

That leaves me trying to figure out how to move forward. – Stuck

Dear Stuck: I don’t necessarily enjoy contradicting your own opinion about your actions, but you were not out of line. You were not vindictive. You stated a clear boundary and stated the impact of your ex’s drinking on your life.

I’d say that’s a very good start.

In the future, do not apologize for stating your own needs.

Do not pursue a further friendship.

Please, take yourself to an Al-anon meeting (Al-Anon.org). It will help you to move forward.

Dear Amy: I enjoyed “Expecting’s” dilemma, (her hubby had a vasectomy 19 years ago, and she got pregnant).

I have to share something similar that happened to one of my cousins.

My cousin and her husband had two healthy boys, so my cousin had her tubes tied, and her husband had a vasectomy.

They both healed.

They now have THREE healthy boys. – Three Time’s a Charm

Dear Three Times: The odds that both procedures would ultimately fail must have been astronomical.

You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: askamy@amydickinson.com. Readers may send postal mail to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter@askingamy or “like” her on Facebook.

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