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Make trip soon to see dying grandma

Wed., Oct. 10, 2012, midnight

Dear Carolyn: My grandma is dying – they found cancer too, too late. She went from being moderately healthy to having only a couple of months left. I live 10 hours away by car. My sister lives six hours away by plane. Neither of us knows when to be there or how to know. My parents avoid sharing unpleasant news.

Do I go now while she is still doing pretty well? Later? Thanksgiving? I am talking to her regularly and afraid I will make the wrong choice. – Grief and Anxiety

There is no too soon, there’s only too late. Visit your grandma as soon as you can for as long as you can, and more than once if you can. I’m sorry.

Dear Carolyn: My brother is incredibly defensive about his wife, so I have stopped being honest in my conversations with him about his life choices. Those choices are usually desperate attempts to make her happy, which seems an unlikely outcome as she has (in my opinion) an anxiety disorder and is always incredibly agitated and upset. My brother and I used to be close and would have spoken honestly. Is pulling all my punches the best or only way to go in this type of situation? – Arm’s-Length Sibling

Saying nothing (beyond, “Hey, I’ve missed you, let’s have lunch”) is honest, too – and it makes listening possible.

Listening will encourage your brother to come to his own conclusions, which are the only ones he’s ever going to act on.

When he asks, answer truthfully, sure. When he doesn’t ask, assume he already knows.

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