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Cancer survivors’ tales distress widow

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband died of lung cancer last September. He was 55 and very healthy until the cancer took over; he died 11 months later. My problem is with people who hear what my husband died of and then shout out how many years they have been cancer-free, totally ignoring my loss to talk about their victory.

I know ex-patients are encouraged to talk about their survival, but it’s galling to be subjected to it over and over. What can I say to make them understand their rants about their success hurt without my being rude?

GENTLE READER: Do those who encourage ex-patients to talk about their survival – or who follow such advice – consider taking other people’s feelings into account? Apparently not, among the people you have unfortunately encountered.

Miss Manners trusts that you would not be so cruel as to tell them about people who had recurrences of cancer after as many years, much as they have invited such talk. Rather, she suggests that you say tersely, “Congratulations. My husband was not so fortunate.”

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My partner and I recently became engaged. It is the first marriage for me at age 48. In thinking over a guest list, which I would like to remain intimate, I realize that many of my close female friends have boyfriends or husbands I have rarely or never met. Am I obligated to invite these partners to the wedding?

GENTLE READER: Only if you also omit the bridegroom, on the grounds that people who have rarely or never met him would not care to be in his company just because you happen to be marrying him.



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