Choosing words wisely
Dear Annie: Dear Annie: I was reading “Don’t Call Me ‘Dear'” and wanted to give you my two cents’ worth. I am a woman, 72 years old. If someone calls you “dear,” “sweetie,” “sweetheart” or something like this, you should take it as a compliment. This applies whether the person doing the calling is a woman or a man, and it doesn’t matter if the person is a friend, relative or stranger; it would be a very nice comment. Life is too short to get upset with “little” things in the world. Just deal with it! — Gloria in Texas
Dear Gloria: Thank you for your perspective, which is shared by many readers. But still others, such as the nurse who wrote the next letter, feel that those greetings by strangers are inappropriate.
Dear Annie: I agree with “Don’t Call Me ‘Dear.'” I worked in a nursing home for 20 years, and one of the things that the state inspectors would get you on is calling a resident “dear,” “honey,” “sweetie” or something similar because it is disrespectful. The only way it was OK was if the resident wanted to be called that, and it was clearly documented in their care plan.
I hate it when someone waiting on me at a store or restaurant calls me “dear” or any of the above-mentioned names. To me, it is disrespectful, even if that is not the intent. And in most cases, I’m sure it is not. But it is still wrong. — Don’t Call Anyone Dear
Dear Don’t Call Anyone Dear: You make a good point, and I thank you for expressing it. This is one issue where all readers will have to make their own decisions.
I do believe that the more we live with love in our hearts and don’t sweat the small stuff, the happier we will be.
Dear Annie: My husband passed away unexpectedly last year. During our 13-year marriage, unbeknownst to me, he had showered his adult children with gifts of all kinds, including vacations.
However, he was very frugal when it came to our wants and needs. I had no idea of the extent of the expenses until finding out in probate that his adult children got everything left to them: a cash amount over a million dollars, an undisclosed property, an undisclosed house and numerous other undisclosed gifts.
Well, there is a law regarding fiduciary duties, in that a spouse, by law, must inform the other spouse of these gifts and also get, in writing, that the other spouse knows and agrees to the gifts, whether it be money or items. In case of a divorce, the spouse, not having given the other spouse notice, nor obtaining, in writing, an agreement, will be responsible for restitution to the unknowing spouse. — Upset About the Way Things Happened
Dear Upset: I am very sorry that you had to deal with this all of these surprises after the unexpected death of your husband. Shock and grief compound each other, and I’d be cautious of them clouding your judgment, particularly in your relationship with your husband’s children. Your husband deceived you, and sadly, he is not here to work through this with you. However, there are resources to help you come out of this a stronger person without resentment. A therapist or counselor can give you some emotional and mental support, and legal counsel can give you financial guidance. It might not be easy, but, slowly, that upset will diminish.