Dear Abby: My wife, “Margie,” recently lost her five-year battle with leukemia. I’m still grieving this huge loss.
Something I found particularly upsetting was the apathetic attitude of her doctor and his staff. Margie was seeing a specialist in a city 300 miles from our home. It involved many trips to his office as well as extended hospital treatments. During this period, we considered the doctor and his staff more than health care providers. We thought of them as our friends. Margie would often bring them home-cooked meals or pastries from a bakery.
In addition, because she did fine needlework, she made all the women a set of dish towels. After my wife passed away at home, I sent a note to the doctor and his staff, thanking them and expressing gratitude for all they had done for her. I never received one message in return. I understand they treat many patients, but don’t you think SOMEONE could have given me a call or sent a sympathy card?
I attend a bereavement support group and was surprised that I am not the only one who has had the same experience. Is it normal for health care providers to stop all contact with spouses after a loved one dies?
– Still Grieving in Arkansas
Dear Still Grieving: I’m very sorry for your loss, and for your disappointment. However, everyone deals with death and dying differently, and doctors are people, too.
In the field of oncology, for every victory there are also many deaths. Emotional detachment is sometimes the way that these physicians and staff protect themselves from emotional pain. Please forgive them.
Affair has its consequences
Dear Abby: My brother-in-law, a doctor, had an affair a few years ago with his nurse. It destroyed his more than 20-year marriage to my former sister-in-law. He married the nurse. I want nothing to do with him or his new wife now. He stayed with us for a while and lied about the affair. I have no respect for either of them. I usually ignore them at family gatherings because I don’t like to associate with people who do not share my values. Abby, do you think I should accept his new wife? – Principled in Dayton
Dear Principle: Good manners dictate that when you see them you be civil to them. It doesn’t have to extend beyond, “Hello. How are you?” and moving on to talk with other relatives – and it doesn’t indicate “acceptance.”
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.