Dear Amy: “Looking for Grief Etiquette” wrote to you about her grief after having a miscarriage.
As a retired obstetrician, I have gained considerable experience in this field. One point I discussed with patients in early pregnancy was the fact that pregnancy loss is much more common than most people realize.
I suggested they think carefully about who they tell until after the first trimester, when pregnancy loss is much less common, thus avoiding the problem of breaking the bad news to a lot of people.
I also found the advice given to me 15 years ago when my wife died very helpful.
The idea was that people who asked, “What can I do?” of a grieving person are really asking because they don’t know how to be helpful.
My response, at this difficult moment, was: “Invite me to dinner.”
I think it was a win-win.
It helped me, and I think they were happy to do something that I enjoyed. This woman who had a miscarriage had her answer: “Send me flowers. She shouldn’t have hesitated to ask her friends that.
—Neil Kochenour, MD
Dear Dr. Kochenour: Thank you for your helpful wisdom. About miscarriage — I agree that it’s better to wait to announce a pregnancy, but even when couples haven’t announced their pregnancy, they often still choose to disclose a miscarriage to their circle of friends and family.
Dear Amy: “Scammed” wrote about the increasingly popular scam of being contacted by a reputable reputable company asking you to purchase gift cards.
You suggest that store clerks who sell gift cards be trained to be on the lookout.
I bought several hundred dollar gift cards at my local Giant grocery store, and the salesperson asked me if a third party had asked me to buy the cards.
Out of curiosity, I asked if anyone had ever answered “yes” to this question, and they said that indeed they had saved many people from falling prey to this scam.
Store employees are certainly an excellent weapon against these scammers.
– Loyal customer
Dear Customer: I’m very happy to hear that store clerks are helping to educate customers about the danger of gift card scammers.
Dear Amy: I appreciated your response to “Stop Haunting My Dreams”, about what to do when dreaming about a former beloved.
Carl Jung has suggested that other humans in our dreams often represent unconscious (in “shadow”) aspects of ourselves that invite conscious attention, and even conscious incorporation of (some of) the person’s traits into our own personalities.
For example: what desired aspects of this man should the dreamer recognize and develop in herself, for her own use? What thoughts, feelings, and behaviors (the discrete elements of personality) does it represent that she could embrace and adopt as her own? Not simple questions, but often fruitful.
As Jung liked to say, “The unconscious is ONE-conscious”. That is to say, we are not morally responsible for the appearance of these thoughts, but it is our moral responsibility to understand and relate to our unconscious when they do.
— Sophia Eurich-Rascoe (certified Jungian analyst)
Dear Sophia: I really appreciate your helpful interpretation of Jung’s wisdom.
Dear Amy: Thank you for discussing the importance of funerals and memorial services.
I was someone who never attended a funeral – the person was already dead and didn’t know it, I told myself. The value for family never occurred to me.
And then my husband died. We have six children and our youngest was only six at the time. I can’t tell you what it meant when people poured into the church. Their presence said, “I gave up everything to honor this man, and to be with you today.”
Now I drop everything to go to the funeral of someone I knew, even casually.
After all, surely everyone is important enough that we take an hour to honor them and provide the family with unparalleled comfort.
Dear Show Up: Unfortunately, the experiences of grief and bereavement are our greatest teachers.
Dear Amy: “KQ” asked if it was okay to take wine from a nearby table in a restaurant after the other party left.
I experienced this once years ago.
In a similar circumstance, one of my dining companions helped himself to wine left at a table next to us.
She had poured us all a drink when those people came back from the salad bar.
I wanted to crawl under the table!
Dear Mortified: A reminder: you shouldn’t drink wine until it’s time.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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