Dear Annie: My husband and I have a second home at the beach, and there is a guesthouse on the property. We often let our friends “The Smiths” use the guesthouse, and they frequently bring their friends. One friend, “John,” is an older man with terrible health problems. He has been near death several times and says he wants to die at our guesthouse “overlooking the sea.”
There have been a few times when John has been missing from his home and we’ve been asked to run to the beach house to see if he is there in case he left home to die. Once, we actually found him and were worried sick.
The Smiths feel it’s the least we can do to let him die where he wants, and that somehow we should be flattered. I am appalled. I don’t want anyone to die at our house. I am not that familiar with the process involving a death, but certainly there are calls you have to make, a body to be dealt with and some clean up.
I told our friends if John were to die while he was at the beach house having a good time, I could deal with that. But to do it on purpose is too much for me. Now everyone acts like I am totally selfish and mean.
John has a family at home. I barely know this man. Is it too much for me to want him to die somewhere else? — Please Don’t Die Here
Dear Please: We don’t think you are selfish or mean. We think it is quite an imposition for someone to presume you would be flattered to find a dead body in your guesthouse. However, unless you are willing to lock up your property, you won’t be able to keep him away. We recommend you notify his family that you will call 9-1-1 if you find him and they will have to handle things from there, including all the work and expenses involved in removing the body and cleaning up.
Dear Annie: I recently received a wedding invitation from a friend. Inside was a note explaining that there was limited space at the reception and therefore we were only invited to the ceremony.
What is the proper etiquette regarding this matter? Do I send a wedding gift even though I won’t be attending? I must admit I feel a bit slighted. Have you ever heard of this? — Confused and Befuddled
Dear Confused: We’ve heard of it and aren’t fond of it. People should not make certain guests feel less important than others. Unless the reception is family-only, the bridal couple should entertain everyone in the same fashion, even if that means cake and punch in the backyard. Still, if you are friendly with the couple, you might want to send a small gift, along with your best wishes.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Wanting Him,” a young girl who met her boyfriend online. She was afraid her parents would disapprove.
Those “horror stories” are not always just stories. Granted, two of my good friends met online and they are very happy. But I made the mistake of befriending someone online. I thought I could trust this guy, but I was wrong. Even though we did not have a romantic relationship, he became increasingly possessive, controlling and abusive. And when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, he raped me. It took me nearly a year to come to terms with what had happened.
People aren’t always who they claim to be. I learned this the hard way. I truly hope “Wanting” has found happiness with her Internet love interest, but I want to make her aware of the dangers that lurk behind the keyboard. — Personal Experience in Louisville, Ky.
Dear Louisville: Unfortunately, such horror stories are not limited to people who meet online. But we hope your story will remind our readers to be careful. Predators lurk in all kinds of places.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 5.27.08