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Dear Annie: Canceled attendance causing distress

Dear Annie: This summer we have been invited to four weddings. Of the four events, three have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

We are in the high-risk category with our age and underlying health conditions. The one remaining scheduled wedding would require us to travel by car to another state, which would mean stopping for gas, taking restroom breaks at gas stations and staying overnight at a hotel. We would love to attend the wedding, but we had to cordially decline, as it wasn’t worth the risk of our potentially getting COVID-19.

Well, now we are getting messages from the relatives on how their feelings are hurt, that we really should be attending and that they are taking it personally. The decision we made was strictly due to the pandemic, our health and safety, and there was nothing personal about the decision. They are anticipating a couple hundred guests at this wedding, so you’d think they wouldn’t mind too much that the two of us won’t be there.

This is dividing our family greatly. Any advice would be appreciated. — Divided Family

Dear Annie: The cynic in me wonders if they might be trying to guilt a gift out of you. I think what’s more likely, though, is that you’re not the only ones who have declined to attend due to the pandemic. They might have booked a huge venue and now are footing an equally huge bill.

Whatever the case, you made the right decision for you and your husband. Reiterate to them that it was nothing personal and you truly wish you could be there. If they continue to take issue with that, refer them to your doctor.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Al R.” about bathroom safety for seniors, and I have a few suggestions. First, you can get the things you need from Medicare. Just ask your doctor for them. Your doctor will see to it. Medicare Supplemental insurance, if you have it, will work with the doctor and provide you with what you need. Also, you can get wheelchairs, walkers, shower chairs, almost anything you need, free from a church or Veterans of Foreign Wars Post, that has donated ones in their coffers.

When you’re a senior or handicapped, it is amazing what you can get. Don’t feel ashamed for asking for help or for accepting charity; those who donate are paying it forward. — Gretchen

Dear Gretchen: I did not realize that these supplies were available for free through these channels, and I’m happy to print your letter to refer others to these resources as well. But I’m also printing your letter because I love your closing sentiment. It’s right to give others the chance to pay it forward.

Dear Annie: Please pass this along to “Mortified”: Several times a day, I experience the “cringe attacks” you describe. I remember my father having them, too. As soon as I am able to formulate a thought after they hit me, I say to myself: “You’re all right now. You’re a good person. I love you.” This shores up my sense of self-worth enough to end the attack. — Craig V.

Dear Craig V.: This touched my heart. What a wonderful affirmation to give oneself. I appreciate your writing in with this practical yet poignant tip. Please take care.

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