Dear Amy: I have an unusual question that no one seems to be able to answer. My father passed away a year and a half ago. My mother is still alive and well. My parents were married for almost 50 years. What should I do on their anniversary?
Should I wish my mother a "Happy Anniversary"?
Should I pretend it isn't a special day? -- Justin
Dear Justin: Your mother is the best person to answer this question. You need to ask her.
People do sometimes celebrate landmark anniversaries even after one partner has died. Your mother might enjoy going out to lunch or dinner with a few friends on that day, for instance.
Just say, "Mom, I know your 50th wedding anniversary is coming up, and I wonder if there is something special you'd like to do on that day?"
Offer her some ideas, and listen to her thoughts.
Don't ignore this day -- at the very least send your mother a card and spend some time with her, sharing memories of your dad -- and if you can find a nice old photograph of the two of them, you might frame it as a gift for her.
DEAR AMY: I am getting ready to marry the woman I love after a long engagement, and I absolutely can't wait!
However, there is a high school "fling," you could say, whom I feel like I need to patch things up with before the wedding.
I have no feelings for this person from the past, but I do feel terrible for how I left things with her.
I agree that I should have addressed the issue then, but you know how that goes. I want to do this before I get married, so it doesn't become something that could potentially distract me from my relationship with my wife.
At the same time, I don't want it to come off, to her or my wife, as trying to rekindle an old flame.
How should I go about doing this, and what could I possibly say that could clear things up between everybody? -- Ready To Move On
Dear Ready: It's never too late to apologize for behaving badly, and I understand your instinct to tidy things up before your marriage.
You should tell your fiancee about this relationship and share with her your desire to apologize to this former flame. Presumably your fiancee won't feel threatened by this.
The best way to apologize is to keep things simple. You can say: "I'm in a wonderful relationship and am about to be married, and I hope it's not too late to tell you how sorry I am for how I treated you way back when. I've felt bad about this for a long time."
The tricky thing about apologizing is that you can't control how your gesture will be received. Your former flame might give you an earful. Your contact may be unwelcome. Or -- perhaps worst of all for your ego -- she may have only the faintest memory of you.