I am an active widower with five grown children. Although three of them live in the same city and two live in a city nearby, I haven’t heard from or seen them as often over the past few years as I would like. I realized recently that I miss their company and I’d like them to call or see me more often.
I understand they have their own lives, but I don’t think I’m asking too much. I’d like them to understand that a “pill” won’t cure me of loneliness, as they suggest when I tell them I am slowing down. Their answer is to tell me to see a doctor.
I can’t talk to them about increasing our visits and communication because I was raised with the idea that you automatically respect your elders and parents shouldn’t have to ask their children to visit them or call to ask how they are doing more than every few months. I thought perhaps reading this in your column might remind them not to wait until it is too late. Have you any suggestions on how to encourage my children to involve me more in their lives?
From Detroit, Michigan
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I understand your loneliness, because you may feel like you have been abandoned by your loved ones. I think the first thing we have to do is figure out why your children can no longer stand the sight of you. Here is my perspective. Inform them that if they don’t come to see you more often, you’ll start showing up at their homes unannounced, carrying at least two weeks worth of luggage. Is your house really raggedy? Maybe your kids don’t come by because the rats in your home are considerably larger than the ones in their home? Do you constantly talk about the good old days? It’s possible that your children feel your redundant stories about your past is really boring, and they can’t figure out what their mother saw in you that interested her enough to marry you. But, if you really want them to come over, then try this last idea. Tell them you have over 5 million dollars in diamonds that was given to you about a decade ago by a very wealthy friend shortly before he died. Tell them that you hid the jewels in your house years ago, and you can’t remember where. At that point, your children will be visiting you so much (and searching), that you’ll be tempted to ask them to reduce their visits because you miss your solitude. I hope this helps.