Dear Abby: Visit to grandma’s house complicated by stroke recovery

Published 8:39 am Saturday, May 22, 2021

DEAR ABBY: My grandma, who is in her 80s, had a stroke recently. She has trouble swallowing and speaking, so she’s in a rehab facility 20 miles from her home, where she is doing strengthening exercises. She tires out from just walking around her room, so it’s not yet clear if she will become a permanent resident or discharged with home health nurses. We are distraught over this.

My husband and I were originally planning to visit her this summer — our annual vacation — for a few days. She lives 12 hours from us. I was going to ask her if we were welcome, but she had the stroke before I could. I’d like to ask her if she’d mind if we still visit and, if it’s OK with her, stay in her house, so I can visit her at the facility if she hasn’t been discharged.

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My mother thinks this is a bad idea. We have a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old, and Mom thinks they would be too much for Grandma. Abby, I don’t want my grandma to die before I get to see her again. We haven’t seen her in four years. But after talking with Mom, I’m now hesitant to ask. The thought of missing a chance to see her one last time hurts my heart. What should we do? — MISS HER IN MISSISSIPPI

DEAR MISS: Listen to your mother because what she’s saying makes sense. If your grandmother is discharged with home nursing care, there won’t be enough room for your family. Two small, active children may, indeed, be more than she can deal with in her weakened condition. Because it’s important for you to see your grandmother, make other lodging arrangements for your family when you’re in town, and keep your visits with her short and as stress-free as possible.


DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 25 years, some good and some bad. The hardest thing for me is that when my husband is upset with me, he stops talking to me. If I ask if something’s wrong, he won’t answer or says “nothing” is wrong. I have explained repeatedly how upsetting this is because I never know what I did, and then, sure enough, I do it again.

He says he doesn’t want to say anything hurtful, but can’t he tell me why he’s upset and not be hurtful? He also accuses me of creating drama when I get upset because I’m trying to figure out what I did wrong. Then, when I do it again, he’s like, “We discussed this.”

I have tried not talking until he’s ready, but, again, there is no resolution, and I’m getting very resentful that the ball is always in his court. How do I handle this? — EXHAUSTED IN NEW YORK

DEAR EXHAUSTED: An effective way to handle this would be for you to insist the two of you discuss with a licensed marriage therapist how to more effectively communicate. The ball is always in your husband’s court because he has maneuvered it to be, and it isn’t playing fair. In fact, it is emotional abuse. Do not expect him to like the suggestion, and don’t be surprised if he refuses to go. If that happens, you should go anyway. His behavior is passive-aggressive.


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


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