Dear Annie: Three months ago, I attended the funeral of a friend and former co-worker, “Renee.” I went in, signed the book, gave my condolences to her husband and was speaking to some friends. At that point, another co-worker came up to me and said I should sit in the back of the mortuary because Renee wouldn’t want me there. I was stunned.
Shortly after, Renee’s daughter-in-law approached me and said, “Thank you for coming and being a friend to Renee.” Of course, by then I was crying and decided to leave. When I spoke with another friend later, she told me she thought Renee was jealous of me. I cannot understand why. Renee had a lovely family, a wonderful husband and a new home.
I know that many times when I enter a room, most people don’t really welcome me. I am tolerated by those with whom I have worked, and even my friends are like this. I have learned to accept it. But this funeral still upsets me. Should they have called me the day before and told me not to come? By the way, I still have not received a thank you for the memorial I gave to the family. — Stunned in Nebraska
Dear Stunned: We’re not sure what happened at the funeral. One person made you feel unwelcome, but the daughter-in-law thanked you for coming. While we can understand your discomfort, you seem to value one person’s opinion over the rest.
However, there is another issue here. You claim that most people merely tolerate your presence. Why would you think that? Are you behaving in a way that attracts negative attention? Is it possible you are oversensitive and misread others’ reactions? Please talk to those friends you trust and ask for their honest opinion about you. No one should go through life believing they are not worth liking. Figure it out and then work on changing it. If you need to seek therapy to accomplish this, please do so.
Dear Annie: I am a breast cancer survivor and want to donate my hair. My hairdresser told me that while dyed hair is OK, totally bleached-out hair is not. Also, my hair is more than 5 percent gray, so Locks of Love won’t use it. Do you know of any organization that will? — Anita
Dear Anita: We have good news. According to Pantene Beautiful Lengths (pantene.com/beautifullengths), it takes at least eight to 15 ponytails to make a wig. For a realistic-looking wig with consistent color, all of these ponytails must be dyed the same shade, but gray hair, as well as some chemically treated or permanently colored hair, does not absorb dye at the same rate as other types. However, some gray hair is usable. Try the World of Wigs Corinne Fund at worldofwigs.com. Also, Locks of Love (locksoflove.org) now accepts gray hair donations, as does Wigs for Kids (wigsforkids.org), both of which use the hair to offset costs.
Dear Annie: I hope it’s not too late to reply to “Uncomfortable Daughter-in-Law,” whose mother-in-law wants to be called “Mom.”
The writer should explain that she has a very special relationship with her own mother and wouldn’t want to call her mother-in-law by the same name. However, it is important that she have a name just for her, to recognize how special she is. Perhaps it could be “Mama Smith” or “Mama S.” or some other term of endearment that means something to the two of them.
Because of numerous grandparents, my daughter-in-law devised the name “Cookie Grandma” to distinguish me from the other grandmas in her children’s lives. (A cookie is one of my favorite desserts.) It works, and it is a sweet and respectful way of dealing with this. — Arcadia, Calif.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.