Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Devastated in Ohio

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: Recently, I insisted a dear friend move into my home so I could help him after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After a lengthy surgery, doctors managed to remove it. Two weeks later, I took him to a rustic cabin retreat so he could rest.

The morning we were to leave for home, I woke up and went to open the front door, but it was blocked. Apparently, my friend had gone out earlier, tripped and hit his head, and had died in front of the door.

Since then, I haven't been able to eat or sleep. I don't know where to turn and am about to have a breakdown. I can't afford therapy. Do you have any advice? -- Devastated in Ohio

Dear Ohio: We are so sorry for your heartbreaking loss. You thought your friend would be OK and weren't prepared for his sudden death. Please know that you are not at all responsible for what happened. It may even be that the treatment of his tumor affected his balance or visual focus, contributing to his tripping and falling.

Counseling will help you come to terms with this, and it doesn't need to be costly. Check at the hospital where your friend was treated and ask whether they offer grief counseling. You also can discuss this with your clergyperson.

Dear Annie: It is summertime again, so I thought I would put in my two cents on what I want friends and relatives to be aware of when they come to my house to swim. Because I'm the one with the pool, I am often expected to host our family and friends, which is fine. I enjoy it. But people don't realize how much work it takes to make it ready to use. Here are my suggestions:

1. Don't show up early. Come at the time suggested.

2. Please bring two towels per person. You use one towel each time you get out of the pool, and when it's wet, you borrow one of mine. Most of the time, I never see that towel again. Bring a spare.


3. Remember to take all your stuff home with you and please label everything you bring. I don't know which goggles, towels, shirts or sunscreen are yours when you come back a week later looking for them.

4. If you bring food to one of my pool parties, bring enough to share. And if you want to contribute to the meal I make, bring something substantial. I resent spending $75 on meat and you show up with a bag of chips. And bring drinks and ice. If there are leftovers, take them with you. I can't store everything.

5. Watch your kids. I'm trying to cook, carry on a conversation, maybe swim a bit, and your precious child is running circles around the pool. Don't expect me to keep an eye on the kids, too. Have them obey my pool rules. They're for everyone's safety.

There are probably more things, but that's enough to make me feel better for now. -- Swimming Along

Dear Swimming: Everyone has different expectations for their pool guests, but your rules are sensible, especially the last one. Thanks for writing.


"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at




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