Life Advice



Ask Amy: Tragic loss brings on a strange family demand

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

You do not need to create excuses, or explain yourself. Simply tell your friend, “I hate to miss this, but as you know, I am laying very low these days.”

You might choose to send her a gift from her registry and a handwritten card.

Dear Amy: “Loving Daughter” was trying to figure out how to tackle her 90-year-old mother’s unhealthy hoarding.

My sister and I did exactly as you suggested and had one sibling take mom out while the other cleaned, organized, and removed trash.

When mom came home, she was not happy – but she didn’t complain. In fact, I think she was relieved. I think she had become paralyzed by her situation.



Dear Improved: Hoarding is a serious disorder. It is overwhelming for the entire family system.


(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)




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