Life Advice



Planning for Post-Passing Peace

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: When the time comes -- hopefully I pass before my loving husband and faithful partner of nearly 25 years, but if not -- I could use a few words of advice as to how to deal with my estranged step-daughter, her bitter mother (both vultures) and her young children who I've never met due to an unresolved falling out many years ago.

I just know that if my husband were to pass first that there will be drama beyond words. My step-daughter has led nothing but a chaotic, drama-filled life and is a very unhappy, soon-to-be divorced mother of four. Between her and her mother (who never found another partner, can't imagine why), I just won't have the energy to deal with them as they WILL make it all about them! They will try to call the shots and overstep me and my wishes in every way possible.

I pray I go first, but in case I do not, how would you suggest I deal with this and them as little as possible so my focus can be on grieving the loss of my precious husband? We are both in our mid-70s and it's difficult not to think of these things. Thank God my two adult children are normal and supportive. -- Distraught Over What Could Be a Disaster

Dear Distraught: It's understandable to feel apprehensive about what issues could arise in the event of your husband's passing given the strained relationships at play today. Discuss these concerns with your husband to ensure you both align on his end-of-life arrangements and potential family disputes. Update his will to clearly state his wishes about his estate and funeral plans, which can prevent any unwanted interference from his daughter and her mother in the future.

Having a support system, including your children, friends and perhaps a counselor, will give you people to lean on in the event of your husband's death. Preparing for these scenarios now will allow you to safeguard your right to grieve as needed and honor your husband's memory in a way that reflects your mutual wishes.

Dear Annie: My husband and I are senior citizens. We are close friends with two other couples; we all have other friends, but these four people in particular have been our core group for years.

Over the last few weeks, male friend No. 1 has stopped talking to our male friend No. 2. No. 1 has totally stopped answering texts and calls from No. 2. If my husband or I text No. 1, he will answer but will not join us if we invite him and his wife to a group gathering. He just says they are staying in.


No. 2 has texted No. 1 and apologized for whatever it was he did with still no answer. It puts me and my husband in a weird middle position and we just don't know what to do. We stopped by No. 1's house today and visited with him as we always have, so we don't think the problem is with us.

We've always had so much fun together and hate to see this happen, especially this late in life. Any suggestions? -- In Between Friends

Dear In Between: Since male friend No. 1 is responsive to you and your husband, perhaps a gentle, direct conversation is in order. You could say that you've noticed the distance between him and friend No. 2 and that you're all missing the group's usual camaraderie. Avoid pressing him for details or to reconcile immediately, but let him know the group values his presence and is there if he wants to talk.

Meanwhile, continue to support both friends individually. You can invite them to gatherings separately, ensuring you maintain both relationships without forcing a confrontation before they are ready. It's important to respect the boundaries that friend No. 1 is setting, while also giving both parties the space and time they may need to resolve their issues. Sometimes, just knowing that mutual friends are there for support, without pressure, can be comforting in itself.


"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




Zits David M. Hitch Dustin Flo & Friends Luann Barney Google And Snuffy Smith