Dear Gabby Gayle: My widowed daughter introduced us to the man to whom she is engaged to be married. We knew she was serious about someone, but because we live in different cities 500 miles apart, we do not see her often. They came to visit a couple weeks ago. He is a very nice guy, but we feel she should have prepared us for the fact that he is African American. We managed just fine, but we do have reservations, because he has two children from a previous marriage, and she has two from her marriage. They said they are hoping to have one more together. I guess I am a little miffed that she did not share that he was Black, and that I am about to have two new grandchildren. What do you say? Signed, B.C.
Dear BC: First of all, I want to compliment you and your husband. The fact that your daughter didn’t see any need to tell you that her new husband-to-be was Black shows me that she didn’t think it would matter to you, just as it doesn’t matter to her. You have raised her not to be racist. Congratulations! Now that you are having thoughts that she should have told you, may have uncovered some hidden racist feelings that you did not know you had. Once you know you have those feelings you can deal with them and become a better person for it. I have a strong feeling that you, your daughter and husband, and all the grandchildren will get along just fine. Blessings and luck to you all.
Dear Gabby Gayle: I was married to a man for 50 years who passed away last month. Truth is, I was ready to leave him when he became ill, then I felt obligated to stay with him. That ended up being three more years of pain for me. My problem is that all my friends and family have heaped condolences and beautiful cards and letters talking about our beautiful memories, and on and on. I feel guilty because what I felt with his death was relief. Am I such a terrible person? I am filled with guilt because I don’t feel bad! If I tell them I don’t feel bad, they will think I am terrible. Each day it seems to get worse. Any suggestions? Signed, No Grief
Dear No Grief: I’m sorry you feel no grief for your late husband’s passing. I’m also sorry for your unhappy marriage. It is what it is. You cannot manufacture feelings. Perhaps you can grieve for what was missing in your marriage that gave you such relief when he passed. Excuse your friends who sent the typical cards and condolences. They know not what went on inside your marriage. We never really know what goes on in another’s life unless they share it with us. I have a word for those who are tolerating bad relationships: This is what happens if you do not do something about it!
Dear Gabby Gayle: I have become friends with a man in my neighborhood. We have had many good discussions. He has a great sense of humor, too. Last week he invited me to go to church with him. I stopped going to church because I felt they were making rules and decisions that were not of God, but were rules of their church. I told my friend about this, and he said his church is spiritual and not organized like most religions. I think I am spiritual already. Do I need to go to church? Signed, AH
Dear AH: I could take up a whole column with this subject. Your friend seems to know what is right for him. You seem to know what is right for you. I know what is right for me. I agree that there is a difference between spirituality and religion. I will hear from many “religious” persons about this. My message is to do good things, treat people well, be honest and forgiving, and pray to your higher power for guidance. I will continue our discussion in future columns.