Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: I am terribly hurt. Due to my husband's health problems, I have had to do everything around our house for the past couple of months, and this will continue for another couple of months. My husband's friends have said that if he needs something to just let them know. Their wives are also my friends, but not one has asked if there is something she could do for me -- like fix a meal, go to the store or help with the house. If I had help, I could have dedicated more time to my husband's care. I cannot understand why they haven't offered. I would like to suggest to others who have friends in our situation to not just ask, but insist. I'd be so grateful if one of them said: "I'm coming over at 10 o'clock to vacuum for you. Would that be OK?" I know I would be there for a friend in need.Hurting in Colorado
DEAR HURTING: Many people don't know how to jump in and lend a hand. Because of this, sometimes you have to be brave enough to ask. Wouldn't you, if someone reached out to say, "Hey, I'm feeling overwhelmed. Would you be willing to help me out this week with . . . "? I'd like to recommend caringbridge.org as a way for you (and others with illness in the family) to ask for and organize help from people in your circle. This smart concept makes it easier to reach out and offer to help -- and to ask for it. You also will be inspired by the suggestions for caregivers who, like you, are in it for the long haul.
DEAR AMY: I disagree with you and "New Bride," who included the names of some charities on her wedding gift registry. My first reaction wouldn't be, "How sweet." It would be, "Thanks, but I'm perfectly capable of deciding which charities I want to financially support." I have the same attitude when it comes to supermarkets that try to extract donations by embarrassing customers at each trip to the checkout counter.Think Again!