DEAR AMY: My husband passed away a year ago and left behind many awards, trophies, certificates and plaques. Our kids, like others of their generation, just are not that interested in collecting things, and the grandkids (also) could not care less. Any suggestions on what to do with all of this? What do others do in this situation?
DEAR WONDERING: My first suggestion is that you photograph all of these items and create a paper and online album of them.
You should do this for the simple reason that all of the people who don’t want these material things (now) will definitely want to have access to the fact that they exist — if not now, then at some point in the future.
This is a record of a person’s movement through his life, and because these awards and recognitions differ from his personal achievements (I assume), they are more than dust catchers — they are part of a historical record. Your husband might have been a beloved “ordinary guy” — a husband, father and grandfather — to the people in his family, but he was also involved and recognized outside of his family.
Maybe these mementos are small potatoes (you don’t say), but it sounds like the man who earned them led a life of consequence.
After you photograph them, you should keep one or two of these awards that you like or that he was particularly proud of.
You could contact the individual organizations that awarded these to see if they would like them returned (they could display or reuse them).
Call your local trophy company to see if they are interested in having these to recycle (the name plates can be detached and replaced).
I also see trophies for sale at my local thrift store, where sometimes coaches will pick them up to present to young athletes.
DEAR AMY: My husband and I have different work schedules, and we need different amounts of sleep. As a result, I go to bed early and most nights he sits up late. For the past two years, he has been drinking a few cocktails after I go to bed, falling asleep on the sofa and then coming to bed between 2 and 3 a.m. This usually happens one or two times a week, but recently it has increased to three or four nights a week. First, I am concerned that interrupted sleep is bad for his health, but I am also concerned about his alcohol consumption. In addition, he usually wakes me up, and it is difficult for me to get back to sleep. I feel like I have a newborn again! I have tried talking to him about it, and he makes changes that last for weeks or even a few months, but then this pattern starts again. Should we simply move into separate bedrooms so I can get the rest I need to function? Even if we have different rooms, it does not address his drinking. His drinking makes him somewhat sluggish and irritable in the morning, and he can be snappy with our children. However, he is not missing work, and is usually in a good mood in the evening when he returns from work.
DEAR CONCERNED: Your husband’s drinking is escalating. Sleeping in a separate bedroom will only enable this. This should be your last move — not your first.
You’ve successfully discussed this with him before, and he has successfully stopped drinking for a period of time. This drinking pattern is now quite established and there are certain consequences — your interrupted sleep, his interrupted sleep and his grouchy hangovers in the morning.
You should privately confront him with this, in a very firm and loving way. You could borrow language from a typical “intervention,” saying, “Your drinking is affecting our lives in the following ways . . .”
Urge your husband to attend a 12-step support meeting, which might help him to admit he has a problem and take steps to deal with it. Your family deserves much better than to have a sleep-deprived, hungover dad. You and the kids might also benefit from Al-Anon and/or Alateen meetings. Al-anon offers “self-assessment” quizzes on their website: al-anon.org.
DEAR AMY: Thank you, thank you, for suggesting that “Addicted,” who was addicted to his smartphone, could “unplug” partway by deleting social media apps from his phone. I did this, and you are right: I felt lighter, happier and more aware within a day.
DEAR IN CONTROL: Now, I’m inspired. I think it’s time for me to launch another media fast.