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Perspective | Carolyn Hax: Unvaccinated brother dies, and they call it ‘natural selection’


Anonymous: “It was my brother.”

Say nothing more, except to repeat this verbatim as needed. You can lead them back to their humanity, but you can’t make them partake.

I beg them to, though, if any of them are reading this, for their own sakes. When people say these things into the faceless ether of social media, that’s bad enough. But to be so ethically debased as to say this to the face of a grieving sibling? There’s the moral high ground, and there’s diving off it into the abyss.

It is a tragedy, period, not just “to me.” End-to-end. His death, his bad decision, the bad actors who undermined public health for their own purposes and misled so many to their deaths. The callousness of people who are so (justifiably) angry at those bad actors that they forget people can both spew bad information and be victims of it themselves.

I am sorry for your loss.

Dear Carolyn: For the past nine months, from the outside, I think I was showing signs of depression — inactivity, weight gain, lack of attention to appearances, not seeing friends — but whenever someone mentioned that, I said I was fine. I genuinely meant it.

Things came to a head recently, and in retrospect I have been slowly sliding into depression. I’m seeing a therapist and already feeling better, but I’m kind of shook by how easily I kidded myself that I was fine. How am I supposed to trust my gut again knowing I can deceive myself very, very well?

Depressed: You didn’t know you could kid yourself. Now you do.

Your trust in yourself is informed where it once was a guess — and understanding you can be wrong will even help you continue building self-awareness. Just as you can be “on to” someone’s quirks and deceptions, we can be on to our own. Glad you’re getting care and feeling better.

Dear Carolyn: I am an 80-year-old man, living alone in an apartment. I have two grown children who live nearby and visit me often. Great “kids.”

I am generally in good health, but my doctor recently told me I have had a stroke, which has had minimal effect.

Should I tell my children? I do not want them to worry unnecessarily.

— Want to Do the Best Thing

Want to Do the Best Thing: There’s more to information than just worry. Understanding, for example. Insight. Knowledge, preparation, anticipation. Empathy.

Telling may worry them, yes — but it will also prepare them to respond if you have another stroke. Their being informed could save your life, or quality of.

Plus, they might already be worried if they’ve perceived even minor changes since the stroke. Telling preempts any confusion.

Telling them offers the gift of perspective, too. We all know life is fickle and impermanent, but that’s typically background awareness. It’s not realistic to live every day “in the moment.” By informing them, you give all of you a chance to get your emotional affairs in order.

This is your business and you’re entitled to privacy. But if sparing your children is the only reason you wouldn’t speak up, then please give some more thought to how “great ‘kids’ ” would want to be there for you.


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