Dear Amy: My dearest friend in the world was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
We met when we were new moms, and although my family moved far away after only a few years, we have maintained an incredibly close and meaningful relationship through all the joys and sorrows of life for over 30 years.
And now I can hear she has regressed a little every time I talk to her on the phone, and our distance is too far for me to see her regularly.
How do I handle the inevitable changes? How do I let her know I love her when she doesn't recognize my voice anymore? How do I maintain any kind of relationship long distance? I have no map for our last journey, and it is breaking my heart.
Any advice would mean so much to me.
Amy says: My first suggestion is that you should visit your friend in person as soon as possible. Book your trip today. Bring photos to look at together, take walks, listen to music, and simply be present and experience your time together with gratitude.
I think it would be a good idea to book a room nearby, stay for a few days, and keep your daily visits short — if that works best for her.
It can be mentally challenging and emotionally heartbreaking to be with someone whose memory is failing. Your friend might have good days and tougher days. Don't stress her by trying too hard to prompt memories from her, but go with her flow — wherever that takes both of you.
You still can let your friend know that you love her, even if she doesn't recognize your voice. If speaking by phone becomes impossible, send cards and postcards, and express your affection and gratitude.
There is no return from this heartbreak, but this is your opportunity to honor your friendship by holding her hand through this part of her journey.
Dear Amy: I'm almost 30. My grandparents are in their 80s and healthy. They have told me that they will be leaving me money in their will, and I am considering asking them for my inheritance ahead of their passing.
My experience during the pandemic has given me a very strong desire to travel for several months. I think my grandparents might feel gratified witnessing me enjoying their legacy, but I don't know how to ask them. Your advice?
Amy says: There are factors here that you don't mention. One or both of your grandparents could live for another 15 or 20 years. The amount of your inheritance might shift based on their financial needs now and in the future. And you need to consider the possibility that watching you enjoy yourself might not be as gratifying to them as you think.
I endorse your plan to seek adventure, but suggest that you line up financing that doesn't involve your grandparents.
Send questions to Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.