Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I’m angry with my best friend, who is also a neighbor. My mother is
dying. She is also a drunk, an alcoholic, and a conversation dominator.
We had agreed to have the two families together for Thanksgiving, in
part as a favor from my friend to me, so that I would not have to have
my last holiday memory of my mother be a sea of seething
resentment for her making my fabulous twenty-year- old son feel like a
loser, treating my husband like a simpleton, and me like her personal
slave. I know I should feel more charitable towards someone who has
less than a year left. But she is just plain nasty so much of the time.
That’s not new, but dying has made it worse.
Two days before Thanksgiving my friend (who knows exactly why I
wanted to be with her family) called and said very breezily, “We just got
invited to Thanksgiving by my boss. I’m sorry to cancel on you, but I have
a 12-pound turkey and stuffing ready to hand you, along with all the
trimmings! I feel I have no choice.” I was shocked. To me the issue
was not the cost of the food, but the size of the conversation pool. She
left me no chance to reply, and I was so stunned and hurt I just said,
“I’ll talk to you later.” What can I say, or is it too late? BTW, the time
with my mother was unpleasant and grueling.
If she really is your best friend, your beef is legitimate and should not
be swept under the rug. She owes you an apology, not just a turkey
and trimmings. Even bosses can be told No, especially on a holiday
that is traditionally about family, and especially on short notice. The
appropriate response would have been, Thanks, but we have plans
with family. We could swing by later for dessert, or connect with you
As for your friend, you should say simply, I’m hurt. I have a dying
mother and all sorts of family problems. I thought I could count on
you. It’s okay if she feels uncomfortable for a while. Maybe it will make
her think more the next time.