Lauretta Hannon: On secrets, texting and tough times
April 02, 2013 12:54 AM | 2438 views | 4 4 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Q: My dad passed away a couple of years ago. He had been sick for awhile and living with my grandmother, who took care of him. Our relationship was strained because of some bad choices he made, so I didn't see him very much. But after he passed, my grandmother has kept all the details regarding his death completely to herself. My sister and I weren't even allowed to go through his things. We couldn't touch his shirts or see old pictures because my grandmother had already removed everything in an effort to "protect us." I've never even seen the death certificate. How do I ask her for his things? Or should I bypass her and seek them out for myself, including the death certificate?

A: Secrets are cruel and vile. You have a right to know, and it's wrong for her to keep you in the dark. The separation of death stings enough without having it cloaked in questions.

In her effort to "spare" you, she's actually caused more pain. I'd ask her directly for both the truth and some of your father's possessions.

You need to push her not just for you but for her own good as well. It's clear that her "protectiveness" has stunted her healing and prevented her from dealing with the reality of her son's life and passing. If she refuses to open up, go rogue and get what is yours. That's your Daddy, after all, and granny has put you in limbo for years. None of this will be comfortable or easy, but keep at it. And remember: The truth will set you both free.

Q: What is up with people getting together at restaurants and then spending the whole meal texting? I recently went to dinner at a local steakhouse, and no one was talking to each other because they were all on their phones. And when exactly did it become appropriate to wear pajama bottoms to dinner?

A: These things make your advice columnist want to time travel to 1910 and stay there.

On the topic of texting during supper: Don’t do it! Isn’t the whole point of sharing a meal to savor the experience and be fully present? I think folks should turn off their phones and surrender them to a designated phone keeper for the duration of the meal, whether at a restaurant or at home.

On the topic of pajama bottoms: It is absolutely appropriate to don sleeping attire when eating dinner…in bed. The only acceptable time to leave the house in PJs is when said house is on fire.

Q: I'm going through a lot right now between caring for an elderly parent with major health issues and dealing with a high-pressure job. I really don't know if I can continue to cope; sometimes it just seems like more than I can handle. Any advice?

A: In the words of Churchill, "If you're going through hell, keep going." Remind yourself that every step forward gets you closer to a resolution or at least some relief. No storm lasts forever. Keep plowing, muddling, or wading through. You will eventually make a way out.

Another suggestion: Do things to fill yourself back up. No matter what's happening or how exhausted you are, stop and take at least a little time for treats, solitude, and the company of people who uplift you.

I can relate to how you're feeling. My beloved sister Cecilia was on life support for six weeks, and at times I honestly questioned if I could make it through the night--or face the next day with this gut-wrenching torment. Even though Cecilia didn't make it, I somehow did, and you will, too.

Take heart. You can’t fathom it now, but better days are coming.

Send your questions to

Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of The Cracker Queen—A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life and a keynote speaker. Southern Living has named her “the funniest woman in Georgia.” See more at




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ann albright
April 02, 2013
i wear my flannel pj's to lock my dusk!
Lauretta Hannon
April 02, 2013
Yep, many folks in Powder Springs have seen me at my mailbox or trash bin in my PJs!
April 02, 2013
The cell phone problem is easy....all phones to the center of the table and the first one to pick up is the one who pays the check!
Lauretta Hannon
April 02, 2013
That's a great idea!
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