Dear Carolyn: How should I feel, personally, when extended family do not reply or do video calls during this quarantine? I do send them emails and texts. I’ve been reaching out to them for weeks.

I have lived most of my adult life away from them moved to a different state at the beginning of my husband’s career. We have been married 42 years, and have a great, loving, supportive, financially secure relationship.

How should I take this when I hear of so many others having daily family calls and many group video chats?

I feel envious of all these others who are laughing and learning about their families, and my family won’t even connect with us.

We do visit a few times a year, and are going to retire soon very near to them.

Sad Isolated Sister

Sad Isolated Sister: Would the families who are tearing each other apart in over-close quarters, or feuding from distant locations for decades, make you feel better?

Our vague, generalized comparisons to others are some of the worst things we do to ourselves emotionally.

You dont know all the backstory of these video-chatters.

You know your story. So, make the best of that.

And make the best sense of that, too: Youve been on live-and-let-visit terms with these family members for decades. You were okay with that until you werent, right? So while its disappointing, its also not surprising that they didnt all awaken to family yearnings at exactly the same time you did.

Instead of stewing in it, use your sadness and your logic, that every family is different as motivation to make more of an effort. Stay in steady but unobtrusive touch, no reciprocation needed. When its possible again, add an extra visit to your schedule. Say out loud that the crisis has awakened you to how much you miss everyone.

And, prepare yourself now to accept whatever response they have for you, even non-responses, even when you retire near them. Disappointment is hard, but living with the knowledge you quit before you tried everything? Thats harder. Sometimes those are the choices we get.

Dear Carolyn: My daughter, who lives 30 minutes away, is a nurse who works in covid-19 units, though with a full gown, face mask, gloves and shield. My spouse and I are in our mid-60s with no health issues.

My daughter will not allow us in her home or come into mine. All shopping deliveries by her are dropped off at the curb. We have been allowed to see her children outside across the front yard.

We have not been in a store since this all started and only do curbside pickup, if that.

Our state will start minor openings this week.

We are so upset at not being with our family. When do you think we can ease up and be together again?


Lovesick: As a child, did she ever run to ask the other parent when one of you said no?

Yeah. Your daughter said no, so please dont shop advice columns for a yes.

Imagine what she sees every day.

Dont fight her, not even with feelings or body language. Youll be together again when she says so.

We are all lovesick somehow. Patience is our best chance to keep these absences temporary.

Write to Carolyn Hax at [email protected] Get her column delivered to your inbox each morning at