I’m troubled after ex-neighbor says she was ‘close’ with my late husband

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I am a woman in my 70s, and I’m really struggling with something my neighbor told me.

My neighbor lost her husband and moved in next door 20 years ago. Two years ago, she told me out of the blue that she and my husband, who passed away more than 10 years ago, were close.

She said that when I used to work early mornings part-time in my mid-50s, she and my husband, who was in his late 60s at the time, would walk partway to work together after I had left. When they parted, they would high-five each other goodbye.

At the time, I was so busy working and taking care of my mother-in-law that I never dreamed my husband was that kind of person.

My neighbor also often used the word “steal.” She would casually tell me that she stole some tomatoes I was growing for my grandchildren.

She recently moved into a nursing home, but I’ve become depressed after learning that her relatives are moving in next door.

I’ve lost sleep because of what she has told me. Please give me advice about how I can put my mind at ease.

— S, Osaka Prefecture

Dear Ms. S:

When I read your letter, I thought her story sounded suspicious. Don’t let yourself be deceived. Your husband passed away more than 10 years ago. Considering her personality, I think her stories are baseless and she only said it to be mean.

If what she said was true, she would have made it a point back then to prove how “close” she was with your husband.

I don’t think it’s possible that you were in such a daze that you wouldn’t notice their relationship.

Unfortunately, there are people like her out there who enjoy being mean to people and seeing how they react or want to control other people by hurting them.

Please don’t let these people affect you.

You’re a kind person who works hard for your family by taking care of your mother-in-law and growing tomatoes for your grandchildren. I think that’s why she targeted you.

I’m sure that all of your hard work will be rewarded.

I know you’re sad that your husband passed away, but you have now become the main character of your life. You need to become stronger. Be confident and happy, free from the negativity of others.

Think of your 70s as the best time of your life.

— Megumi Hisada, writer