Dear Barb—Permanent Changes

Dear Barb:

A very dear family member recently died and his death was a traumatic event for the entire family.  The day following, a close friend of mine dropped by.  As soon as she came in I told her about the death; she said she had heard about it, and then continued talking about herself and things that were happening in her life.  While she was talking I could feel the anger inside of me getting ready to erupt.  I was waiting for her to ask how I was, or lend a caring ear, but neither happened.  She carried on for almost an hour, until I said I had somewhere to go.  As she was leaving, she said we should get together soon and that was it.  Why are some people like that? I really wasn’t up to listening to the trivial events going on in her life, when our family is experiencing such a devastating loss.  How can a person be so self centered? Frustrated in B.C.

Dear Frustrated in B.C.:

Grief is difficult for some people to deal with; they just don’t know what to say, so they talk about what they know best.  They may think they are helping you by distracting you and talking about themselves and their family, but, in reality, most people want to talk about their loss.  Grieving people need to be heard and understood, which obviously your friend was not able to do.  You could come right out and tell your friend that you would like to talk about what happened.  If she sees that you are able to talk, then hopefully she will listen and allow you time to express your grief.  Another option would be to go to a funeral home, or check out some online sites and pick up a Guide to Dealing with Grief and give one to your friend.  You can also download free brochures that may help.

Sorry for your loss.

Dear Barb:

My 15-year-old daughter wants to get permanent makeup and asked me to sign for her.  She says all her friends are getting their eyebrows done.  I am thinking about it, but I need a second opinion.  What is your opinion on permanent makeup for a 15-year-old? Confused Mom in Edmonton. 

Hey Mom:

If it was my 15-year-old I would not allow her to get permanent makeup.  A 15-year-old wears her makeup a lot different than an 18-year-old would, not to mention that styles and fads change constantly.  One year, eyebrows are thick and heavy. The next year they are thin and barely there.  So as a mom, I think you need to think about this.  Following is an excerpt I found online about tattooing laws in Alberta:

In Alberta, there is no legislation specifically stating an age of consent for tattooing.  However, as getting a tattoo technically requires entering into a contract, tattooing facilities may require that be you 18 years old to get a piercing without parental consent.

Both Health Canada and the Government of Alberta have issued guidelines for tattoo artists.  For example, in Alberta, Health Standards suggests that even people over 18 need to demonstrate “informed consent” by providing a dated consent form.  This form acknowledges that: they are undertaking the procedure of their own free will; are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol; and are aware that the tattoo is permanent.

For more information, see: Alberta Health and Wellness > Health Standards and Guidelines for Tattooing (PDF – 12 p.)

Email your questions to  Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed.  This column is for entertainment only.  The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.