Dear Annie: I hope you will publish this, as the holiday season is upon us and people will be rushing to the mall and the grocery to shop for Christmas gifts and supplies for festivities.
Please take some extra time and slow down -- and not just on the road. The store parking lot is not the place for Indy 500 time trials. There is no reason for people to be zipping through parking lots at 20, sometimes even 30, miles per hour. Also, please remember that some people do not drive pickup trucks or SUVs. When you see me slowly backing my Toyota Corolla out from between vehicles, remember that until half of my car is past those vehicles, I can't see you. So please stop and let me pull out (and perhaps get yourself a good space). Just keep in mind that if you still feel the need to speed and hit my car, you will be spending an extra hour or so in the parking lot dealing with police and an accident report. You've got better things to do, and so do I. -- Take It Easy
Dear Take It Easy: Your car is not the only thing that these speed demons could hit. Pedestrians are especially at risk this time of year. The National Safety Council reports that "tens of thousands of crashes occur in parking lots and garage structures annually, resulting in hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries," and "around the holidays, parking lots become even more dangerous."
A scraped-up car is inconvenient, but a lost life is irreversible. So let's all please slow down this holiday season. Nothing is so urgent that it's worth sacrificing others' safety for.
Dear Annie: I was a nurse for 43 years in many capacities. I saw love, happiness, despair and sorrow. I found that I loved all my patients, whether young or old, happy or angry, hopeful or just giving up.
I read the letter from "Grieving Mom," who was upset that the recipient of her son's heart wrote to thank her for making it possible for her (the recipient) to see her son get married. "Grieving Mom" felt that the recipient forgot the fact that her son died so she could live.
Often when we had patients who could not be saved, we asked the family members whether they wanted to donate their loved ones' organs, and we passed no judgment when they refused. Members of one family I spoke to willingly offered to donate their son's organs. "If we refuse, our son will be buried and his useful organs will be buried, as well," they said. "If we donate them, our son will still die, but he will live on in others, whether it's his heart, kidney, eyes or any other useful organs." These family members wished they could meet the recipients of their son's organs, because in them, a part of their son would live on.
The woman who wrote a note to "Grieving Mom" sincerely wanted to thank that mother for saving her life. She may have thought it would give her joy. Her son's heart was still beating; part of him was alive, and that part gave someone else a chance to live. What a beautiful gift he gave in death. People who donate their organs do so because it is an act of love. -- Patricia in The Villages, Fla.
Dear Patricia: Thank you for your beautiful letter and for your years of helping others as a nurse.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.